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Emerging uses of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists following ileal resection: literature review and case examples


Following ileal resection, the combination of severe bile acid (BA) malabsorption, rapid small bowel transit and unrestricted upper gastrointestinal (GI) secretion results in severe diarrhoea that can prove refractory to pharmacological therapies. While established therapies, including BA sequestrants and antidiarrhoeal drugs seek to ameliorate symptoms, they do not target the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms in this patient group. Their use can also be limited by both intolerance and adverse effects. The novel use of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists (RAs) in these patients may allow restoration of the physiological negative feedback mechanisms lost in ileal resection and reduce diarrhoea by prolonging small bowel transit time, limiting upper GI secretions and perhaps by inhibiting hepatic BA synthesis. While recent evidence supports the use of GLP-1 RAs as a safe and effective therapy for bile acid diarrhoea (BAD), it remains uncertain whether those with severe BAD and subsequent short bowel syndrome secondary to extensive ileal resection will benefit. Here, we present three cases of severe diarrhoea secondary to extensive ileal resection in which the use of the GLP-1 RA, liraglutide, was well tolerated and resulted in an objective improvement in diarrhoeal symptoms. We further provide a narrative review of the emerging evidence base supporting the use of GLP therapies in this challenging condition.


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