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Should Patients With Type 2 Diabetes Watch Out For Liraglutide?

People with Type 2 diabetes who receive regular liraglutide injections should use caution, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Miami and the Karolinska Institutet Sweden cast doubt on the effectiveness of liraglutide over long periods of time, as it may increase blood sugar levels rather than lower them. The prescription drug could weaken beta cells, the cells that produce insulin, by degenerating them over time. Liraglutide works as an incretin mimetic, a class of drugs that help the pancreas release insulin at the right time. Researchers noted the long-term effects of this drug in mice over a 250-day period.

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Scientists injected liraglutide into mice every day for 250 days to see how the drug affected human beta cells implanted in the mice. The injections helped stabilize insulin production at first, but then blood sugar levels worsened as these mice produced less insulin over time. Researchers believe the medical community should pay attention to these findings and health care professionals should re-examine the use of these types of drugs in humans. This is the first study of its kind to attempt to measure the long-term affects of these types of medications, so doctors require more information from human patients who receive this drug to make better recommendations in the future.

Liraglutide is a drug doctors prescribe when all other treatments for Type 2 diabetes seem to fail. The drug works in conjunction with dietary changes and exercise. Liraglutide may increase a patient's risk of developing tumors in the thyroid gland, so the study of the drug's efficacy is not the first warning patients have received about this treatment.

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In late 2015, the FDA warned against another drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes. Studies show that Invokana may cause harmful side effects that are worse than Type 2 diabetes itself. The makers of Invokana face class-action lawsuits as a result of these side effects.Even though liraglutide may help in the short term, its long-term effects could eventually make maintaining control of blood glucose levels, even harder. The good news is that people with Type 2 diabetes have numerous treatment options. Talk to your doctor about what you should do about liraglutide, and become part of the solution by contributing to the funding of diabetes research.

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