Spellman CW. Pharmacology of GLP-1 Agonists: Describing the Therapeutic Potential to Patients. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2011;111(2_suppl_1):eS10–eS14. doi: .
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The pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus is complex, consisting of far more physiologic defects than simple insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction. Our understanding of this progressive disease has moved from a “dual defect” to an “ominous octet” description. This multifactoral concept may explain the difficulty in achieving and maintaining glycemic goals with traditional therapies. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, which improve insulin secretion, decrease glucagon secretion, increase satiety (and therefore decrease food intake), and may have beneficial effects on β-cell function, represent an important addition to treatment options. Their glucose-dependent mechanism limits the risk for hypoglycemia, and they are associated with weight loss. Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists may be used alone in patients intolerant of metformin or in combination with metformin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas (or in any combination therereof). Concomitant use of dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors is not recommended because they have a similar basis of action. Current US Food and Drug Administration indications do not include the concomitant use of GLP-1 agonists with insulin.
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