Use of exenatide and liraglutide in Denmark: a drug utilization study

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2014 Feb;70(2):205-14. doi: 10.1007/s00228-013-1595-4. Epub 2013 Oct 22.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to characterise the utilization of the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues exenatide and liraglutide in Denmark.

Methods: From the Danish National Prescription Registry, we extracted all prescriptions for either liraglutide or exenatide twice-daily in the period 1 April 2007 to 31 December 2012. Using descriptive statistics, we calculated incidence rates, prevalence proportions, daily consumption, and concomitant drug use. For a subset of users we included data from other registries and characterised the baseline characteristics of incident users of GLP-1 analogues.

Results: We identified 21,561 and 2,354 users of liraglutide and exenatide respectively. From market entry in 2009 liraglutide showed an increasing prevalence reaching 2.4 per thousand inhabitants in 2012. Exenatide ranged between 0.01 and 0.25 per thousand inhabitants from 2007 to 2012. Treatment intensity showed geographical variation ranging from 1.84per thousand inhabitants to 3.22 per thousand inhabitants for liraglutide. Average doses were 1.34 mg/day (liraglutide) and 16.4 μg/day (exenatide). Treatment initiation was most often performed by a hospital physician and was not associated with any changes in concomitant treatment with antihypertensives, cholesterol-lowering drugs or anticoagulants. Of liraglutide and exenatide users, 38 % and 43 % also used insulin. Low kidney function (eGFR < 30 ml/min) was found in 10.1 % and 9.0 % of users of liraglutide and exenatide respectively.

Conclusions: The preferred GLP-1 analogue in Denmark is liraglutide. Certain aspects of the utilization of GLP-1 analogues, such as large regional differences and concomitant use of GLP-1 analogues and insulin, warrant further investigation.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Databases, Factual
  • Denmark
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exenatide
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Liraglutide
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptides / therapeutic use*
  • Venoms / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Venoms
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Exenatide