Incretin Mimetics (GLP-1 Agonists)
The drugs, also commonly known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists or GLP-1 analogues, are normally prescribed for patients who have not been able to control their condition with tablet medication.
Drugs in this class
The following incretin mimetics are available for type 2 diabetic patients - (trade name first, generic name in brackets):
Byetta and Bydureon are the same medical drug. The only difference is that Bydureon is long-lasting, requiring only one injection per week, whereas Byetta is taken twice-daily due to its much shorter-term effects.
How do they work?
They work by copying, or mimicking, the functions of the natural incretin hormones in your body that help lower post-meal blood sugar levels. These functions include:
These effects are in direct response to the presence of carbohydrate in the gut and therefore the chance of significant hypoglycemia occurring is unlikely, unless used in combination with other hypoglycemic drugs.
Benefits of incretin mimetics
They have also been shown in clinical research studies to be beneficial in losing weight, compared with a placebo, when used in combination with diet and exercise.