A new study has discovered that diabetes drug liraglutide may help obese people lose weight provided that they do not suffer from diabetes. The paper was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers from Harvard University have found out that the injectable diabetes drug liraglutide has significantly helped people lose weight. Using this drug obese people lost an average of 18 pounds in approximately 56 weeks. Liraglutide, marketed by Novo Nordisk, is usually used as a diabetic drug, but last year it was approved as a drug for weight loss by the FDA (the US Food and Drug Administration).
The research was conducted at 191 sites from 27 countries from North and South America, Australia, Europe, Asia and Africa. The 3,731 participants involved in the research had a body mass index of at least 30. In case the participants had high blood pressure or cholesterol the body mass index was at least of 27. The participants were both males and females. The participants either received a placebo shot or a dose of liraglutide of 3.0 milligrams. The dose was administrated daily. Besides this the participants were also counseled on ways to improve their lifestyle in order to lose weight.
2.500 of the participants were given liraglutide, whereas 1.200 received placebo injections. After a period of 56 weeks the participants who received a daily liraglutide dose lost approximately 18.5 pounds, whereas the participants in the placebo group lost only 6.4 pounds. This means that 33% of the participants on liraglutide lost at least 10% of their body weight compared to those on placebo of which only 11% lost that much. Overall 65% of the study participants who received liraglutide lost at least 5% of their body mass over a period of 56 weeks.
The participants experienced some side effects among which the most common were diarrhea and nausea. They also showed an increased risk of problems concerning their gallbladder, but might have been caused by the fact that they lost too much weight in a short period of time.
Elias Siraj, the director of the Diabetes Program at Temple University Hospital, was not involved in the study, but he remarked that every newly-discovered remedy for obesity is good news. Even though many of the people involved in the study remained obese the results are still beneficial for their cardiovascular risk factors and metabolic parameters.
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