Liraglutide once a day versus exenatide twice a day for type 2 diabetes: a 26-week randomised, parallel-group, multinational, open-label trial (LEAD-6)

John B. Buse, Julio Rosenstock, Giorgio Sesti, Wolfgang E. Schmidt, Eduard Montanya, Jason H. Brett, Marcin Zychma, Lawrence Blonde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1255 Scopus citations


Background: Unlike most antihyperglycaemic drugs, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists have a glucose-dependent action and promote weight loss. We compared the efficacy and safety of liraglutide, a human GLP-1 analogue, with exenatide, an exendin-based GLP-1 receptor agonist. Methods: Adults with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes on maximally tolerated doses of metformin, sulphonylurea, or both, were stratified by previous oral antidiabetic therapy and randomly assigned to receive additional liraglutide 1·8 mg once a day (n=233) or exenatide 10 μg twice a day (n=231) in a 26-week open-label, parallel-group, multinational (15 countries) study. The primary outcome was change in glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c). Efficacy analyses were by intention to treat. The trial is registered with, number NCT00518882. Findings: Mean baseline HbA1c for the study population was 8·2%. Liraglutide reduced mean HbA1c significantly more than did exenatide (-1·12% [SE 0·08] vs -0·79% [0·08]; estimated treatment difference -0·33; 95% CI -0·47 to -0·18; p<0·0001) and more patients achieved a HbA1c value of less than 7% (54% vs 43%, respectively; odds ratio 2·02; 95% CI 1·31 to 3·11; p=0·0015). Liraglutide reduced mean fasting plasma glucose more than did exenatide (-1·61 mmol/L [SE 0·20] vs -0·60 mmol/L [0·20]; estimated treatment difference -1·01 mmol/L; 95% CI -1·37 to -0·65; p<0·0001) but postprandial glucose control was less effective after breakfast and dinner. Both drugs promoted similar weight losses (liraglutide -3·24 kg vs exenatide -2·87 kg). Both drugs were well tolerated, but nausea was less persistent (estimated treatment rate ratio 0·448, p<0·0001) and minor hypoglycaemia less frequent with liraglutide than with exenatide (1·93 vs 2·60 events per patient per year; rate ratio 0·55; 95% CI 0·34 to 0·88; p=0·0131; 25·5% vs 33·6% had minor hypoglycaemia). Two patients taking both exenatide and a sulphonylurea had a major hypoglycaemic episode. Interpretation: Liraglutide once a day provided significantly greater improvements in glycaemic control than did exenatide twice a day, and was generally better tolerated. The results suggest that liraglutide might be a treatment option for type 2 diabetes, especially when weight loss and risk of hypoglycaemia are major considerations. Funding: Novo Nordisk A/S.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-47
Number of pages9
JournalThe Lancet
Issue number9683
StatePublished - 10 Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Liraglutide once a day versus exenatide twice a day for type 2 diabetes: a 26-week randomised, parallel-group, multinational, open-label trial (LEAD-6)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this