Management of Type 2 diabetes: the role of incretin mimetics

Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2006 Oct;7(15):2095-105. doi: 10.1517/14656566.7.15.2095.


Type 2 diabetes is characterised by insulin resistance and progressive beta-cell dysfunction (which leads to hyperglycaemia), the risk of progressive worsening of glycaemic control and an increased risk of both macrovascular and microvascular complications. Existing treatment strategies target deficient insulin secretion and insulin resistance, but do not generally address the underlying progressive beta-cell dysfunction that is common to Type 2 diabetes. Traditionally, Type 2 diabetes is first treated with medical nutrition therapy (reduced food intake and increased physical activity), followed by stepwise addition of oral antidiabetes therapies and, ultimately, exogenous insulin, as required. Unfortunately, these approaches have not been shown to delay the need for additional therapies, nor do they generally prevent or delay the inexorable decline in beta-cell function. Patients with Type 2 diabetes commonly experience deterioration in glycaemic control, and may have substantial weight gain due to the diabetes therapies that contribute to worsening obesity. In addition, insulin-providing therapies, such as sulfonylureas and exogenous insulin, carry the risk of hypoglycaemia, and cannot fully address the complex hormonal irregularities that characterise Type 2 diabetes, including the role of glucagon hypersecretion. New therapeutic approaches are being developed that couple durable glycaemic control with improved control of body weight. These approaches include development of the incretin mimetics, which are a novel class of agents that share several of the glucoregulatory effects of incretin hormones, such as glucagon-like hormone-1. Deficiency of glucagon-like hormone-1 secretion is known to be present in those with abnormal glucose tolerance. Agents that manipulate the physiological actions of incretin hormones, such as glucagon-like hormone-1, may significantly benefit patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Exenatide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / physiology*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Maleimides / metabolism
  • Maleimides / therapeutic use
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Venoms / therapeutic use*


  • CJC 1131
  • Insulin
  • Maleimides
  • Peptides
  • Venoms
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Exenatide
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidases and Tripeptidyl-Peptidases