Lixisenatide is a once-daily glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist mimicking several favorable actions of endogenous GLP-1 that result in improved glycemic control with little or no hypoglycemia and weight loss. Phase II trials have shown that lixisenatide 20 μg once daily restores first-phase insulin release in patients with type 2 diabetes and improves the second-phase insulin response. Administered once or twice daily for 4 weeks, it significantly reduced postprandial and fasting blood glucose levels, and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA(1c)). The efficacy and safety of lixisenatide once daily is being assessed in the GETGOAL Phase III clinical trial program. Results have shown beneficial effects on HbA(1c) compared with placebo in combination with commonly used antidiabetes agents, with no increased risk of hypoglycemia and with beneficial weight reduction. Adverse effects were similar to those observed for available GLP-1 receptor agonists, the most frequent being gastrointestinal. Both GLP-1 receptor agonists and long-acting insulin analogs have demonstrated protective effects on beta cells in preclinical studies. This, along with the pronounced effect of lixisenatide on postprandial plasma glucose, provides a rationale for combining it with long-acting basal insulin analogs, in the hope that the additive effects on glycemic control combined with a potential benefit on islet cells may lead to a new treatment approach to control blood glucose better and prevent long-term complications in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Keywords: GETGOAL program; GLP-1 receptor agonist; combination therapy; insulin; lixisenatide; postprandial plasma glucose; type 2 diabetes.