Liraglutide may prompt optimal blood-glucose levels in Type 1 diabetics

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A popular Type 2 diabetes treatment may help Type 1 diabetics achieve control of their blood-glucose levels, according to a small, observational study conducted at the University of Buffalo.

The study examined 14 adult Type 1 diabetics on insulin and added injectable Type 2 diabetes medication liraglutide to their medication regimen for periods ranging from one week to 24 weeks. Although all of the Type 1 diabetes patients had optimal blood-glucose levels at the beginning of the study, lead author Paresh Dandona, professor of medicine at the University of Buffalo's School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, said that some patients experience "glycemic excursions," in which blood-glucose measures reach hypoglycemic or hyperglycemic levels.

Dandona and colleagues found, however, that within one to two days of beginning treatment with liraglutide, such glycemic excursions were offset but reversed just as quickly when treatment was discontinued, revealing that liraglutide likely was responsible for these effects and could be an effective add-on therapy to insulin.

"The addition of liraglutide to insulin therapy in these well-controlled Type 1 diabetics resulted in a significant and rapid reduction in glycemic excursions and, as a consequence, a rapid reduction in the amount of insulin they needed to take," Dandona said. "We will be investigating in detail the hypothesis that it is liraglutide's ability to suppress glucagon that significantly reduces the wide swings in blood glucose levels that Type 1 diabetics — even those with very good glucose control — live with everyday."

The research has been published online ahead of print in the European Journal of Endocrinology. It also was recently presented at the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Boston.

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