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August 25, 2015
Results from a recent placebo-controlled trial suggest liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue approved to treat type 2 diabetes, can help shed body weight and improve glycemic control among people who were very overweight or obese—but not diabetic. The trial, consisting of 3731 participants, also found that participants who had taken liraglutide had a significantly lower incidence of prediabetes after 56 weeks and developed type 2 diabetes at a significantly lower rate compared with participants taking placebo (Pi-Sunyer X et al. N Engl J Med. 2015;373:11-22).
Participants had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30 or a minimum of 27 if they also had dyslipidemia or hypertension. Patients were randomly assigned to receive a daily injection of liraglutide at a dose incrementally increased to 3.0 mg or placebo. Both groups received monthly weight loss counseling involving diet and exercise. More than 60% had prediabetes at baseline.
Anita Slomski, MA
After 56 weeks, patients in the liraglutide group had lost a mean of 8.4 kg of body weight compared with 2.8 kg in the placebo group. More patients in the liraglutide group (63.2%) lost at least 5% of their body weight vs the placebo group (27.1%), while 33.1% lost more than 10% of their body weight (vs 10.6% in the placebo group), and 14.4% lost more than 15% of their body weight (vs 3.5% in the placebo group). The liraglutide group also had a greater reduction in mean waist circumference, BMI, glycated hemoglobin, fasting glucose and insulin levels, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Adverse effects in the liraglutide group were mostly mild or moderate and gastrointestinal-related. Serious adverse events occurred in 6.2% of the patients in the liraglutide group and in 5.0% of the patients in the placebo group. Unlike previous studies assessing effects of liraglutide at lower doses, participants in this trial lost more weight as long as they continued taking the drug.