The role of basal insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists in the therapeutic management of type 2 diabetes--a comprehensive review

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2010 Jan;12(1):11-24. doi: 10.1089/dia.2009.0127.


The treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) has been revolutionized by the introduction of novel therapeutic regimens following the clinical approval of the long-acting basal insulin glargine 10 years ago, followed by insulin detemir and, more recently, agents that target the glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 system with dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4)-resistant products, such as liraglutide and exenatide, and DPP-4 inhibitors, such as sitagliptin, saxagliptin, alogliptin, and vildagliptin. The position and clinical efficacy of the GLP-1 mimetics are less well understood, however, and how they should be best used in the context of the established clinical efficacy of long-acting insulin analogs is yet to be defined. The aim of this review is to provide a summary of the efficacy, safety, and weight changes associated with long-acting insulin analogs (insulin glargine and insulin detemir) and two GLP-1 mimetics (exenatide and liraglutide). MEDLINE, EMBASE, and BIOSIS databases were searched with a timeframe of January 1, 2003-January 12, 2009 using the following terms: "Insulin glargine," with the co-indexing terms "LANTUS" and "HOE901"; "Insulin detemir," with the co-indexing term "Levemir"; "Exenatide"; and "Liraglutide." This literature review demonstrates that GLP-1 and basal insulin therapies are effective treatment options for insulin-naïve patients with suboptimal glycemic control with oral hypoglycemic agents. There are potential advantages of basal insulin and GLP-1 therapies in particular populations of patients. Further comparative data are needed to fully investigate the relative positioning of these therapies within the T2DM treatment paradigm.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / agonists*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin, Isophane / therapeutic use
  • Insulin, Long-Acting


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Insulin, Long-Acting
  • Insulin Glargine
  • Insulin Detemir
  • Insulin, Isophane
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1