LEICESTER, England, Dec. 8 (UPI) -- While there are now several glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, or GLP-1RAs, available for type 2 diabetes patients, little research has been done to compare the efficacy of one against the other.
Researchers at the Leicester Diabetes Center at the University of Leicester compared studies on the five drugs -- dulaglutide, sold as Trulicity, exenatide, sold as Byetta, and albiglutide, sold as Tanzeum, which are on already available, and two that are in development, taspoglutide and semaglutide.
GLP-1RAs, which have have been available since 2010, are once-a-week subcutaneous injections said to have a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia than similar previous medications.
"In clinical studies, these drugs improve glucose control and reduce body weight, without an increased risk for hypoglycemia," researchers said in a press release. "To date, however, no direct comparisons between once-weekly GLP-1RAs are available."
Researchers compared 34 randomized, controlled trials that included 21,126 participants, to find that all five reduced HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose more effectively than placebo treatments. In addition, taspoglutide, exenatide and dulaglutide all were shown to reduce body weight.
The researchers reported little or no difference in the drugs' effects on blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and C-reactive protein levels.
"Compared to other available once-weekly GLP-1RAs, dulaglutide 1.5mg and once weekly exenatide showed a greater reduction of HbA1c and fasting plasma glucose," Dr Francesco Zaccardi, a researcher at the Leicester Diabetes Center, said in a press release. "The risk of hypoglycaemia among once-weekly GLP-1RAs was comparable. Taspoglutide, one of the agents evaluated, has already been withdrawn from the market for high rates of nausea, and this has been confirmed in the meta-analysis".
The study is published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.