Study Compares Exenatide, Liraglutide for Type 2 Diabetes

Greater drop in glycated hemoglobin with liraglutide; adverse events occur less often with exenatide

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with either glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist exenatide (once weekly) or liraglutide (once daily) leads to improvements in glycemic control, with greater improvement seen with liraglutide, according to a study published online Nov. 7 in The Lancet.

John B. Buse, M.D., from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues compared the safety and efficacy of exenatide once weekly with liraglutide once daily in a 26-week, open-label, study involving 911 patients at 105 study sites in 19 countries. Participants were aged 18 or older and were treated with lifestyle modification and oral antihyperglycemic drugs in a 1:1 ratio for injections of once-daily liraglutide (1.8 mg; 450 patients) or once-weekly exenatide (2 mg; 461 patients).

The researchers observed a greater change in the least-squares mean for glycated hemoglobin in the liraglutide group (−1.48 percent) than the exenatide group (−1.28 percent), but the difference did not meet the predefined non-inferiority criteria. Nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting were the most common adverse events, occurring less frequently in the exenatide group and decreasing in frequency over time in both groups. Discontinuation due to adverse events occurred in 5 and 3 percent of patients allocated to liraglutide and exenatide, respectively.

"Both once-daily liraglutide and once-weekly exenatide led to improvements in glycemic control, with greater reductions noted with liraglutide," the authors write. "These findings, plus differences in injection frequency and tolerability, could inform therapeutic decisions for treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes."

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals, both of which funded the study.

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