What are GLP-1 agonists?

GLP-1 agonists are a class of medications that mainly help manage blood sugar (glucose) levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. Some GLP-1 agonists can also help treat obesity.

GLP-1 agonists are most often injectable medications, meaning you inject a liquid medication with a needle and syringe. You give the shots in the fatty tissue just under your skin (subcutaneous injection). Areas of your body you can give the injections include your belly, outer thighs, upper buttocks and the backs of your arms.

Other names for this medication class include:

  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists.
  • GLP-1 receptor agonists.
  • Incretin mimetics.
  • GLP-1 analogs.

These medications are relatively new. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first GLP-1 agonist (exenatide) in 2005. Researchers are still learning about their other potential uses and benefits.

GLP-1 agonists alone can’t treat Type 2 diabetes or obesity. Both conditions require other treatment strategies, like lifestyle and dietary changes.

List of GLP-1 agonists

GLP-1 agonist medications currently available on the U.S. market include:

  • Dulaglutide (Trulicity®).
  • Exenatide (Byetta®).
  • Exenatide extended-release (Bydureon®).
  • Liraglutide (Victoza®).
  • Lixisenatide (Adlyxin®).
  • Semaglutide injection (Ozempic®).
  • Semaglutide tablets (Rybelsus®).

There’s also a similar class of medications called dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonists. There’s currently one of these medications on the market. It’s called tirzepatide(Mounjaro®).




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