Researchers hail breakthrough in helping obese type 2 diabetics lose weight

by Barbara Hewitt on September 15, 2015

A study showing how a newly-approved obesity treatment can help people with type 2 diabetes lose weight represents a breakthrough, according to a leading diabetes research centre.

An international study involving nine countries found that among overweight and obese people with type 2 diabetes, a daily injection of liraglutide at a dose of 3 mg, in addition to diet and exercise, resulted in greater weight loss over 56 weeks compared with a placebo.


According to Melanie Davies, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the Leicester Research Centre, University of Leicester, who led the research, the results are significant.

Liraglutide is a medication already approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, usually administered once daily at doses of 1.2 mg and 1.8 mg, but this trial has shown that with a dose of 3 mg liraglutide can help further weight loss in participants who were overweight or obese and had type 2 diabetes.

This evidence has supported the approval of the 3 mg dose as a weight loss treatment in Europe and Davies, an internationally renowned expert in type 2 diabetes who is also co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said moderate weight loss can improve glycaemic control and other cardiometabolic risk factors.

She pointed out that 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 3 mg dose in a population with type 2 diabetes.

“Weight loss is especially challenging for individuals with type 2 diabetes, who often experience a reduced response to weight-management pharmacotherapies compared with individuals without diabetes. The treatment options are extremely limited in Europe and so this additional option treatment to clinicians and patients is very welcome,” she explained.

“The findings from this study are significant because they represent a breakthrough in weight loss treatment, paving the way to improved glycaemic control,” she added.

The study randomly assigned 846 overweight or obese study participants age 18 years or older with type 2 diabetes to once daily injections of liraglutide at different doses or a placebo or 56 weeks. A 12 week no drug follow-up period was included to assess treatment cessation effects.

Participants were also instructed to follow a reduced calorie diet and increase physical activity for weight management. Average weight loss was 6% was recorded with a 3 mg dose of liraglutide, 4.7% with a 1.8 mg dose and 2% with the placebo. Some participants recorded significantly greater weight loss with the drug.

The study concluded that a 3 mg dose of liraglutide, as an adjunct to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity, was effective and generally well tolerated and was significantly better than placebo. Further studies will be needed to evaluate longer term efficacy and safety.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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