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Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):762-8. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1797. Epub 2009 Feb 5.

One-year treatment with exenatide improves beta-cell function, compared with insulin glargine, in metformin-treated type 2 diabetic patients: a randomized, controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes Center, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.



Traditional blood glucose-lowering agents do not sustain adequate glycemic control in most type 2 diabetic patients. Preclinical studies with exenatide have suggested sustained improvements in beta-cell function. We investigated the effects of 52 weeks of treatment with exenatide or insulin glargine followed by an off-drug period on hyperglycemic clamp-derived measures of beta-cell function, glycemic control, and body weight.


Sixty-nine metformin-treated patients with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to exenatide (n = 36) or insulin glargine (n = 33). beta-Cell function was measured during an arginine-stimulated hyperglycemic clamp at week 0, at week 52, and after a 4-week off-drug period. Additional end points included effects on glycemic control, body weight, and safety.


Treatment-induced change in combined glucose- and arginine-stimulated C-peptide secretion was 2.46-fold (95% CI 2.09-2.90, P < 0.0001) greater after a 52-week exenatide treatment compared with insulin glargine treatment. Both exenatide and insulin glargine reduced A1C similarly: -0.8 +/- 0.1 and -0.7 +/- 0.2%, respectively (P = 0.55). Exenatide reduced body weight compared with insulin glargine (difference -4.6 kg, P < 0.0001). beta-Cell function measures returned to pretreatment values in both groups after a 4-week off-drug period. A1C and body weight rose to pretreatment values 12 weeks after discontinuation of either exenatide or insulin glargine therapy.


Exenatide significantly improves beta-cell function during 1 year of treatment compared with titrated insulin glargine. After cessation of both exenatide and insulin glargine therapy, beta-cell function and glycemic control returned to pretreatment values, suggesting that ongoing treatment is necessary to maintain the beneficial effects of either therapy.

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