Adjuvant Pharmacotherapies to Insulin for the Treatment of Type 1 Diabetes

Curr Diab Rep. 2018 Aug 17;18(10):79. doi: 10.1007/s11892-018-1041-1.


Purpose of review: Insulin therapy alone fails to achieve target glycemic control in the majority of individuals with type 1 diabetes (T1D), motivating the investigation of additive medications. This review focuses on the recent findings on the use of adjunctive pharmacotherapy in T1D.

Recent findings: Metformin and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists have been associated with weight reduction and decrease in daily insulin requirements without sustainable improvement in glycemic control. Sodium-glucose cotransporter (SGLT)-2 inhibitors, dual SGLT-1/2 inhibitors, and pramlintide have been shown to reduce hemoglobin A1c, induce weight loss, and lower insulin dose. The benefits of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, thiazolidinediones, and alpha glucosidase inhibitors appear to be more limited. Gastrointestinal symptoms and increased hypoglycemia are adverse effects of certain classes. Although not devoid of side effects, additive pharmacotherapies in T1D can improve glycemic control and lower body weight and insulin requirement. Longer studies are needed before consideration for widespread clinical care.

Keywords: Adjuvant therapy, metformin; GLP-1 receptor agonists; SGLT-1/2 inhibitors; SGLT-2 inhibitors; Type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic / therapeutic use*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*


  • Adjuvants, Pharmaceutic
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin