Study shows weight loss in overweight or obese participants taking liraglutide, in combination with a reduced calorie diet and physical activity.
Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue. Like GLP-1, it works by controlling blood sugar in three ways. It slows down food leaving the stomach, prevents the liver from producing too much sugar, and increases insulin production by the pancreas when sugar levels are elevated.
Liraglutide is currently approved for use in treating type 2 diabetes (up to 1.8mg/day). A clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine has reported on the safety and effectiveness of liraglutide (up to 3.0mg/day) for weight management in overweight or obese participants.
The trial included participants who were at least 18 years old, with a BMI of 30 or higher. In addition to liraglutide injections daily, participants were also counselled on lifestyle modification, including diet and exercise. After the 56-week follow up period, the study reported an average weight loss of 8% of body weight in patients treated with liraglutide plus lifestyle modification counselling, compared with 2.6% body weight loss in patients who received placebo injections plus lifestyle modification counselling. More than 60% of patients in the liraglutide group lost at least 5% of their body weight, while more than 14% of participants lost more than 15% of their body weight. The study also reported a greater reduction in average waist circumference and BMI measurements for participants treated with liraglutide.
Taking liraglutide also reduced participants’ glycated hemoglobin, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin levels, in addition to reducing plasma glucose levels. Incidence of insulin resistance and prediabetes was lower in the liraglutide treatment group, while the prevalence of type 2 diabetes increased in the placebo group during the study period. Participants in the liraglutide group also reported improvements in quality of life, including physical function. The most common side effects reported were gastrointestinal in nature, however, were not long-lasting.
Pi-Sunyer, X, Astrup, A, Fujioka, K, Greenway, F, Halpern, A, Krempf, M, Lau, D.C.W, le Roux, C.W, Ortiz, R.V, Jensen, C.B, Wilding, J.P.H for the SCALE Obesity and Prediabetes NN8022-1839 Study Group “A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 mg of Liraglutide in Weight Management” N Engl J Med 2015; 373:11-22 July 2, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1411892
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Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD