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Incretin injections reduce HbA1c ‘more than gliptins’

Long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonist injections are more effective at reducing HbA1c levels in diabetes patients than gliptins when added to metformin, say European researchers.

Their meta-analysis looked at 21 studies into incretin-based therapy as an add-on to metformin for 16-30 weeks, compared with short-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists or DPP-4 inhibitors.

Long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists produced an overall mean reduction of –1.7mmol/l (1.3%) in HbA1c compared to –1.9 mmol/l (0.7%) for DPP-4 inhibitors.

Body weight was reduced by a similar extent in the two groups with GLP-1 receptor agonists but was not significantly altered in the groups taking DPP-4 inhibitors.

Study lead Dr Carolyn Deacon, senior lecturer at the department of biomedical sciences at the University of Copenhagen, said: ‘The injectable GLP-1 receptor agonists reduce body weight (whereas the DPP-4 inhibitors are weight neutral) but are also associated with a greater incidence of gastrointestinal side effects and a tendency to increase heart rate.'

Diab Obesity and Metabolism 2012, online 24 April

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