University of Illinois Extension

What are Incretins and Amylins?

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Incretins and Amylins are both naturally produced hormones that have different actions to control blood glucose.  Inretins are secreted from the gut to stimulate insulin secretion in response to eating food. The medication works in the same way. Amylins are secreted by the pancreas. They slow emptying of the stomach contents into the gastrointestinal tract, lower hunger sensations, and effect of hormones involved in blood glucose regulation.

  • Incretin medications: Exenatide (Byetta™) and Liraglutide (Victoza®) are injected medications that mimics the action of incretin.  A doctor may prescribe one of these for patients with type 2 diabetes who have not achieved glucose target goals using metformin, a sulfonylurea, or both (see next section for information on these medications). 
  • Dipeptidyl-peptidase 4 inhibitors: These medications make the naturally occurring incretins work longer and better. These include sitagliptin (Januvia), saxagliptin (Onglyza®), and linagliptin (Tradjenta). Thes medications are taken by mouth.  This medication may help lower fasting blood glucose and blood glucose after meals.  A doctor may prescribe these alone or in combination with metformin or thiozolidinedione (see next section for information on these medications).
  • Amylin Analog: Pramlintide (Smylin™) is a synthetic hormone of amylin that is given by injection.  A doctor may prescribe pramlitintide if a person who takes insulin to control blood sugars after meals is not reaching desired blood glucose goals.  It can be used in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.