Incretin Therapy Is Rather Good At Lowering Blood Sugar, Says Study Review


By: Linda von Wartburg

A meta-analysis of 29 studies, none longer than six months, hasshown that incretin therapies (like Byetta and Januvia) aremoderately effective in lowering blood glucose in people with type 2diabetes, especially after meals.

Better yet, they do so without theweight gain associated with many type 2 medications.

Incretin therapy uses drugs that increase the action of GLP-1, ahormone secreted by the intestine that lowers blood glucose. Studiesof two types of incretin therapy were assessed: A GLP-1 analogue,exenatide (Byetta), which is an injectable synthetic copy of GLP-1that lasts much longer in the body than natural GLP-1; and DPP-4inhibitors, like sitagliptin (Januvia), which are pills that blockthe breakdown of natural GLP-1, again making it last longer in thebody.

The results of the meta-analysis indicate that incretin therapyappears to be safe, at least over the short run, with minimalnegative side effects. For people who still have adequate betacells, are at risk for hypoglycemia, and need to lose weight, itappears to be a good alternative. However, it needs lengthierevaluation to assess its long-term safety and effectiveness.

Journal of the American Medical Association, July 2007



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