New medical research on a diabetes drug suggests that Liraglutide also helps in fighting obesity, shedding body weight and keeping it off.
As an overall, the study found that 63 percent of participants lost a minimum of 5 percent body weight over the trial period. Only 27 percent of participants in the placebo group had the same percentage of body weight loss.
Liraglutide was FDA approved for the U.S. market in 2010 as a treatment for diabetes. Generally, Liraglutide functions by mimicking the peptide-1 hormone that is naturally released in the intestines. The hormone is responsible for reducing the hunger sensation, increasing satiety and reducing the rate at which the content of the stomach is released into the small intestine.
In December 2014 the FDA also approved Liraglutide to treat obesity.
A new trial, funded by Liraglutide manufacturer, Novo Nordisk researched once more its effects on treating obesity worldwide. The trial spanned 191 research sites over 27 states in Australia, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and North America.
A total of 3,731 participants were included in the trial, chosen based on their BMI (above 27) and other conditions such high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. Both men and women included in the study received a daily dose of 3.0 milligram of Liraglutide in injectable form. Approximately 1,200 participants were injected with a placebo.
The trial lasted 56 weeks, during which time participants also benefited from counseling on mending their lifestyle choices in order to achieve sustainable weight loss.
At the end of the trial, it was observed that participants who were injected with Liraglutide lost 18.5 pounds on average. 33 percent of this group lost at least 10 percent of body weight, and 63 percent lost 5 percent body weight or above.
In the placebo group, the average weight loss was limited at 6.4 pounds. 11 percent of the placebo group lost 10 percent of their body weight, with 27 percent losing 5 percent of body weight or above.
Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, first author of the study, and professor of medicine at the Medical Center of Columbia University, New York, commented:
“It is a very effective drug. It seems to be as good as any of the others on the market, so it adds another possibility for doctors to treat patients who are having trouble either losing weight or maintaining weight loss once they get the weight off”.
Liraglutide administration presented some side effects such as nausea and diarrhea, as well as an increased risk levels for gallbladder problems and a slight increase in the risk of cancer.
Nonetheless, if the initial administered dose is lower and increases gradually, then the gastrointestinal side effects are significantly reduced.
Another drawback currently is the prohibitive cost of the Liraglutide treatment, approximately 1,000 dollars per month. The majority of insurers to not cover this drug for obesity treatment.
The results of the trial are featuring in the newest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
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