A common diabetes drug can help perfectly healthy people lose some pounds and stay slim.
Scientists reported that 63 percent of the people involved in their study who took liraglutide lost weight during a 56-week trail period, while only 27 percent of the control group shed the same amount of pounds.
Participants on liraglutide lost at least five percent of their body mass, which is quite significant when you are battling against obesity. Lead researcher Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer of the Columbia University Medical Center in NYC said that the diabetes drug was “very effective” in promoting weight loss and keeping the extra pounds at bay. Dr. Pi-Sunyer added that the drug was as good as any weight-loss pill on the market.
A study on the drug was published yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, while the drug’s maker funded it.
Liraglutide was first rolled out in the U.S. five years ago as a diabetes cure. But since the drug is also able to reduce hunger, cravings and help patients feel full longer, the FDA approved it as a medication in obesity last year.
The new study was conducted on 3,731 participants with a BMI that either qualified them for obesity or overweight if they also had high cholesterol or blood pressure problems. Participants were either given 3 mg of liraglutide (about 2,500 participants) or a placebo (about 1,200) every day for 56 weeks.
The average weight loss at the end of the period was 18.5 pounds for the diabetes drug group and 6.4 pounds for the placebo group. Liraglutide also helped 33 percent of participants to trim down their body weight by 10 percent. Only 11 percent of people taking the placebo had similar results.
On the other hand there were some side-effects. The diabetes drug sometimes caused nausea or diarrhea, while it boosted the risk of gallbladder complications. Its cost may also be a problem – $1,000 per month. Plus, it can only be administered through an injection.
Additionally, most insurers refuse to cover the drug as an obesity treatment. What’s more, you’ll have to take the drug all your life to maintain a healthy weight.
Most study participants were still obese at the end of the study, but a five percent weight loss can make a huge difference in cardiovascular risk factors although it may not be visible on the outside, researchers argued.
Researchers also said that not everyone would benefit from the drug in losing weight. The most encouraging results were observed in obese diabetes patients and those with high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
“You can’t make a blanket recommendation that everyone should be on it,”
one of the research team members concluded.
Image Source: My Fit Family
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