Pharmacotherapies to manage diabesity: an update

Caroline Day, Clifford J. Bailey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Several pharmacotherapies have recently become available for addition to lifestyle measures to assist the management of coexistent type 2 diabetes and obesity. These are mostly administered as add-on to metformin or as alternative therapies if metformin is not appropriate. The sodium–glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (dapagliflozin, canagliflozin and empagliflozin) act by eliminating excess glucose in the urine. These agents provide a non-insulin-dependent mechanism to reduce hyperglycaemia and facilitate weight loss without causing frank hypoglycaemia. Their efficacy requires the individual to have adequate renal function. The glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists (exenatide, liraglutide, lixisenatide, dulaglutide and albiglutide [the last at the pre-launch stage at the time of writing]) are injected subcutaneously. Different members of the class offer different time courses for their onset and duration of action. Each potentiates insulin secretion and reduces glucagon secretion in a glucose-dependent manner to address prandial glycaemic excursions while avoiding interprandial hypoglycaemia. A satiety effect of these agents assists weight reduction, but delayed gastric emptying can cause initial nausea. The dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor class now comprises sitagliptin, vildagliptin, saxagliptin, linagliptin and alogliptin. These agents offer similar glucose-lowering efficacy without weight gain or hypoglycaemia by boosting the half-life of endogenous incretins, particularly GLP-1. A fixed-ratio injected combination of insulin degludec with liraglutide (IDegLira) has recently been launched and further agents to address hyperglycaemia and assist weight loss are advancing in development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalDiabesity in practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Diabetes


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