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Benefits of using CGM with GLP-1 drugs for diabetes treatment

The content in this article should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your healthcare provider regarding your individual health needs.
GLP-1 medications are one of the hottest topics in diabetes and have shown to be very effective.1 In this article we will take a look at the GLP-1 class of medication, and highlight a few of the big reasons why Dexcom CGM can be complementary for people with diabetes (PWD) who are starting, currently taking, or adjusting dosage of a GLP-1.

What are GLP-1 Medications?

Chances are you have watched a commercial, read, or heard about GLP-1 medications. They are a class of medications for the management of type 2 diabetes (brand names like Ozempic, Rybelsus, Trulicity, Mounjaro) or weight loss (brand names like Wegovy or Zepbound). These medications involve a hormone called glucagon- like peptide 1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is a hormone naturally made in your body in response to (after) a meal, but in type 2 diabetes, its effect is reduced or no longer present.
While GLP-1s have been prescribed by healthcare professionals for almost two decades, recently they’ve reclaimed the spotlight as use and coverage have increased. They’ve also garnered increased media popularity, taking center stage as a key tool in helping manage diabetes, promote weight loss, and, with certain GLP-1s, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.2
How do GLP-1 drugs work?
GLP-1s work in multiple ways in the body including slowing down the digestion of food and release of glucose into the bloodstream, increasing insulin secretion in response to a meal, and regulating appetite control signals in the brain. Together, these effects have shown to help improve glucose management.

What are the benefits of using GLP-1 drugs with a CGM?

Taking medications without an effective and quick way to measure glucose changes can be like throwing a dart in the dark and hoping to hit the bullseye. The good news, Dexcom CGM is accessible to more people with diabetes now than ever before, and can be an ideal complement to starting, changing, or adjusting GLP-1 medications. Here are 3 benefits for people with diabetes using GLP-1 drugs with a CGM:
1. CGM as a behavior change tool
  • CGM helps make the invisible, visible. By allowing the person to see, in real-time, the impact of factors like food, medication, and physical acitivity, positive lifestyle changes can be made right away. In a survey of people with Diabetes, 90% reported living a healthier lifestyle with use of CGM, 87% confirmed changing their nutritional choices based on CGM data, and 47% said they were more likely to walk or exercise in response to high glucose.3
  • When a GLP-1 is paried with CGM, results may be even more promising. A study of data from insurance claims showed that in people with T2D and hemoglobin A1C (A1C)>8%, using Dexcom CGM along with a GLP-1 resulted in larger A1C reductions compared to using a GLP-1 alone.4* With a better understanding of how different factors affect an individual's glucose, power is given back to the person to help make more informed decisions day-to-day.
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2. CGM can provide a lens to see how a GLP-1 is working in the body and help personalize the treatment plan
  • One of the challenges to taking medications in T2D is having confidence that the medication is helpful.5 When there is a tangible sense the medication is promoting positive and immediate outcomes, there is a greater likelihood to continue taking it.5 Without CGM, 3-4 months may go by before the next A1C is checked or multiple fingerstick glucose checks may be needed to understand how a GLP-1 is working. With CGM, a person can simply look at their display device to see how their glucose responded to their most recent meal. Quite literally, connecting the dots between where their glucose started, how it increased, where it ended, and how that compares to the time before starting the GLP-1. Check out these videos from an interview we did with Clinical Endocrinologist, Dr. Timothy Gilbert.**

  • CGM provides valuable insight when starting, changing, or adjusting GLP-1 dosing
  • Medications can work differently from person to person, especially when they are taking different medications to help manage diabetes. Similar to quickly showing a person with diabetes how a GLP-1 is working in their body (affecting glucose responses), CGM data provides the doctor with valuable insights into how the medication is working as they start, change, or increase the GLP-1 dose. Combining CGM and GLP-1 can help drive earlier, and more informed decisions based on personalized information. Reviewing CGM data together with your doctor can also create thoughtful conversations during your visits leading to shared decision-making.
3. Dexcom G7 is an important partner to GLP-1s
  • As a tool that can warn in advance of dangerous hypos
  • Because GLP-1 medications are activated in the body when glucose is increased (after eating a meal), they are not associated with an increased risk of hypoglycemia (low glucose). However, hypoglycemia is a potential side effect of GLP-1s if taken with insulin or sulfonylurea due to their glucose- lowering potential. Dexcom G7 provides both real-time and predictive alerts to help prevent hypoglycemia when starting or when increasing the dose of a GLP-1. In addition to the customizable low alert option, the predictive Urgent Low Soon alert is there to give you a 20- minute advanced notice of a severe low. Experience greater peace of mind knowing Dexcom G7 is there to let you know when it’s time to act.
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  • As a resource to help navigate and work through side effects
  • Side effects are commonly reported by people taking GLP-1s and may vary from one person to another. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor about expectations for side effects and how to manage them. To help ease some of the side effects from GLP-1s, doctors typically start at a lower dose and increase gradually to help the body adjust to the medicine as it’s increased. As mentioned earlier, seeing the effect of a medication and sensing its benefits can help promote its continued use, or provide the person information that helps them decide if the side effects are manageable and worth the changes they may be seeing in their glucose trends. GLP-1s may not be the best option for everyone, and that’s okay.
There is a lot of excitement around the effectiveness of GLP-1 medications in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. When paired with a Dexcom CGM, users get a real-time look at their glucose levels and can understand how their lifestyle choices and the medication work in tandem and potentially improve their glycemic results more than with a GLP-1 alone.4
Ask your doctor to learn more about GLP-1 medications and about getting started on a Dexcom CGM. We can also help you get started with a free benefits check for your Dexcom CGM. Click the button below to send us some basic information.
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*Data comes from a 2018-2023 US Data Base of payor claims as a retrospective, observational analysis. CGM (N=101) + GLP-1 vs GLP-1 only (N=5840). GLP-1 only group (control) showed a 0.99% A1C reduction.
**Dr. Timothy Gilbert is a paid spokesperson for Dexcom
1 Sorli C, Harashima SI, Tsoukas GM, et al. Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide monotherapy versus placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 1): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multinational, multicentre phase 3a trial. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2017;5(4):251-260. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(17)30013-X. 2 Tsapas A, Avgerinos I, Karagiannis T, et al. Comparative Effectiveness of Glucose-Lowering Drugs for Type 2 Diabetes: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 2020;173(4):278-286. doi:10.7326/M20-0864. 3 Ehrhardt N, Al Zaghal E. Continuous Glucose Monitoring As a Behavior Modification Tool. Clin Diabetes. 2020;38(2):126-131. doi:10.2337/ cd19-0037. 4 Dexcom, Data on File, 2023. 5 Polonsky WH, Henry RR. Poor medication adherence in type 2 diabetes: recognizing the scope of the problem and its key contributors. Patient Prefer Adherence. 2016;10:1299-1307. Published 2016 Jul 22. doi:10.2147/PPA.S106821
BRIEF SAFETY STATEMENT: Failure to use the Dexcom Continuous Glucose Monitoring System and its components according to the instructions for use provided with your device and available at information and to properly consider all indications, contraindications, warnings, precautions, and cautions in those instructions for use may result in you missing a severe hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) or hyperglycemia (high blood glucose) occurrence and/or making a treatment decision that may result in injury. If your glucose alerts and readings from the Dexcom CGM do not match symptoms, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions. Seek medical advice and attention when appropriate, including for any medical emergency.
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