What are Incretin Mimetic Drugs?
Incretin mimetic drugs like Victoza and Byetta are a popular course of treatment for type 2 diabetes, the most common type of diabetes, occurring when blood glucose levels in the body are higher than normal. Incretin mimetics are designed to mimic the incretin hormones that the body normally produces to stimulate the secretion of insulin in response to a meal, and when they are used in combination with diet and exercise, incretin mimetic drugs can lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
There are two main types of incretin mimetics: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists and dipeptidylpeptisade-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. GLP-1 agonists, like Victoza, work by increasing insulin release while suppressing glucagon, a hormone released by the pancreas. Because these medications can also suppress appetite, they are sometimes prescribed as weight loss medications. In fact, one of the newest GLP-1 agonists, Saxenda, is actually marketed as a prescription weight loss injection. DPP-4 inhibitors, on the other hand, work by blocking DPP-4, the enzyme that destroys the incretin hormone.