Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) improve glycemia in patients with type 2 diabetes, but heart rate increases have been observed.
A pooled post hoc analysis of 11 randomized clinical trials (N = 4595) of 10–30 weeks’ duration from the exenatide once-weekly (QW) development program evaluated heart rate with exenatide QW (intervention group) and exenatide twice daily (BID), liraglutide, and non-GLP-1RAs (insulin, metformin, pioglitazone, and sitagliptin) (comparison groups). The time course and size of heart rate changes from baseline and the relationship of heart rate change with baseline heart rate were studied. A multivariate analysis (9 studies; N = 3903) examined associations between patient characteristics or treatments and heart rate increases.
Mean baseline heart rate ± standard deviation was 75.0 ± 8.5 beats per minute (bpm) with exenatide QW (n = 2096), 75.8 ± 8.7 bpm with exenatide BID (n = 606), 75.2 ± 8.9 bpm with liraglutide (n = 450), and 74.5 ± 8.6 bpm with non-GLP-1RAs (n = 1443). Least-squares mean ± standard error changes from baseline to final heart rate were + 2.7 ± 0.2, + 1.0 ± 0.3, and + 3.0 ± 0.4 bpm with exenatide QW, exenatide BID, and liraglutide, respectively, and − 0.8 ± 0.2 bpm with non-GLP-1RAs. The size and direction of heart rate changes in individual patients varied within each treatment group at all time points. At posttreatment follow-up, heart rate reverted to the baseline level after GLP-1RA discontinuation. Heart rate changes correlated negatively with baseline heart rate for all therapies (r = − 0.3 to − 0.4). Baseline heart rate was the strongest predictor of increased heart rate.
Small increases in heart rate were associated with exenatide QW, exenatide BID, and liraglutide treatments but reverted to baseline after discontinuation. Increases were more likely in patients with a low baseline heart rate. The clinical relevance of these heart rate increases is unknown but will be clarified by several ongoing and recently completed cardiovascular outcome studies.