Effects of glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists on comorbidities in older patients with diabetes mellitus

Olusola F. Onoviran, Dongming Li, Sarah Toombs Smith, Mukaila A. Raji

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Elderly patients with diabetes are at high risk of polypharmacy because of multiple coexisting diseases and syndromes. Polypharmacy increases the risk of drug–drug and drug–disease interactions in these patients, who may already have age-related sensory and cognitive deficits; such deficits may delay timely communication of early symptoms of adverse drug events. Several glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) have been approved for diabetes: liraglutide, exenatide, lixisenatide, dulagluatide, semaglutide, and albiglutide. Some are also approved for treatment of obesity. The current review of literature along with clinical case discussion provides evidence supporting GLP-1 RAs as diabetes medications for polypharmacy reduction in older diabetes patients because of their multiple pleiotropic effects on comorbidities (e.g. hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and fatty liver) and syndromes (e.g. osteoporosis and sleep apnea) that commonly co-occur with diabetes. Using one medication (in this case, GLP-1 RAs) to address multiple conditions may help reduce costs, medication burden, adverse drug events, and medication nonadherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Chronic Disease
StatePublished - 2019


  • Alzheimer’s
  • Comorbidities
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Geriatric
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep apnea
  • polypharmacy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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