Liraglutide rival drug for weight loss, Alli
Novo Nordisk Study
The diabetes drug, liraglutide, helps people without diabetes lose weight.
That is the finding of a study published this week in the print issue of the British medical journal The Lancet.
Researchers from the department of human nutrition at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark reported that the diabetes drug was more effective at helping people lose weight than the weight-loss drug orlistat (Xenical, Alli).
In the study 564 people without diabetes ages 18 to 65 were included at 19 sites in Europe.
At random, participants were selected to receive one of four doses of liraglutide (at 1.2 up to 3 milligrams) or a placebo every day. Other participants at random received 120 milligrams of orlistat three times a day.
All of the patients had their calorie consumption reduced by about 500 calories while they increased their physical activity.
After 20-weeks, the liraglutide participants had a weight loss averaging from 10.5 pounds for the low dose to 15.8 pounds.
Participants on orlistat lost nine pounds compared to a six pound loss for those on a placebo.
Also the patients taking liraglutide had a reduction in blood pressure and an impressive reduction in the prevalence of prediabetes, not yet bad enough to qualify as diabetes, reports the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Side effects noted among the liraglutide group included nausea and vomiting, but were not severe enough to discontinue treatment.
The study was funded by Novo Nordisk A/S, Bagsvaerd, Denmark.
Liraglutide is marketed under the brand name of Victoza and has been developed by Novo Nordisk for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. In the same class as Byetta, the drug reduces meal-related hyperglycaemia by increasing insulin secretion.
It was approved in Europe in July 2009 but U.S. FDA approval is still pending. Last spring, and FDA advisory panel expressed concerns that drug may cause thyroid tumors.
Weight loss drugs promise to be blockbusters bringing huge profits to drug makers. Orlistat is marketed under the trade name Xenical by Roche or over-the-counter as Alli by GlaxoSmithKline.
Its primary function is to prevent the absorption of fats by the body thereby reducing calorie intake, but side effects include loose stools and fecal incontinence.
In August, the FDA investigated whether Orlistat can cause liver damage.
IB Partner, Jamie Sheller of Philadelphia, reports the FDA received 32 reports of serious liver injury from Xenical and Alli between 1999 and 2008.
While diet and exercise encourage weight loss, many Americans prefer pharmaceuticals. Americans ballooning weight problem now affects about 25 percent, up from 18.3 percent a decade ago and contributes to the rising cost of health care.
Obesity, known to contribute to diabetes, could cost Americans $147 billion a year. #