Drug Safety

, Volume 37, Issue 12, pp 1003–1010 | Cite as

Balancing Benefits and Risks in Patients Receiving Incretin-Based Therapies: Focus on Cardiovascular and Pancreatic Side Effects

  • Martin Haluzík
  • Miloš Mráz
  • Štěpán Svačina
Leading Article


Incretin-based therapies either increase endogenous levels of glucagon-like peptide-1 by prolonging its half-life (DPP-4 inhibitors) or directly stimulate its receptor (glucagon-like peptide-1 analogues; GLP-1 RA). They are currently widely used for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus owing to good antidiabetic efficacy, low risk of hypoglycemia, and relatively few other side effects. They also offer potential additional benefits such as weight neutrality or weight loss, positive effects on blood pressure and lipid levels, and potential cardio- and neuroprotectivity. Some experimental and clinical studies have raised concerns with respect to potential cardiovascular and pancreatic side effects of these therapies such as increased risk of heart failure with DPP-4 inhibitors as well as acute pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer with both classes. The available data are at present not robust enough to enable firm conclusions regarding these potential associations. Nevertheless, some recent data suggest a possibility of slightly increased risk of acute pancreatitis with GLP-1 RAs while they do not indicate increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Ongoing cardiovascular outcome trials will shed more light on the possible cardioprotective effects of incretin-based therapies as well as on the possible interconnection of DPP-4 inhibitors and heart failure.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Haluzík
    • 1
  • Miloš Mráz
    • 1
  • Štěpán Svačina
    • 1
  1. 1.3rd Dept. of Medicine, 1st Faculty of Medicine and General University HospitalCharles UniversityPrague 2Czech Republic

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