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      Avoiding hypoglycemia: a key to success for glucose-lowering therapy in type 2 diabetes

      Vascular Health and Risk Management

      Dove Medical Press

      type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, treatment, sulfonylurea, incretin therapy, insulin

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          Abstract

          Type 2 diabetes carries a risk for hypoglycemia, particularly in patients on an intensive glucose control plan as a glucose-lowering strategy, where hypoglycemia may be a limitation for the therapy and also a factor underlying clinical inertia. Glucose-lowering medications that increase circulating insulin in a glucose-independent manner, such as insulin and sulfonylurea therapy, are the most common cause of hypoglycemia. However, other factors such as a delayed or missed meal, physical exercise, or drug or alcohol consumption may also contribute. Specific risk factors for development of hypoglycemia are old age, long duration of diabetes, some concomitant medication, renal dysfunction, hypoglycemia unawareness, and cognitive dysfunction. Hypoglycemia is associated with acute short-term symptoms related to either counterregulation, such as tachycardia and sweating, or to neuroglycopenia, such as irritability, confusion, and in severe cases stupor, coma, and even death. However, there are also long-term consequences of hypoglycemia such as reduced working capacity, weight gain, loss of self-confidence with reduced quality of life, and increased risk for cardiovascular diseases. For both the patients, the health care system, and the society at large, hypoglycemia carries a high cost. Strategies to mitigate the risk of hypoglycemia include awareness of the condition; education of patients, relatives, and health care providers; and selecting appropriate glucose-lowering medication that also judges the risk for hypoglycemia to prevent this complication. This article summarizes the current knowledge of hypoglycemia and its consequences with a special emphasis on its consequences for the choice of glucose-lowering therapy.

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          Most cited references 91

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          GLP-1 receptor agonists for individualized treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus.

           Juris Meier (2012)
          In healthy humans, the incretin glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is secreted after eating and lowers glucose concentrations by augmenting insulin secretion and suppressing glucagon release. Additional effects of GLP-1 include retardation of gastric emptying, suppression of appetite and, potentially, inhibition of β-cell apoptosis. Native GLP-1 is degraded within ~2-3 min in the circulation; various GLP-1 receptor agonists have, therefore, been developed to provide prolonged in vivo actions. These GLP-1 receptor agonists can be categorized as either short-acting compounds, which provide short-lived receptor activation (such as exenatide and lixisenatide) or as long-acting compounds (for example albiglutide, dulaglutide, exenatide long-acting release, and liraglutide), which activate the GLP-1 receptor continuously at their recommended dose. The pharmacokinetic differences between these drugs lead to important differences in their pharmacodynamic profiles. The short-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists primarily lower postprandial blood glucose levels through inhibition of gastric emptying, whereas the long-acting compounds have a stronger effect on fasting glucose levels, which is mediated predominantly through their insulinotropic and glucagonostatic actions. The adverse effect profiles of these compounds also differ. The individual properties of the various GLP-1 receptor agonists might enable incretin-based treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus to be tailored to the needs of each patient.
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            Is Open Access

            Efficacy and Safety Comparison of Liraglutide, Glimepiride, and Placebo, All in Combination With Metformin, in Type 2 Diabetes

            OBJECTIVE—The efficacy and safety of adding liraglutide (a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist) to metformin were compared with addition of placebo or glimepiride to metformin in subjects previously treated with oral antidiabetes (OAD) therapy. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—In this 26-week, double-blind, double-dummy, placebo- and active-controlled, parallel-group trial, 1,091 subjects were randomly assigned (2:2:2:1:2) to once-daily liraglutide (either 0.6, 1.2, or 1.8 mg/day injected subcutaneously), to placebo, or to glimepiride (4 mg once daily). All treatments were in combination therapy with metformin (1g twice daily). Enrolled subjects (aged 25–79 years) had type 2 diabetes, A1C of 7–11% (previous OAD monotherapy for ≥3 months) or 7–10% (previous OAD combination therapy for ≥3 months), and BMI ≤40 kg/m2. RESULTS—A1C values were significantly reduced in all liraglutide groups versus the placebo group (P < 0.0001) with mean decreases of 1.0% for 1.8 mg liraglutide, 1.2 mg liraglutide, and glimepiride and 0.7% for 0.6 mg liraglutide and an increase of 0.1% for placebo. Body weight decreased in all liraglutide groups (1.8–2.8 kg) compared with an increase in the glimepiride group (1.0 kg; P < 0.0001). The incidence of minor hypoglycemia with liraglutide (∼3%) was comparable to that with placebo but less than that with glimepiride (17%; P < 0.001). Nausea was reported by 11–19% of the liraglutide-treated subjects versus 3–4% in the placebo and glimepiride groups. The incidence of nausea declined over time. CONCLUSIONS—In subjects with type 2 diabetes, once-daily liraglutide induced similar glycemic control, reduced body weight, and lowered the occurrence of hypoglycemia compared with glimepiride, when both had background therapy of metformin.
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              Risk of hypoglycaemia in types 1 and 2 diabetes: effects of treatment modalities and their duration.

                (2007)
              We explored the epidemiology of hypoglycaemia in individuals with insulin-treated diabetes by testing the hypothesis that diabetes type and duration of insulin treatment influence the risk of hypoglycaemia. This was an observational study over 9-12 months in six UK secondary care diabetes centres. Altogether 383 patients were involved. Patients were divided into the following three treatment groups for type 2 diabetes: (1) sulfonylureas, (2) insulin for 5 years, and into two treatment groups for type 1 diabetes, namely 15 years disease duration. Self-reported (mild and severe) and biochemical episodes (interstitial glucose 15 years group, 3.2.episodes per subject-year). During early insulin use in type 2 diabetes, the frequency of hypoglycaemia is generally equivalent to that observed in patients treated with sulfonylureas and considerably lower than during the first 5 years of treatment in type 1 diabetes.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vasc Health Risk Manag
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Vascular Health and Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6344
                1178-2048
                2013
                2013
                24 April 2013
                : 9
                : 155-163
                Affiliations
                Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Bo Ahrén, B11 BMC, Sölvegatan 19, 221 84 Lund, Sweden, Tel +46 4 6222 0758, Fax +46 4 6222 0757, Email bo.ahren@ 123456med.lu.se
                Article
                vhrm-9-155
                10.2147/VHRM.S33934
                3639216
                23637538
                © 2013 Ahrén, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Cardiovascular Medicine

                type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, treatment, sulfonylurea, incretin therapy, insulin

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