Woman Checking Waistline

    Diabetes drug could be used to promote weight loss

    26 September 2017

    There is an effective medical alternative to surgery that physicians can offer to patients with obesity, according to new research by the Mayo Clinic in the US.

    Liraglutide injection, a prescription medication used to treat type-2 diabetes and obesity is associated with marked slowing of stomach emptying and is an effective weight loss therapy, as detailed in a report published in The Lancet.

    During the double-blind, placebo-controlled study, researchers randomised 40 otherwise healthy adults with a body mass index greater or equal to than 30kg/m2. Researchers administered to equal numbers of patients either placebo or Liraglutide by 0.6mg per day each week for five weeks and continued until week 16. After 16 weeks of treatment, researchers measured body weight, stomach emptying of solids, gastric volumes, satiation (the maximum tolerated volume of a liquid nutrient drink), and satiety. Stomach emptying was also measured at five weeks.

    Stomach emptying is the process by which the stomach empties its contents into the small intestine for further digestion and nutrient absorption.

    The study’s senior author, Michael Camilleri, says measurement of stomach emptying after one to two months of treatment with Liraglutide treatment is likely to be a useful predictor of weight loss: ‘In clinical practice, measurement of stomach emptying at five weeks may serve as a biomarker to determine which patients should continue on the treatment and which patients might be better candidates for other weight loss treatments.’

    ‘Our paper shows that Liraglutide, administered for three months at the approved dose of three milligrams per day was associated with an average weight loss of 12 lbs. compared to an average 6.6 lbs.-weight loss for patients receiving a placebo.’

    ‘Liraglutide appears to be very effective in inducing weight loss over three months of treatment. We also found that Liraglutide dramatically slowed stomach emptying and the degree of stomach emptying delay in study participants was significantly associated with the degree of weight loss.’