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Drug improves weight loss in type 2 diabetes patients

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The drug liraglutide appears to aid weight loss in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to an international trial led by UK researchers.

Compared with placebo, a daily injection of liraglutide with a modified insulin pen device – plus diet and exercise – led to greater weight loss among overweight and obese patients with diabetes.

“Liraglutide (3mg), as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, was effective and generally well tolerated”

Study authors

Weight loss is especially challenging for individuals with type 2 diabetes, who often experience a reduced response to weight-management therapies than other patients.

The researchers randomised 846 overweight or obese diabetes patients to once-daily injections of liraglutide 3mg, liraglutide 1.8mg, or placebo for 56 weeks.

The drug is currently approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes at a daily dose of either 1.2mg or 1.8mg.

The SCALE trial was conducted at 126 sites in nine countries between June 2011 and January 2013.

Study participants were also instructed to follow a reduced-calorie diet and increase physical activity for weight management.

Average weight loss was 6% (14.1 lbs) with liraglutide 3mg, 4.7% (11 lbs) with liraglutide 1.8mg, and 2% (4.8 lbs) with placebo.

In addition, weight loss of 5% or greater occurred in 54.3% with liraglutide 3mg and 40.4% with liraglutide 1.8mg versus 21.4% with placebo.

Meanwhile, weight loss greater than 10% occurred in 25.2% with liraglutide 3mg and 15.9% with liraglutide (1.8 mg) versus 6.7% with placebo.

More gastrointestinal disorders were reported with liraglutide 3mg compared with the lower dose of liraglutide and placebo. Pancreatitis was not reported.

“To our knowledge, this is the first study specifically designed to investigate the efficacy of liraglutide for weight management in patients with type 2 diabetes and also the first study to investigate liraglutide at the higher 3mg dose in a population with type 2 diabetes,” the authors said in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“In the present trial, liraglutide (3mg), as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, was effective and generally well tolerated and was significantly better than placebo on all three co-primary weight-related end points, added the researchers, who were led by Dr Melanie Davies from Leicester University.

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