Combining basal insulin analogs with glucagon-like peptide-1 mimetics

Diabetes Technol Ther. 2011 Sep;13(9):873-81. doi: 10.1089/dia.2010.0250. Epub 2011 Jun 28.


Basal insulin analogs are recognized as an effective method of achieving and maintaining glycemic control for patients with type 2 diabetes. However, the progressive nature of the disease means that some individuals may require additional ways to maintain their glycemic goals. Intensification in these circumstances has traditionally been achieved by the addition of short-acting insulin to cover postprandial glucose excursions that are not targeted by basal insulin. However, intensive insulin regimens are associated with a higher risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain, which can contribute to a greater burden on patients. The combination of basal insulin with a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) mimetic is a potentially attractive solution to this problem for some patients with type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 mimetics target postprandial glucose and should complement the activity of basal insulins; they are also associated with a relatively low risk of associated hypoglycemia and moderate, but significant, weight loss. Although the combination has not been approved by regulatory authorities, preliminary evidence from mostly small-scale studies suggests that basal insulins in combination with GLP-1 mimetics do provide improvements in A1c and postprandial glucose with concomitant weight loss and no marked increase in the risk of hypoglycemia. These results are promising, but further studies are required, including comparisons with basal-bolus therapy, before the complex value of this association can be fully appreciated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemia / prevention & control
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1