Liraglutide Helps with Weight Loss and Delays Development of Type 2 Diabetes in Obese and Overweight Patients


Obese and overweight patients who were treated with the drug liraglutide experienced significant weight loss and were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than patients who received placebo.

Obese and overweight patients who were treated with the drug liraglutide experienced significant weight loss and were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes than patients who received placebo.

Results from the Satiety and Clinical Adiposity-Liraglutide Evidence in Nondiabetic and Diabetic Subjects (SCALE) Obesity and Prediabetes trial presented at ICE/ENDO 2014, the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and The Endocrine Society, showed that long-term treatment with once-daily injections of liraglutide 3 mg was associated with weight loss in overweight and obese patients that in turn likely slowed or prevented the development of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Liraglutide 3 mg is an investigational product and is not approved by the FDA for weight management. Liraglutide 1.2 mg and 1.8 mg) is approved for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes to improve glycemic control.

The multicenter, two-arm study included 3,731 obese adults and overweight adults who had at least one other risk factor for heart disease (ie, prediabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol). The first arm of the study included 1,446 patients who did not have prediabetes, 959 of whom received liraglutide 3 mg and 487 received placebo. The second arm included 2,285 patients with prediabetes, 1,528 of whom were treated with liraglutide 3 mg and 757 received placebo.

According to a news release from The Endocrine Society, “As part of their weight loss efforts, all subjects exercised and ate 500 fewer calories than usual. In addition, they were randomly assigned, in a 2-to-1 ratio, to a once-daily injection with either 3 mg of liraglutide or placebo for 56 weeks... Subjects who received liraglutide started at a dose of 0.6 mg, which gradually was increased to 3 mg, to minimize side effects, such as nausea.”

Patients treated with liraglutide 3 mg “lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight (18.7 pounds), compared with just 2.6 percent (6.2 pounds) for subjects receiving a placebo.”

In patients who had prediabetes, blood sugar levels “reverted to normal in nearly 70 percent of those receiving liraglutide versus 32 percent of people in the placebo group.”

Treatment with liraglutide “also lowered the chance of prediabetes developing in adults who started the study with normal blood sugar levels, with 7 percent becoming prediabetic compared with nearly 20 percent of those receiving placebo.”

Additionally, investigators reported that “type 2 diabetes developed in three times as many people receiving placebo as those who took liraglutide (14 subjects versus four, respectively).”

Lead investigator F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, MPH, who is an endocrinologist at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City, said “An 8 percent weight loss is as good as with any weight loss drug on the market.”

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