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Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists: a systematic review of comparative effectiveness research

Authors Levin PA, Nguyen H, Wittbrodt ET, Kim SC

Received 22 December 2016

Accepted for publication 15 February 2017

Published 4 April 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 123—139


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Ming-Hui Zou

Philip A Levin,1 Hiep Nguyen,2 Eric T Wittbrodt,2 Seoyoung C Kim3

1Bay West Endocrinology Associates, Baltimore, MD, 2Health Economics and Outcomes Research, AstraZeneca, Wilmington, DE, 3Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Background: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) act by increasing insulin secretion, decreasing glucagon secretion, slowing gastric emptying, and increasing satiety.
Objective: Published evidence directly comparing GLP-1RAs with other approved treatments for type 2 diabetes (T2D) was systematically reviewed.
Methods: A literature search was performed using MEDLINE and Embase databases to identify papers comparing GLP-1RAs with other classes of glucose-lowering therapy in patients with T2D.
Results: Of the 1303 papers identified, 57 met the prespecified criteria for a high-quality clinical trial or retrospective study. The efficacy and tolerability of approved GLP-1RAs (exenatide twice daily or once weekly, dulaglutide, liraglutide, lixisenatide, and albiglutide) were compared with insulin products (23 prospective studies + seven retrospective studies), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (11 prospective studies + three retrospective studies), sulfonylureas (nine prospective studies + one retrospective study), thiazolidinediones (five prospective studies), and metformin (two prospective studies). GLP-1RAs are effective as a second-line therapy in improving glycemic parameters in patients with T2D. Reductions in glycated hemoglobin from baseline with GLP-1RAs tended to be greater or similar compared with insulin therapy. GLP-1RAs were consistently more effective in reducing body weight than most oral glucose-lowering drugs and insulin and were associated with lower hypoglycemia risk versus insulin or sulfonylureas. GLP-1RAs improved cardiovascular risk factors, and preliminary data suggest they improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with T2D compared with oral glucose-lowering drugs. However, results from ongoing studies are awaited to confirm these early findings.
Conclusion: This systematic review found that GLP-1RAs are an effective class of glucose-lowering drugs for T2D.

Keywords: antidiabetic drugs, randomized controlled trials, retrospective, type 2 diabetes

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