The history of antidiabetic medications has a great deal of importance due to the so-called ‘epidemic of the century’, i.e. diabetes mellitus . The industrialised civilisation has a negative impact on diet and lifestyle, and as a consequence, the incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus has become a serious public health issue.
The classic symptoms of diabetes were already described in the ancient Egypt, and at that time the first attempts to treat the symptoms took place. At that moment mixtures of bird pond, elderberry, fibres from plants, milk, beer, flowers and green dates were used. Remarkably, at the beginning of the 20th century there were still no therapeutic options sufficiently successful to treat diabetes. The discovery of insulin was undoubtedly a breakthrough in the history of diabetes, saving thousands of patients and also improving their life quality, particularly of those with type 1 diabetes. With the increasing wealth and the associated growing food supply in the industrialised countries, the incidence of type 2 diabetes augmented. Consequently, the development of drugs targeting the underlying causes of type 2 diabetes, such as insulin resistance and beta-cell failure, became a topic of interest for pharmacological intervention.