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Liraglutide decreases carotid intima-media thickness in patients with type 2 diabetes: 8-month prospective pilot study

Manfredi Rizzo123, Manisha Chandalia4, Angelo Maria Patti1, Vittoria Di Bartolo1, Ali A Rizvi3, Giuseppe Montalto1 and Nicola Abate4*

Author Affiliations

1 Biomedical Department of Internal Medicine and Medical Specialties, University of Palermo, Palermo, Italy

2 Euro-Mediterranean Institute of Science and Technology, Palermo, Italy

3 Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Columbia, South Carolina, USA

4 Division of Endocrinology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 8.138 Medical Research Building, 301 University Boulevard, 77555-1060 Galveston, TX, USA

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2014, 13:49  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-13-49

Published: 22 February 2014



Liraglutide, a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog, has several non- glycemic properties, but its effect on carotid intima-media thickness (IMT), a recognized marker of subclinical atherosclerosis, is still unknown.


A prospective study of 8 months duration in 64 patients with type-2 diabetes and no prior history of coronary artery disease evaluated whether adding liraglutide to metformin affects carotid IMT, measured by color doppler ultrasound.


After 8 months, fasting glucose decreased by 2.1 mmol/l and HbA1c by 1.9% (p < 0.01 for all). Liraglutide reduced total-cholesterol and triglycerides by 10%, and LDL-cholesterol by 19%, whereas HDL-cholesterol increased by 18% (p < 0.01 for all lipid changes). Carotid IMT decreased from 1.19 ± 0.47 to 0.94 ± 0.21 mm (p < 0.01). Yet, changes in carotid IMT did not correlate with changes in any other variable studied.


Liraglutide decreases carotid IMT after 8 months treatment independently of its effect on plasma glucose and lipids concentrations.

Trial registration NCT01715428.

Liraglutide; Carotid intima-media thickness; Cardiovascular risk; Type2 diabetes