Effects of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists on cardiovascular risk factors: A narrative review of head-to-head comparisons

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Niels B Dalsgaard, Tina Vilsbøll, Filip K Knop

Cardiovascular (CV) disease is the leading cause of death and morbidity in patients with type 2 diabetes. Five CV risk factors (blood pressure, resting heart rate, body weight, cholesterol levels and blood glucose) are monitored routinely as safety and efficacy endpoints in randomized clinical trials for diabetes therapies. To determine if different glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) had varying effects on these CV risk factors, we reviewed 16 head-to-head trials directly comparing GLP-1RAs that included at least one of the five factors. Few trials reported statistical differences between GLP-1RAs in terms of systolic blood pressure (SBP), body weight and total cholesterol. Liraglutide increased heart rate vs its comparators in three separate trials. All GLP-1RAs reduced glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c), but exenatide twice daily and lixisenatide had statistically smaller effects compared with other GLP-1RAs. These descriptive data indicate that individual GLP-1RAs affect CV risk factors differently, potentially because of their individual pharmacokinetics and/or size. Short-acting GLP-1RAs appeared to result in smaller changes in SBP and total cholesterol compared with continuous-acting treatments, while large GLP-1RAs had a reduced effect on body weight compared with small GLP-1RAs. For glycaemic control, short-acting GLP-1RAs had a greater impact on postprandial glucose levels vs continuous-acting GLP-1RAs, but for fasting plasma glucose levels and HbA1c, continuous-acting treatments had the greater effect. No differentiating trends were obvious in heart rate data. These diverse actions of GLP-1RAs on CV risk factors should aid individualized patient treatment.

Original languageEnglish
JournalDiabetes, Obesity and Metabolism
Volume20
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)508-519
ISSN1462-8902
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article, Review

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