Background: Effective, evidence-based management of type 2 diabetes (T2D) requires the integration of the best available evidence with clinical experience and patient preferences.
Methods: Studies published from 2000 to 2012 evaluating glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) or dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4 inhibitors) were identified using PubMed. The author contextualized the study findings with his clinical experience.
Results: Incretin-based therapy targets multiple dysfunctional organs in T2D. Injectable GLP-1RAs provide substantial glycemic control and weight reduction; while oral DPP-4 inhibitors provide moderate glycemic control and weight neutrality. Both classes are effective, well tolerated, and associated with a low incidence of hypoglycemia when used alone or in combination with other antidiabetes agents. GLP-1RAs are associated with transient nausea and, like DPP-4 inhibitors, rare pancreatitis.
Conclusion: Data indicate and clinical experience confirms that incretins are well tolerated in appropriate patients and provide sustained glycemic control and weight loss or weight neutrality throughout T2D progression.