Is a Switch From Insulin Therapy to Liraglutide Possible in Japanese Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients?

Takehiro Kawata, Akira Kanamori, Akira Kubota, Hajime Maeda, Hikaru Amamiya, Masahiko Takai, Hideaki Kaneshige, Fuyuki Minagawa, Kotaro Iemitsu, Mizuki Kaneshiro, Masashi Ishikawa, Hiroshi Takeda, Tetsurou Takuma, Atsuko Mokubo, Hideo Machimura, Mitsuo Obana, Masaaki Miyakawa, Yoshikazu Naka, Daisuke Suzuki, Yasuo Terauchi, Masao Toyoda, Yasushi Tanaka, Ikuro Matsuba


Background: To evaluate the efficacy of switching from insulin to the GLP-1 receptor agonist liraglutide in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients.

Methods: The subjects were 231 outpatients with type 2 diabetes mellitus being treated with liraglutide for the first time. For 161 patients, liraglutide was continued for 24 weeks (continuation group), and for 70 patients, liraglutide was discontinued before 24 weeks (discontinuation group). Fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels, HbA1c, body weight, and insulin dose were evaluated before the switch to liraglutide (baseline) and at 12 and 24 weeks of administration. Trends in HbA1c and weight were compared at 12 and 24 weeks of administration. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to identify clinical factors predicting a successful switch to liraglutide.

Results: Multiple regression analysis with ΔHbA1c as the dependent variable in the continuation group indicated that HbA1c at 12 weeks of administration decreased with higher baseline HbA1c and increased with higher baseline daily insulin doses. Multiple regression analysis with Δweight as the dependent variable indicated that Δweight at 24 weeks of liraglutide administration was higher with higher baseline daily insulin doses and longer duration of diabetes. Based on the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve, cut-off values of 19 units for daily insulin dose and nine years for duration of diabetes were identified.

Conclusions: Switching from insulin to liraglutide therapy is possible for carefully selected patients. Daily insulin dosage and duration of insulin therapy appear to be clinically useful indicators for the efficacy of liraglutide therapy.

J Clin Med Res. 2014;6(2):138-144


Type 2 diabetes mellitus; HbA1c; GLP-1 receptor agonist; Liraglutide; Hypoglycemia

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