Rationale Use of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes
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- Unger, J. Curr Diab Rep (2013) 13: 663. doi:10.1007/s11892-013-0404-x
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Clinicians and patients are rapidly adapting GLP-1 receptor agonists as efficacious and safe therapeutic options for managing type 2 diabetes (T2DM). GLP-1 receptor agonists stimulate insulin production and secretion from the pancreatic β cells in a glucose-dependent manner, improve gastric emptying, favor weight reduction, and reduce postabsorptive glucagon secretion from pancreatic α cells. GLP-1 receptor activity is impaired in patients with T2DM. GLP-1 secretion and subsequent physiologic actions in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1DM) is ill-defined. Some researchers have suggested that the use of GLP-1 receptor agonists in T1DM may reduce excessive postprandial glucagon secretion allowing patients to reduce their total daily dose of exogenous insulin. Hypoglycemia risk may also be minimized in T1DM as glucagon counter-regulation can be preserved to some degree via the glucose-dependent action of the GLP-1 receptor agonists. This paper will consider the physiologic and pharmacologic benefits of adding GLP-1 receptor agonists to therapeutic regimens of patients with T1DM.