Diabetes drug liraglutide aids in weight loss: Study

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A new study has suggested that overweight and obese type 2 diabetes patients can shed a few kilos through daily injections of drug liraglutide alongside diet and exercise regimes.

The study published in JAMA, suggests that those taking the drug alongside a diet and exercise regime could shed greater weight as compared to those who just stick to diet and exercise.

Weight loss is often recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes as it enables them to improve glycemic control and other cardiometabolic risk factors and disorders. However, weight loss is challenging for type 2 diabetes patients as they often show reduced response to weight-management pharmacotherapies compared with individuals without diabetes.

According to the new study involving over 800 participants, liraglutide, which has been already approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, can aid in weight loss.

Melanie J. Davies, M.D., of the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, and colleagues randomly assigned 846 overweight or obese study participants (age 18 years or older) with type 2 diabetes to once-daily injections of liraglutide (3.0 mg) (423 participants), liraglutide (1.8 mg) (211 participants), or placebo (212 participants) for 56 weeks.

A 12-week “off-drug” follow-up period was included to assess treatment-cessation effects (total study length, 68 weeks). The study was conducted at 126 sites in 9 countries between June 2011 and January 2013. Participants were also instructed to follow a reduced-calorie diet and increase physical activity for weight management.

Average weight loss was 6.0 percent (14.1 lbs.) with liraglutide (3.0-mg dose), 4.7 percent (11 lbs.) with liraglutide (1.8-mg dose), and 2.0 percent (4.8 lbs.) with placebo. Weight loss of 5 percent or greater occurred in 54.3 percent with liraglutide (3.0 mg) and 40.4 percent with liraglutide (1.8 mg) vs 21.4 percent with placebo. Weight loss greater than 10 percent occurred in 25.2 percent with liraglutide (3.0 mg) and 15.9 percent with liraglutide (1.8 mg) vs 6.7 percent with placebo. More gastrointestinal disorders were reported with liraglutide (3.0 mg) vs liraglutide (1.8 mg) and placebo. Pancreatitis was not reported.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study specifically designed to investigate the efficacy of liraglutide for weight management in patients with type 2 diabetes and also the first study to investigate liraglutide at the higher 3.0-mg dose in a population with type 2 diabetes,” the authors write.

“In the present trial, liraglutide (3.0 mg), as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, was effective and generally well tolerated and was significantly better than placebo on all 3 co-primary weight-related end points.”

“Further studies are needed to evaluate longer-term efficacy and safety.”