Conference Coverage

Type 2 diabetes drugs and their use are top of EASD agenda


Who’s “right” – diabetologists or cardiologists?

Another session likely to draw a crowd of clinicians is a debate about which guidelines are “right”: the ESC’s, which advise first-line use of an SGLT2 inhibitor or glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist for patients with established CVD or those at high risk, or the more conservative EASD/American Diabetes Association’s, which still advise metformin as first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes.

Rydén, who is professor and senior consultant in endocrinology at the Karolinska University Hospital and Karolinska Institute, Sweden, commented, “The difference is in how aggressive to be in treatment and when adding drugs...I think we have slightly different ways of seeing things and how we implement them.”

Del Prato noted, “We need to clear the fog about what are the current indications for people with diabetes. There is definitely a point of contact between cardiology and diabetology. ... We like to split [the disciplines] up, but discussion is a good way to get people thinking.”

“It will be very important to address the importance of glucose control but yet also leverage a new form of treatment that will have properties above and beyond glucose-lowering capacity.”

Other big trial results: CGM after MI, semaglutide for obesity

Other major new trial results to be presented in dedicated sessions include LIBERATES (Improving Glucose Control in Patients With Diabetes Following Myocardial Infarction: The Role of a Novel Glycaemic Monitoring), and STEP program (Semaglutide for the Treatment of Obesity).

LIBERATES will compare glycemic control with the Abbott FreeStyle Libre 14-day sensor and standard fingerstick glucose monitoring versus blinded continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) for 90 days after a heart attack. It was a late addition to the meeting program, Rydén noted.

The semaglutide study is looking at weight loss associated with a higher dose of the GLP-1 agonist than is currently approved for diabetes, similar to the way in which liraglutide was developed as an obesity agent after first gaining approval for type 2 diabetes.

Regarding semaglutide, Rydén said, “I’ve heard this one is quite efficient. It will be interesting.”

Personalized medicine, COVID-19, intermittent fasting, and much more

Both Rydén and Del Prato also said they were looking forward to a joint EASD/American Diabetes Association symposium on a newly launched precision medicine initiative. The session will include talks on subclassifications of diabetes, genetics, and precision diabetes medicine in practice, as well as lessons on the latter from Greenland.

Rydén noted, “I think it’s interesting for everyone, from the primary healthcare physician to the basic scientist. We’re trying to understand why we have this huge diabetic panorama and how do we identify the subject who should have a specific treatment, or perhaps [will] develop a specific complication of diabetes.”

This field, he predicted, “will grow enormously in the next 10 years.”

Del Prato pointed out, “Diabetes is more heterogeneous than we tend to believe for both types. Better guidance for individualization of treatments could be a great opportunity. ... Ways to better genotype and phenotype the population are becoming less expensive and easier to access. It will be a different way to treat diabetes in the future.”

Other noteworthy conference sessions will address COVID-19 and diabetes, intermittent fasting, new technologies, diabetes and cancer, the role of liver surveillance in patients with diabetes, medicines that can cause diabetes, exercise in type 1 diabetes, and the burden of hypoglycemia.

There will also be opportunities for networking, Del Prato said. “You’ll be able to walk around with your own avatar. You’ll be assisted by [artificial intelligence] to build your own program based on what you’ve been following. You can participate in discussion rooms. You can walk in and out.”

“We hope people will appreciate the science and the spirit of the congress – mingling, interacting, chatting to start discussion and maybe collaboration. It will be lots of fun. I would like to invite all Medscape readers to come and register.

Rydén has reported being a consultant, speaker, and/or advisory board member for Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, and AstraZeneca. Del Prato has reported being a speaker, advisory board member, and/or receiving research support from AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Eli Lilly, MSD, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Servier, and Takeda.

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