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Int J Clin Pract. 2015 May;69(5):531-49. doi: 10.1111/ijcp.12572. Epub 2014 Nov 1.

Implications of incretin-based therapies on cardiovascular disease.

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Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA, USA.



Incretin-based therapies offer another treatment option for patients with type 2 diabetes. Agents that provide glycaemic control in addition to attenuating cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors are important for diabetes management. This review will focus on the off-target effects of incretin-based therapies on CVD risk factors [body weight, blood pressure (BP), lipid profile and albuminuria], major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), heart failure (HF) and beta-cell preservation.


A literature search was conducted to identify English-language publications for incretin-based therapies evaluating the following off-target end-points: body weight, BP, lipid profile, albuminuria, MACE, HF and beta-cell function. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) were prioritised as the primary source of information.


Overall, incretin-based therapies have shown beneficial effects on CVD risk factors, and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists appear to have a more pronounced effect compared with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors. RCTs are being conducted to determine if these positive effects on CVD risk factors translate to a reduction in MACE. To date, these studies have not shown an increase in MACE. A signal of increased hospitalisations for HF was observed with saxagliptin, warranting continued evaluation and vigilance in high-risk patients. In addition, incretin-based therapies have shown positive effects on measures of beta-cell function supporting their durability in the management of diabetes.


Incretin-based therapies are an important treatment option for patients with type 2 diabetes, offering beneficial effects on CVD risk factors without increasing MACE.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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