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GLP-1 in the Spotlight: Key Takeaways from the 2024 ADA Conference

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) meeting served as a melting pot of groundbreaking research, innovative technologies, and thought-provoking discussions surrounding the global epidemic of diabetes. As a privileged attendee at this prestigious event, I had the opportunity to delve into the latest advancements, trends, and challenges shaping the landscape of diabetes care and management. In this article, we will delve into the hot topics that ignited conversations, sparked debates, and paved the way for a future of enhanced understanding and treatment of this complex disease. 

The ADA conference kicked off with GLP-1 taking center stage, sparking extensive discussions on a wide range of combination GLP-1 products. The event also featured in-depth talks on new indications, as well as the cardiovascular and renal benefits of GLP-1, including a dedicated session on managing side effects.

During the conference, Professor Linong Ji MD from Peking University People’s Hospital shared the results of the GLORY-1 study. The trial showcased Mazdutide, a dual GLP-1/GCG agonist, which not only promoted significant weight loss in individuals with obesity or overweight but also demonstrated reductions in liver fat content and various cardiometabolic risk factors.

Another highlight was a symposium presenting findings from the groundbreaking FLOW trial, the first of its kind to focus on kidney outcomes with a GLP-1 receptor agonist. The results revealed that semaglutide significantly lowered the risk of major kidney disease events and cardiovascular outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Additionally, new data presented at the ADA conference shed light on the potential benefits of combined therapy with SGLT2 inhibitors.

During a session at the ADA conference, Dr. Atul Malothra presented findings from the Surmount OSA trial, focusing on the potential of tirzepatide in treating obesity-related Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Dr. Malhotra discussed new phase 3 clinical trial data indicating that tirzepatide significantly reduced the apnea-hypopnea index among participants in the trial.

Another session delved into the preoperative management of GLP-1, exploring the appropriate timeframe for discontinuing GLP-1 prior to surgery. Speakers also addressed common side effects and risks associated with GLP-1 receptor agonists, emphasizing the importance of individualizing treatment to find the best-tolerated dose of GLP-1, particularly when managing gastrointestinal side effects. Regarding the risk of thyroid cancer, it was clarified that the black box warning and contraindication for the use of GLP-1 apply only to individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or MEN 2, without the need for additional testing such as TSH or thyroid ultrasound. Pancreatitis, on the other hand, was identified as an absolute contraindication for the use of GLP-1, with no recommendation for initial testing or monitoring of pancreatic enzymes like lipase.

Lastly, a session on optimizing outcomes of GLP-1/GIP receptor agonists underscored how dietitians and diabetes educators can play a crucial role in enhancing outcomes for patients receiving GLP-1-based therapies.

Dr. Chalisa has no conflicts of interest to report.

Collage by Diana Connolly

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