Long-term use of Victoza, a type 2 diabetes drug, could lead to increased blood glucose levels, new research claims.
Victoza (liraglutide) is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps lower blood glucose levels by stimulating insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes. It is prescribed for patients who are obese and often suffering with complications because of their weight.
Researchers from the University of Miami, United States and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden report that Victoza can exhaust insulin-producing cells over time, resulting in higher blood sugar levels.
However, as the study was conducted on mice, clinical studies involving humans would be needed to validate these findings among people with type 2 diabetes.
In their study, they implanted mice with human insulin-producing cells. For 250 days, the mice were then given daily liraglutide doses, and the researchers monitored how the pancreatic beta cells were affected.
Initially, an improvement was noted in the beta cells, but they eventually became exhausted and secreted less insulin in response to glucose.
Study author Midhat Abdulreda, University of Miami, explained: “Given the lack of clinical studies on the long-term effect of these drugs in diabetes patients, this is a very important discovery.”
Per-Olof Berggre, Karolinska Institute, added: “We also need to take these results into account before prescribing blood-sugar suppressing GLP-1 analogues when planning long-term treatment regimens for patients.
“Our study also shows in general how to carry out in vivo studies of the long-term effects of drugs on human insulin-producing cells, which should be extremely important to the drug industry.”
The findings were published in the journal Cell Metabolism.
If you have questions about your medication, speak to your doctor but do not stop taking your medication unless your doctor recommends that you stop.