New Diabetes Medication Significantly Reduces Body Weight and Improves Metabolic Function

Xavier Pi-Sunyer, MD, Professor of Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York Obesity Research Center, New York, and colleagues have concluded from their study that 3.0 mg of liraglutide taken in conjunction with diet and exercise does lower the body weight and improves metabolic control. This study was recently published online in the New England Journal of Medicine. Post-study co-authors in this study wish to inspire physicians to have more confidence in using this medication.

Liraglutide is an injectable glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1) agonist. The combination of diet and exercise with liraglutide was associated with improvement in some cardiometabolic risk factors and a great amount of weight loss (5.6 kg) as compared with those on placebo at 56 weeks. At least 5% of body weight was lost in two-thirds of patients on liraglutide as compared to 5% of body weight lost in just over a quarter of those on placebos.

Elias S. Siraj, MD., Professor of Medicine and Director of the Diabetes Program at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, mentioned in Medscape Medical News that the publication of this data with new supplemental information boost the confidence among physicians to use this drug for obesity. He further added that the usage of liraglutide in those who are overweight (BMI 27–30 kg/m2) and people who are obese (BMI greater than 30 kg/m2) or those who have comorbidities including diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia are supported by the recent data that is being published by Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer and colleagues.

However, Dr. Elias S. Siraj and another doctor uninvolved in the study, Dr. Williams, pointed out that liraglutide is not a cure for diabetes. Furthermore, liraglutide costs $1068 for a month’s supply and it is not widely reimbursed. Novo Nordisk, the company that develops this drug has provided a cost assistance program for patients to gain access to this drug through a variety of plans.


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