Diabetes Drug Helps Weight Loss

A diabetes drug taken through injections may help obese women lose weight and keep it off, concludes a new study at the Columbia University Medical Center.

Researchers randomly assigned 3,731 male and female participants with a body mass index (BMI) of at least 30--or at least 27 if the participant also had high cholesterol or high blood pressure--to take either three milligrams of the drug liraglutide daily or receive a placebo shot. Approximately 2,500 patients received liraglutide and about 1,200 received the placebo. The participants were also given counseling on lifestyle changes that aid weight loss. The company Novo Nordisk, the maker of liraglutide, funded the research.

The findings, published in the _New England Journal of Medicine, were _that after 56 weeks, the participants on liraglutide lost an average of 18.5 pounds, compared to 6.4 pounds for the people on the placebo.  Additionally, 33 percent of the liraglutide group lost at least 10 percent of their body weight, while only 11 percent of the placebo group lost as much.

The drug did cause some common side effects, including nausea and diarrhea. Participants taking liraglutide are also at increased risk of gallbladder problems.

While the medication is very expensive – about $1,000 for a month of treatment – the drug shows promise in treating obesity (particularly for those with diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol) when given in tandem with healthy lifestyle training.

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Sourced from: Live Science, Drug Helps Obese People Drop Weight and Keep It Off