HOW DO ANTIDIABETIC GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1 AGONISTS WORK?
Antidiabetic glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists (also known as GLP-1 agonists) are a class of drugs used with a proper diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity. T2DM is a long-term medical condition in which the body does not use insulin normally and, therefore, cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood. Controlling high blood sugar helps in preventing kidney damage, blindness, nerve problems, loss of limbs, and sexual function problems and may also reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Obesity is an abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a health risk. A body mass index (BMI is calculated by considering a person’s weight and height to measure body size) of more than 25 is considered overweight and more than 30 is considered obese.
GLP-1 agonists are synthetic (man-made) hormones that resemble and act like GLP-1 which is one of the gut hormones involved in controlling the blood sugar.
GLP-1 agonists are not used to treat insulin-dependent or type 1 diabetes (a condition in which the body does not produce insulin and therefore cannot control the amount of sugar in the blood) and diabetic ketoacidosis (increased ketones in the blood or urine).
GLP-1 agonists are available as injectable powder for suspension and a solution (liquid) in a prefilled dosing pen to be injected subcutaneously (under the skin) in the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.
GLP-1 agonists work in the following ways:
- They belong to a class of drugs called "incretin mimetics" because these drugs mimic the effects of incretins.
- Incretins are hormones that are produced and released into the blood by the intestine in response to food.
- GLP-1 is an incretin, one of the gut hormones, involved in controlling blood sugar, mainly acting on the insulin that the body produces after meals.
- GLP-1 is responsible for various functions such as:
- Stimulation of insulin from the pancreas in response to food
- Slowing down the absorption of glucose from the gut
- Reduces gastric emptying
- Inhibits the action of glucagon, a hormone that increases glucose production by the liver
- Reduces appetite and promotes satiety or stomach fullness
HOW ARE ANTIDIABETIC GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1 AGONISTS USED?
Antidiabetic GLP-1 agonists are used in the following conditions:
- T2DM: as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults
- Obesity/weight management: adjunctive therapy to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity for chronic weight management in adults with a BMI of ≥30 kg/m2 (obese) or a BMI of ≥27 kg/m2 (overweight) who have at least one weight-related condition (hypertension, T2DM, dyslipidemia).
WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF ANTIDIABETIC GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1 AGONISTS?
Some of the common side effects include:
- Stomach upset
- Decreased appetite
- Dry mouth
- Dyspepsia (a feeling of burning, pain, or discomfort in the digestive tract)
- Pain, itching, or redness at the injection site
Other rare side effects include:
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level)
- Sudden sweating
- Fast heartbeat
- Blurred vision
- Tingling in hands/feet
- Dizziness (feeling faint, weak, or unsteady)
- Abdominal distention
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Hyperkalemia (high blood potassium level)
- Dyslipidemia (blood lipid levels that are too high or low)
- Signs of kidney problems
- Change in the amount of urine
- Swelling in legs/feet
- Signs of urinary tract infection
- Burning/painful/frequent/urgent urination
- Pink/bloody urine
Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.
WHAT ARE NAMES OF ANTIDIABETIC GLUCAGON-LIKE PEPTIDE-1 AGONISTS?
Generic and brand names of antidiabetic GLP-1 agonists include:
- Bydureon BCise
- Exenatide injectable solution
- Exenatide injectable suspension
- Exenatide subdermal implant
- Liraglutide/insulin degludec
- Lixisenatide/insulin glargine
- Soliqua 100/33
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