Diabetes drug might also aid in weight loss, study suggests
A new weight management drug is currently being considered for approval in Europe and North America. (AFP Photo / William West)
Published Monday, June 16, 2014 1:11PM EDT
Adults who are overweight, obese or have type 2 diabetes might be able to benefit from a Danish-made drug, which, in its third phase of clinical trials, proved successful in weight management.
The drug is Victoza, and its chemical name is liraglutide. When given in 3mg doses over a 56-week period, combined with proper diet and exercise, trial participants experienced a 5.9 per cent mean loss of baseline body weight.
Smaller doses of the drug led to a slightly reduced mean weight loss of 4.6 per cent. The control group's mean weight loss was just two per cent.
All three groups followed a low-calorie diet and exercise regimen for the duration of the study.
The drug works mainly by suppressing appetite, according to Dr. Maria Collazo-Clavel, an associate professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic and medical editor of diabetes content on Mayo's health information website.
She says on the Mayo Clinic's website that the drug delays the passage of food from the stomach to the small intestine, increasing the amount of time in which the patient is satiated.
If approved for use as a weight-loss medication, the drug could serve an important patient group.
"Weight loss and weight management are generally much harder for people who are overweight or obese and who also have type 2 diabetes," said Dr. Robert Kushner, Clinical Director of the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity in Chicago.
"Given the challenges faced by this patient population, the 5.9 per cent weight loss … in this study is impressive.”
Another positive result of the study was the reduction in blood glucose of 1.3 per cent in the group that received liraglutide in the 3mg doses.
Some side effects, mostly gastro-intestinal complications such as nausea, were reported.
Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is currently awaiting response from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and European Medicines Association (EMA) for approval as a weight management drug for overweight and obese adults.
Liraglutide is currently sold in the United States in smaller, injectable doses to control type 2 diabetes.
"There is a real need for effective treatment options for adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes that can demonstrate clinically meaningful weight loss and improve serious weight-related comorbidities," says Dr. Kushner.