The US Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approves first oral GLP-1 treatment for type 2 diabetes - semaglutide.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a naturally occurring hormone that helps control blood sugar levels and appetite, and this hormone is missing or present in lower levels in patients with T2DM. Giving medications which act on the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1 agonists) can reproduce the action of human GLP-1and improve the glucose control and the whole metabolism of patients with T2DM. These drugs have been available in the UK since 2007 as injectable therapy. They have proved to be very effective for people with T2DM and can also lead to significant weight loss.
More recently, research has shown that GLP-1 agonists may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, eg heart attacks, heart failure and stroke.
Up to now, the medication could only be given as daily or weekly injections under the skin. In an exciting development, the American Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a tablet form of GLP-1 that can be taken once a week, called semaglutide. Marketing authorisation from the European Medicines Agency has been applied for earlier this year but FDA approval may herald a step-change in how we use these agents.
Dr Martin Whyte is an expert in metabolic medicine and the use of novel therapies for T2DM at LondonSwissMedical, King's College Hospital and the University of Surrey, if you want to discuss the management of your diabetes with him, or another member of the team, please make an appointment.