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08-31-2018 | GLP-1 agonists | Review | Article

Cardiovascular Effects of Different GLP-1 Receptor Agonists in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

Current Diabetes Reports

Authors: Gül Bahtiyar, Jean Pujals-Kury, Alan Sacerdote

Publisher: Springer US


Purpose of Review

Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) have positive effects on weight loss, blood pressure, hyperlipidemia, and glycemic control. They exhibit a broad range of effects on the cardiovascular system that are independent of changes in blood glucose. Cardiovascular outcome trials have demonstrated safety of GLP-1 RAs but results for cardiovascular efficacy were varied. The aim of the present review is the assessment of the effects of GLP-1 RAs on cardiovascular risk factors, and major cardiovascular events.

Recent Findings

Use of GLP-1 RAs was associated with relative risk reduction in cardiovascular mortality and all-cause mortality with no significant differences for the incidence of severe hypoglycemia, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or medullary thyroid cancer when compared to placebo. Although there are differences between individual medications with respect to their effects on cardiovascular events, GLP-1 RAs offer a favorable risk-benefit profile.


The present review confirms the cardiovascular safety and efficacy vs placebo of GLP-1 RAs in patients with type 2 diabetes at moderate-to-high atherosclerotic cardiovascular risk without significant side effects. Although professional guidelines recommend metformin as the sole first-line agent, GLP-1 RAs can be used as first-line therapy in individuals with type 2 diabetes who either are intolerant to metformin or have high cardiovascular risk factors.

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