Diabetes medication may aid weight loss, study says


Daily shots of a drug developed for Type 2 diabetes helped overweight patients lose an average of more than 12 pounds in about a year, a study published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests.

The drug, liraglutide (marketed as Saxenda), helped overweight and obese patients lose twice as much weight as those on a placebo after 56 weeks. Lead study author Xavier Pi-Sunyer, director of obesity research at Columbia University, said liraglutide works by mimicking the effects of a hormone that makes the body feel full, the Washington Post reported.

Researchers conducted a double-blind trial involving 3,731 patients who did not have Type 2 diabetes and who had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30, or a BMI of at least 27 if they had treated or untreated dyslipidemia, or hypertension. Participants were randomly assigned to receive either a once-daily injection of liraglutide in a 3 mg dose or a placebo.

The mean age of the patients was 45, and their mean weight was 233 pounds.

Liraglutide is used, along with diet and exercise, to control blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 diabetes. Study participants all received counseling on lifestyle modifications and were asked to reduce their intake of food by a small amount and increase their exercise by 150 minutes each week, the Washington Post reported.

The most common side effects were mild or moderate nausea and diarrhea.

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