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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Comparison of efficacy between incretin-based therapies for type 2 diabetes mellitus

Kaustubh Nisal1, Ram Kela1, Kamlesh Khunti2 and Melanie J Davies13*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Leicester Royal infirmary, Infirmary Square, Leicester LE1 5WW, UK

2 Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, 22-28 Princess Road West, Leicester LE1 6TP, UK

3 Diabetes Department, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester General Hospital, Gwendolen Road, Leicester, LE5 4WP, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:152  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-152

Published: 30 November 2012


Type 2 diabetes mellitus is widely prevalent and is often coexistent with obesity. Many of the available treatment options have side effects such as weight gain which often affect patient's willingness to continue the treatment. Effective weight loss, lack of significant hypoglycaemia, and favourable cardiometabolic profile make Incretin based therapies an attractive treatment option for type 2 diabetes. Incretin based therapies are available as either incretin mimetics (also called GLP-1 agonists) or incretin enhancers (DPP-4 inhibitors). Although agents in both these classes of incretin based therapy are effective through a common GLP-1 pathway, there are many differences amongst them including the route of administration, frequency of administration, effects on body weight, extent of glycaemic improvement. There are several trials evaluating these individual incretin based agents either as monotherapy or in combination with other anti-diabetic agents, however very few have looked into direct comparison amongst the agents in these two classes. This review is aimed to look at important mechanistic differences between incretin mimetics and enhancers through direct comparison trials and impact of these differences on biochemical, metabolic and patient satisfaction parameters.

GLP-1 analogues; GLP-1 agonists; DPP-4 inhibitors; incretins; head to head comparison; patient satisfaction