Introduction: The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and the eventual need for multiple medications in most patients stimulated the development of new drug classes to reduce plasma glucose levels. The GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) are established as an option for treatment of T2DM after metformin. They are also effective in reducing body weight but current GLP-1RAs have to be given by subcutaneous injection daily or once weekly.Areas covered: This review focuses on the new GLP-1RAs currently undergoing development, some of which require less frequent subcutaneous administration and others that are being developed in oral formulations that may favor patient adherence.Expert opinion: The new GLP-1RAs may have the benefit of requiring less frequent subcutaneous dosing or being active by oral administration. However, cardiovascular outcome trials have shown that DPP4 inhibitors are neutral for cardiovascular events and the first cardiovascular outcome trial with lixisenatide reported similar results, whereas the trial with the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin showed a reduction in cardiovascular events. These findings in patients with high cardiovascular risk may favor the use of SGLT2 inhibitors as a second line treatment after metformin but there should still be an important role for novel GLP-1RAs, especially when weight reduction is required.
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