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Last updated on April 23, 2014 at 20:06 EDT

Diabetes Drug Could Help Weight Loss

October 23, 2009

A drug designed to combat diabetes may also be helpful in reducing weight when combined with proper diet and exercise, researchers have reported.

In clinical trials, liraglutide was more effective at fighting obesity than orlisat, an anti-obesity drug marketed as Alli or Xenical.

Researchers studied a group of 564 volunteers ““ 135 men and 429 women.

Participants were divided into three groups: one group received daily treatments of liraglutide in four different dosages, another group received orlistat and the third group was given a placebo.

Participants in each group were ordered to take part in a new routine that involved daily exercise and a 500 calorie-per-day reduction.

After five months, researchers found that patients taking liraglutide had lost between 10.5 and 15.8 pounds on average, compared to 9 pounds in the orlistat group and 6.1 pounds in the placebo group.

“The reason why we think this drug is so intriguing is that it mimics a gut hormone called GLP-1 which is released in the small intestine after eating,” said Professor Arne Astrup, head of the department of Human Nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, whose study is published in the Lancet.

“It tells the body to produce more insulin and the brain to stop eating. It is a naturally occurring satiety hormone. The problem is that it is eliminated from the blood stream within minutes. The company [Novo Nordisk] has added a molecule to make it more resistant to elimination, so it lasts for a full day.”

BBC Health reported that Astrup did receive funding from Novo Nordisk, maker of the liraglutide drug, but “is regarded as an authoritative voice on obesity.”

“Nausea and vomiting occurred more often in individuals on liraglutide than in those on placebo, but adverse events were mainly transient and rarely led to discontinuation of treatment,” researchers noted.

“Overall, 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,” researchers concluded.

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