Recently, in a study published in the international journal Brain, scientists from University College London and other institutions found that drugs for type 2 diabetes may reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. In the article, the researchers tested a drug called exenatide, which can be used as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease in upcoming clinical trials. The results support the reorientation of diabetes drugs to treat Parkinson’s disease.

In the study, the researchers analyzed the medical records of 100288 patients with type 2 diabetes from The Health Improvement Network database. The researchers said that patients with type 2 diabetes often faced an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease compared to cohorts who did not have type 2 diabetes. But common therapeutic drugs, GLP-1 agonists and DPP4 inhibitors, do not seem to reverse the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers found that patients who took both GLP-1 agonists and DPP4 inhibitors may seem less likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in the next few years (with an average follow-up of 3.3 years) than those who took other diabetes drugs, and those who took GLP-1 agonists were 60 percent less likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. This study further confirms the results of the use of exenatide in patients with Parkinson’s disease in phase 3 clinical trials, and researchers will recruit 200 patients with Parkinson’s disease in the UK for further trials, previous studies have shown that patients with Parkinson’s disease who received weekly injections of exenazeptide for a year may perform better on exercise tests than those who received placebo.

“Our findings enhance the link between type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.” researcher Foltynie said. Although researchers now know that most people with diabetes do not develop Parkinson’s disease. In addition, the researchers added evidence that the drug exenatide may help prevent or treat Parkinson’s disease by affecting the progression of the disease rather than just reducing the patient’s symptoms. Of course, this may require more clinical trials by scientists at a later stage.

Finally, the researchers say that when giving drugs to patients with type 2 diabetes, clinicians may need to consider other risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, but they need to conduct more studies at a later stage to confirm its clinical value.


  1. Brauer, R., Wei, L., Ma, T., Athauda, D., Girges, C., Vijiaratnam, N., … & Foltynie, T. (2020). Diabetes medications and risk of Parkinson’s disease: a cohort study of patients with diabetes.Brain143(10), 3067-3076.
  2. Cvetković, R. S., & Plosker, G. L. (2007). Exenatide.Drugs67(6), 935-954.