Who is the Best Candidate for Non-Insulin Injectables?


George Grunberger, MD

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The number of diabetes cases is growing, but so are therapeutic options for treating this life-long illness. Physicians can now present patients with a much broader range of treatment choices that can be tailored to their needs. Over the last 10 years, non-insulin injectable drugs have been shown to be effective therapeutic options in the continuum of diabetes care. As a physician, I’ve seen many of my diabetes patients improve significantly using this class of drugs.

What Is a Non-Insulin Injectable?

Non-insulin injectable’ is a generic term that encompasses any medication injected to treat diabetes aside from insulin. The term typically refers to a group of six drugs; five belong in the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist class, and another is considered an “amylin analog.” These seven medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat diabetes. The GLP-1 drugs mimic the body’s native hormone that tells the brain to prepare for the arrival of food and to stop eating when full. The GLP-1 class also helps stimulate insulin production, needed to regulate your blood sugar level, decrease production of glucagon, the hormone which asks the liver to produce more of your own sugar, and store energy from the food you eat. Currently, the FDA has approved the following GLP-1 drugs for diabetes: exenatide (Byetta), exenatide extended release (Bydureon), albiglutide (Tanzeum), dulaglutide (Trulicity), and liraglutide (Victoza).

Managing diabetes goes beyond focusing on blood sugar levels—you’ve got to commit to living a healthy life, staying active, eating well, and minimizing stress. Follow these tips to get on the right path.

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Apr 18, 2017

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