Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes May Reduce Depressive Symptoms in Some Adults

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists—a common treatment for type 2 diabetes—may also help to reduce depressive symptoms in adults, suggests a meta-analysis published in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

People with diabetes are known to be at greater risk of depression than those without the disease, wrote co-author Lixin Guo, M.D., of the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and colleagues. Though GLP-1 is a hormone produced in the gut that is released in response to food, GLP receptors are also present in the brain. Animal studies have suggested that activation of these receptors may produce antidepressant effects.

To examine the relationship between GLP-1 receptor agonists and depressive symptoms, Guo and colleagues searched electronic literature databases for studies that measured depressive symptoms in adults before and after administration of GLP-1 receptor agonists or a control treatment. They searched Cochrane Library, PubMed, ClinicalTrials.gov, the World Health Organization International Clinical Trials Registry, among others.

Guo and colleagues narrowed in on six studies for the meta-analysis, including 2,071 participants (average age: 58 years). All but one of these studies included patients with type 2 diabetes (the other included patients with moderate Parkinson’s disease) who were given either GLP-1 receptor agonists (exenatide or liraglutide) or the control treatment (placebo, insulin, or glimepiride). Each study lasted between 24 and 60 weeks.

“The data from the overall meta-analysis showed that the change from baseline in depression rating scale scores decreased significantly when patients received GLP 1 [receptor agonists] compared to control treatments,” the authors reported. They found similar results when limiting their analysis to only the five studies that included patients with diabetes.

“Although our results suggest an antidepressant effect of GLP-1 [receptor agonists], the exact mechanism underlying this effect remains unclear,” they concluded. “Further [randomized, controlled trials] need to be performed with large samples … to verify the antidepressant activity of GLP-1 [receptor agonists], and should take the follow-up time, primary diagnosis of participants, depression rating scales, the agents and dosage of GLP-1RAs, and control conditions into consideration.”

(Image: iStock/LaylaBird)

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