Medicine & USMLE

GLP-1 Analogs

Diabetes Drugs (Old)
  1. Insulin Preparations
  2. Metformin
  3. Glitazones / Thiazolidinediones
  4. First-Gen Sulfonylureas
  5. Second-Gen Sulfonylureas
  6. Meglitinides
  7. GLP-1 Analogs
  8. DPP-4 Inhibitors
  9. alpha-Glucosidase Inhibitors
  10. Pramlintide


GLP-1 analogs are medications used in the treatment of type II diabetes, and the two you should know are exenatide and liraglutide. These drugs are also known as “incretins” because they cause insulin secretion. They do this in a glucose-dependent fashion, meaning that they do not cause hypoglycemia. They also decrease glucagon release and delay gastric emptying, both of which also help control blood sugar levels. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, and pancreatitis.

Key Points

  • GLP-1 Analogs
    • Also known as incretins
    • Drugs
      • Exenatide
      • Liraglutide
    • Clinical Use
      • Type 2 Diabetes
    • Mechanism
      • Increase insulin secretion
        • "Insulin" + "secretion" = "incretin"
        • This occurs in a glucose-dependent fashion, so hypoglycemia is not observed
      • Decrease glucagon release
      • Delayed gastric emptying
      • Similar mechanism to DPP4 inhibitors
    • Adverse Effects
      • Pancreatitis
      • Nausea / Vomiting