Type of publication:
Journal of Diabetes Nursing; Jan 2021; vol. 25 (no. 1); p. 1-13
As our understanding of the incretin hormones has increased, a number of drugs targeting this system have been developed. The realisation of this potential has developed rapidly, and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) are now a standard feature in management guidelines for type 2 diabetes. This article reviews the operation of the incretin system and the mechanism by which GLP-1 RAs act to provide benefit in type 2 diabetes. The availability and indications for use of the GLP-1 RAs, and their clinical benefits and disadvantages, are summarised. The position of GLP-1 RAs in the management of type 2 diabetes is discussed pragmatically, with reference to various key guidelines. This article has been updated in January 2021 to incorporate recent guideline changes and the launch in the UK of an oral formulation of semaglutide.