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November 10th, 2009
Obese Patients Lose Weight Faster with Diabetes Drug

A new way to help people lose weight has been found with the diabetes medication liraglutide. This prescription drug has been found to help obese people without diabetes lose weight.

Authors of the study have also revealed surprising information that shows that high doses of liraglutide can be more successful at helping shed pounds than the leading weight-loss drug orlistat.

A study that included 565 obese people that did not suffer from diabetes and ranged in age from 18 to 65 were randomly selected in 19 sites in Europe. Each received either one of four injection doses of liraglutide (either 1.2 mg, 1.8 mg, 2.4 mg, or 3 mg), a placebo taken once a day, or 120 mg of orlistat taken three times in one day.

The patients were also told to increase their level of physical activity and follow a calorie-restricted diet allowing for 500 less calories than was needed every day.

The weight loss among patients taking liraglutide was around 4.8 kg (10.5 pounds) to 7.2kg (15.8 pounds) while orlistat patients lost an average of 4.1 kg (9 pounds), and those taking the placebo lost around 2.8 kg (6 pounds). A loss of weight of more than 5% happened in 76% of those taking 3mg of liraglutide, 44% taking orlistat and 30% with the placebo.

Blood pressure was also reduced in those taking liraglutide. The group that took 1.8-3mg had a reduction in the occurrence of prediabetes (a poor level of blood glucose not bad enough to be considered diabetes)

Side effects included nausea and vomiting for patients on liraglutide compared to the placebo group.

“The results of this study indicate the potential benefit of liraglutide, in conjunction with an energy-deficit diet, in the treatment of obesity and associated risk factors,” says Dr. Arne Astrup, of the department of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen.

Studies to follow-up on periods longer than 20 weeks will now need to be produced to investigate any long term risks or advantages.

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