Injectable GLP-1 Analogues (Dulaglutide, Exenatide, Semaglutide, Liraglutide, Lixisenatide)

This leaflet is designed for people taking an injectable GLP-1 for type 2 diabetes.

What does this medication do?

These drugs work in the same way as a hormone produced in the gut by increasing the amount of insulin that the pancreas releases in response to food.
This can help with blood glucose levels.

How do I take this medication?

These medications should be injected just under the skin. Depending on the GLP-1 you
have been started on you may need to inject twice daily, once daily or once weekly. Your
prescriber will advise you on what frequency to inject when this medication is started.
Your dose of GLP-1 may be gradually increased over time.

Who can’t take this medication?

Injectable GLP-1s may not be suitable for certain people.
These include people who: have type 1 diabetes, have had ketoacidosis in the past, are
pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have a severe gastrointestinal disease.
Your prescriber will review your past medical history when prescribing an injectable GLP1 to check if it is suitable for you.

What are the common side effects?

Many people will not experience side effects with GLP-1s.
However, like all medicines, injectable GLP-1s can cause side effects.

Some common side effects include:

  • Nausea: this usually goes away over time
  • Diarrhoea: this usually goes away over time
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia): This is more likely to happen in people with diabetes that are already taking other diabetes medications. When you start an injectable GLP-1, a change in your diabetes medicines might be needed. Your prescriber will review your other medication when prescribing an injectable GLP-1 and advise you if any changes are needed
  • Vision changes: seek medical attention if you get eye problems, such as changes in vision during treatment with an injectable GLP-1
  • A rare but serious side effect to be aware of is the risk of pancreatitis. If you have severe and ongoing stomach pain, seek medical attention.

Do I need to be monitored?

Specific monitoring after starting an injectable GLP-1 is not required. Unless you feel
unwell, there is usually no need to have extra blood tests after starting an injectable GLP1.

You do not need to test your own blood sugars when taking an injectable GLP-1 unless
you are also taking other diabetes medications. Your healthcare team can advise you on

Are there any sick day rules?

You can continue to take this medication whilst you are unwell.

What about driving?

Certain people with diabetes need to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency
(DVLA). This depends on your medication regimen, whether you hold a group 1 or group
2 licence and other individualised factors.

Full advice can be found on the DVLA website

If you have any queries about this medication, contact your diabetes team, GP or pharmacist.