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To assess efficacy and safety of lixisenatide monotherapy in type 2 diabetes.Randomized, double-blind, 12-week study of 361 patients not on glucose-lowering therapy (HbA1c 7–10%) allocated to one of four once-daily subcutaneous dose increase regimens: lixisenatide 2-step (10 μg for 1 week, 15 μg for 1 week, and then 20 μg; n = 120), lixisenatide 1-step (10 μg for 2 weeks and then 20 μg; n = 119), placebo 2-step (n = 61), or placebo 1-step (n = 61) (placebo groups were combined for analyses). Primary end point was HbA1c change from baseline to week 12.Once-daily lixisenatide significantly improved HbA1c (mean baseline 8.0%) in both groups (least squares mean change vs. placebo: −0.54% for 2-step, −0.66% for 1-step; P < 0.0001). Significantly more lixisenatide patients achieved HbA1c <7.0% (52.2% 2-step, 46.5% 1-step) and ≤6.5% (31.9% 2-step, 25.4% 1-step) versus placebo (26.8% and 12.5%, respectively; P < 0.01). Lixisenatide led to marked significant improvements of 2-h postprandial glucose levels and blood glucose excursions measured during a standardized breakfast test. A significant decrease in fasting plasma glucose was observed in both lixisenatide groups versus placebo. Mean decreases in body weight (∼2 kg) were observed in all groups. The most common adverse events were gastrointestinal—nausea was the most frequent (lixisenatide 23% overall, placebo 4.1%). Symptomatic hypoglycemia occurred in 1.7% of lixisenatide and 1.6% of placebo patients, with no severe episodes. Safety/tolerability was similar for the two dose regimens.Once-daily lixisenatide monotherapy significantly improved glycemic control with a pronounced postprandial effect (75% reduction in glucose excursion) and was safe and well tolerated in type 2 diabetes.