GLP-1 receptor agonists: Nonglycemic clinical effects in weight loss and beyond

Donna Ryan, Andres Acosta

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Obective Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are indicated for treatment of type 2 diabetes since they mimic the actions of native GLP-1 on pancreatic islet cells, stimulating insulin release, while inhibiting glucagon release, in a glucose-dependent manner. The observation of weight loss has led to exploration of their potential as antiobesity agents, with liraglutide 3.0 mg day-1 approved for weight management in the US on December 23, 2014, and in the EU on March 23, 2015. This review examines the potential nonglycemic effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists. Methods A literature search was conducted to identify preclinical and clinical evidence on nonglycemic effects of GLP-1 receptor agonists. Results GLP-1 receptors are distributed widely in a number of tissues in humans, and their effects are not limited to the well-recognized effects on glycemia. Nonglycemic effects include weight loss, which is perhaps the most widely recognized nonglycemic effect. In addition, effects on the cardiovascular, neurologic, and renal systems and on taste perception may occur independently of weight loss. Conclusions GLP-1 receptor agonists may provide other nonglycemic clinical effects besides weight loss. Understanding these effects is important for prescribers in using GLP-1 receptor agonists for diabetic patients, but also if approved for chronic weight management.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1119-1129
Number of pages11
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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