The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist drugs have attractions as a treatment for type 2 diabetes since they positively alter a number of key pathophysiological defects. These include increasing insulin release, reducing glucagon release, slowing gastric emptying and reducing food intake. In numerous clinical trials these agents have been shown to reduce DCCT-aligned HbA(1c) between 0.8% and 1.1% in patients with moderately controlled type 2 diabetes, whilst also being associated with some weight loss. Whilst medium-term safety and side-effect profiles are now well established, there are as yet no long-term studies on the safety of this group of drugs. The place of the GLP-1 agonists in the treatment paradigm for type 2 diabetes will evolve over the next decade.
Keywords: GLP-1, liraglutide; exenatide; obesity; taspoglutide; type 2 diabetes mellitus.