Future glucose-lowering drugs for type 2 diabetes

Clifford J. Bailey*, Abd A. Tahrani, Anthony H. Barnett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)


The multivariable and progressive natural history of type 2 diabetes limits the effectiveness of available glucose-lowering drugs. Constraints imposed by comorbidities (notably cardiovascular disease and renal impairment) and the need to avoid hypoglycaemia, weight gain, and drug interactions further complicate the treatment process. These challenges have prompted the development of new formulations and delivery methods for existing drugs alongside research into novel pharmacological entities. Advances in incretin-based therapies include a miniature implantable osmotic pump to give continuous delivery of a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist for 6-12 months and once-weekly tablets of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors. Hybrid molecules that combine the properties of selected incretins and other peptides are at early stages of development, and proof of concept has been shown for small non-peptide molecules to activate glucagon-like peptide-1 receptors. Additional sodium-glucose co-transporter inhibitors are progressing in development as well as possible new insulin-releasing biological agents and small-molecule inhibitors of glucagon action. Adiponectin receptor agonists, selective peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor modulators, cellular glucocorticoid inhibitors, and analogues of fibroblast growth factor 21 are being considered as potential new approaches to glucose lowering. Compounds that can enhance insulin receptor and post-receptor signalling cascades or directly promote selected pathways of glucose metabolism have suggested opportunities for future treatments. However, pharmacological interventions that are able to restore normal β-cell function and β-cell mass, normalise insulin action, and fully correct glucose homoeostasis are a distant vision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-359
Number of pages10
JournalThe Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology
Issue number4
Early online date23 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology


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