BMJ Open 3:e001986 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001986
  • Diabetes and endocrinology
    • Research

Effects of exenatide and liraglutide on heart rate, blood pressure and body weight: systematic review and meta-analysis

  1. Joseph P O'Hare1
  1. 1Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
  2. 2Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tim A Holt; tim.holt{at}
  • Received 28 August 2012
  • Revised 15 November 2012
  • Accepted 3 December 2012
  • Published 24 January 2013


Objectives To synthesise current evidence for the effects of exenatide and liraglutide on heart rate, blood pressure and body weight.

Design Meta-analysis of available data from randomised controlled trials comparing Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues with placebo, active antidiabetic drug therapy or lifestyle intervention.

Participants Patients with type 2 diabetes.

Outcome measures Weighted mean differences between trial arms for changes in heart rate, blood pressure and body weight, after a minimum of 12-week follow-up.

Results 32 trials were included. Overall, GLP-1 agonists increased the heart rate by 1.86 beats/min (bpm) (95% CI 0.85 to 2.87) versus placebo and 1.90 bpm (1.30 to 2.50) versus active control. This effect was more evident for liraglutide and exenatide long-acting release than for exenatide twice daily. GLP-1 agonists decreased systolic blood pressure by −1.79 mm Hg (−2.94 to −0.64) and −2.39 mm Hg (−3.35 to −1.42) compared to placebo and active control, respectively. Reduction in diastolic blood pressure failed to reach statistical significance (−0.54 mm Hg (−1.15 to 0.07) vs placebo and −0.50 mm Hg (−1.24 to 0.24) vs active control). Body weight decreased by −3.31 kg (−4.05 to −2.57) compared to active control, but by only −1.22 kg (−1.51 to −0.93) compared to placebo.

Conclusions GLP-1 analogues are associated with a small increase in heart rate and modest reductions in body weight and blood pressure. Mechanisms underlying the rise in heart rate require further investigation.

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