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Integrated Diabetes Services

More than just blood glucose benefit found with Liraglutide use in Type 1 Diabetes Patients


Canadian researchers set out to learn more about what would happen as a result of 24 weeks of treatment with the GLP-1 RA liraglutide, a drug currently approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, in a population of overweight patients with Type 1 diabetes. 

The drug was added to a basal/bolus insulin regimen so the researchers could investigate the effects on anthropometric and metabolic profiles in their study participants.

Fifteen participants took part in a double-blind, cross-over study.  They were assigned at random to receive either a placebo of saline solution, or the actual drug for 24 weeks, including a titration period lasting one month where the liraglutide dose went from 0.6 mg to 1.2 mg to 1.8 mg.  Of course, since these are Type 1 patients, this was added to their insulin.  A month-long wash-out period followed the treatment, and then subjects were given the other treatment for another 24 weeks.  The researchers compared the metabolic parameters using the paired rank tests.

What did the research show?

While the treatment did not have an effect on A1c levels or insulin dose, the researchers determined that there were non-glycemic effects from the liraglutide.  Heart rate did increase by approximately eight beats per minute from the liraglutide.  However, there were benefits to other metabolic measures.  Body Mass Index (BMI), weight, waist and hip circumferences, body fat, abdominal and midthigh measurements on CT-scan, systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) all showed significant reductions.  Moreover, liraglutide didn’t cause an increase in the amount of time spent in hypoglycemia.

What did we learn from this study? 

Adding lilraglutide to a basal/bolus insulin regimen for 24 weeks in overweight and obese participants with Type 1 diabetes did lead to improvement in anthropometric and metabolic parameters without causing more hypoglycemia. 

As researchers keep investigating the effects of use of GLP-1 RA drugs in patients with Type 1 diabetes, perhaps at a future point these drugs will receive an indication for use in this population.      

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