Moving beyond subcutaneous insulin: the application of adjunctive therapies to the treatment of type 1 diabetes

Expert Opin Drug Deliv. 2017 Sep;14(9):1113-1131. doi: 10.1080/17425247.2017.1360862. Epub 2017 Aug 3.


With the discovery of insulin nearly a century ago, the diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) transformed from a death sentence to a chronic medical condition. Despite the advances that have been made, the vast majority of those living with T1D still struggle to achieve targeted control. Yet, a plethora of agents have been developed to treat those with Type 2 Diabetes. Exploration of how these agents may benefit those with T1D has been an area of intense investigation, especially due to the overweight/obesity epidemic, which now afflicts more than 60% of those living with T1D. Areas covered: This review focuses on agents that have been utilized, including inhaled insulin preparations, pramlintide, metformin, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, and dual SGLT1/2 inhibitors. Furthermore, with approval of the first hybrid closed loop (CL) system, the development of dual hormone CL systems is being explored. While the most common agent applied to these dual systems has been glucagon, research has been conducted to assess how some of the adjunctive therapies described above could aide with achieving postprandial glucose control while on CL insulin delivery. Expert opinion: By becoming less insulin-centric and incorporating some of these other agents, it is possible we may be able to better combat T1D.

Keywords: Type 1 diabetes; adjunctive therapy; glycemic control; insulin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Insulin / administration & dosage*
  • Insulin / therapeutic use


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin