Background: The pharmacological stimulation of GLP-1 receptors is associated with an increase in heart rate. A pooled analysis of patient-level data from phase III trials with albiglutide revealed a significant increase in the risk of atrial fibrillation. Aim of the present meta-analysis is to summarize all available evidence on the effects of individual GLP-1 receptor agonists (RA), and of the whole class, on the incidence of atrial fibrillation.
Methods: A Medline search for GLP-1 RA (exenatide, liraglutide, lixisenatide, albiglutide, dulaglutide, or semaglutide) was performed, collecting all randomized clinical trials with a duration ≥12 weeks, enrolling patients with type 2 diabetes and comparing a GLP-1 RA with placebo or any other non-GLP-1 RA drug.
Results: Of the 113 trials fulfilling the inclusion criteria, 19 did not report information on atrial fibrillation, whereas 63 reported zero events in all treatment groups. In the remaining trials (enrolling 17,966 and 15,305 patients in GLP-1 RA and comparator arms, respectively, 55.3% women, with a mean age of 57.0 ± 3.8 years), treatment with GLP-1 RA was not associated with a significant increase in the incidence of atrial fibrillation [Mantel-Haenszel OR (95% CI) 0.87 (0.71-1.05), p = 0.15].
Conclusions: In conclusion, available data suggest that GLP-1 RA is not associated with atrial fibrillation, with the only possible exception of albiglutide. Newly onset atrial fibrillation deserves to be investigated as an event of special interest in future trials with GLP-1 RA.
Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; GLP-1 receptor agonists; Meta-analysis.