Current Therapies That Modify Glucagon Secretion: What Is the Therapeutic Effect of Such Modifications?

Magnus Grondahl, Damien Keating, Tina Visboll, Filip Knop

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Purpose of Review: Hyperglucagonemia contributes significantly to hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes and suppressed glucagon levels may increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Here, we give a brief overview of glucagon physiology and the role of glucagon in the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes and provide insights into how antidiabetic drugs influence glucagon secretion as well as a perspective on the future of glucagon-targeting drugs. Recent Findings: Several older as well as recent investigations have evaluated the effect of antidiabetic agents on glucagon secretion to understand how glucagon may be involved in the drugs’ efficacy and safety profiles. Based on these findings, modulation of glucagon secretion seems to play a hitherto underestimated role in the efficacy and safety of several glucose-lowering drugs. Summary: Numerous drugs currently available to diabetologists are capable of altering glucagon secretion: metformin, sulfonylurea compounds, insulin, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors and amylin mimetics. Their diverse effects on glucagon secretion are of importance for their individual efficacy and safety profiles. Understanding how these drugs interact with glucagon secretion may help to optimize treatment.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number128
    Number of pages10
    JournalCurrent Diabetes Reviews
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    • Alpha cell regulation
    • Diabetes
    • Glucagon secretion
    • Glucagon-like peptide 1
    • Hyperglucagonemia
    • Incretin therapy


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