Introduction: Recent advances in anti-diabetic medications and glucose monitoring have led to a paradigm shift in diabetes care. Newer anti-diabetic medications such as DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs), and SGLT2 inhibitors have enabled optimal glycemic control to be achieved without increasing the risk of hypoglycemia and weight gain. Treatment with GLP-1RAs and SGLT2 inhibitors has been demonstrated to improve cardiorenal outcomes, positioning these agents as the mainstay of treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). The development of these newer agents has also prompted a paradigm shift in the concept of T2DM, highlighting the importance of beta cell dysfunction in the pathophysiology of T2DM. Areas covered: Recent advances in pharmacotherapy for diabetes are summarized with a focus on the role of incretin-based drugs and SGLT2 inhibitors. The importance of a paradigm shift from a glucose-centric to a beta cell-centric concept of T2DM is also discussed, given from an Asian perspective. Expert opinion: Management of T2DM including lifestyle modification as well as pharmacotherapy should be focused on reducing beta cell workload, to preserve functional beta cell mass. A paradigm shift from a glucose-centric to a beta cell-centric concept of T2DM enhances the implementation of person-centered diabetes care.
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