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GLP-1 analogues

GLP-1’s (incretin mimetics)

There are six medications in the incretin mimetic/GLP-1 analogues family.

You may have heard that there are shortages of the GLP-1 analogues including Ozempic (semaglutide) and Trulicity (dulaglutide) injections.

Your healthcare team should get in touch if these shortages will affect you, but contact them if you're worried or have questions.

You can also read our FAQs on GLP-1 shortages, and give our helpline a call if you have questions or concerns – call 0345 123 2399.

What are incretin mimetics?

This type of medication works by increasing the levels of hormones called ‘incretins’. These hormones help the body produce more insulin only when needed and reduce the amount of glucose being produced by the liver when it’s not needed. They reduce the rate at which the stomach digests food and empties, and can also reduce appetite.

Here are the six different medications:

Generic or proper nameBrand or trade name
Exenatide (twice-daily injection)Byetta
Exenatide (once-weekly injection)Bydureon
Liraglutide (once-daily injection)Victoza
Lixisenatide (once-daily injection)Lixumia
Dulaglutide (once-weekly injection)Trulicity
Semaglutide (once weekly injection)Ozempic

I've recently read that taking GLP-1s could lead to suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self harm. Should I be worried?

You may have heard in the news about a possible increased risk of suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self harm when using some GLP-1 analogues. It is not yet clear whether the reported cases are linked to the medicines themselves, to people's underlying medical conditions or due to other reasons. These medications have gone through rigorous clinical trials before being available for prescription and being taken by thousands of people. However, the European Medicines Agency and the UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) are investigating this.

If you are already taking a a GLP-1, you should pay attention to any sudden changes in your mood, behaviours, thoughts and feelings and contact your health care team straight away if you are concerned about your mental health, especially if you have any new or worsening symptoms. If you think these mood changes are a result of taking GLP-1, you should also report to the yellow card scheme

You can speak to our advisors for support, advice or just a chat on all aspects living with diabetes. Call our helpline on 0345 123 2399, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm.

Side effects

All medication has side effects and you should check the patient information leaflet (PIL) supplied with your medication to see which side effects you might experience from your particular medication. Remember that you are unlikely to experience all side effects that are listed, and you may not experience any at all. If you do, speak to your doctor as there may be another diabetes medication you could try instead.

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