It's called liraglutin, and it may be the best drug in the fight against type 2 diabetes.
Scientists have made an amazing discovery that high doses of this drug could blast the weight away in patients who are struggling from diabetes and obesity.
A new study has found liraglutide helps patients battle diabetes and shed large amounts of weight with higher doses, although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration continues to stand in its way, according to HealthDay News.
For the study, liraglutide — a drug produced by Novo Norodisk — was placed in a 56-week trial that included both the low dosage of 1.8 mg and high dosage of 3 mg. The results were staggering: people who took 3 mg lost an average of 6 percent of their body weight, or about 14 pounds. The lower dosage also performed well, but not as well as the high dose. The lower dosage is sold under the brand name Victoza and the higher dosage is sold under Saxenda.
The report quotes Dr. Joel Zonszein of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, who said that it’s the first study to look into how effective liraglutide is for type 2 diabetes sufferers when it comes to weight management for the higher dosage. He criticized the FDA for putting in place what he called arbitrary restrictions against the higher doses, saying that the new study indicates just how beneficial it can be in helping obese patients shed vital pounds, giving them a new tool in the fight against their disease.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved 846 diabetes patients who were overweight or obese, with each being randomly assigned to the lower and higher doses, as well as a control group that took a placebo. At the lower dosage, the results were good, with patients losing an average of 5 percent of their body weight, which came out to about 11 pounds, compared to 2 percent or 5 pounds with the placebo. Taking this drug was combined with diet and exercise at the direction of their physicians.
But it wasn’t quite as good as those who took the 3 mg dose, who shed an extra 3 pounds on average. In fact, they lost at least 5 percent of their body weight 54 percent of the time, compared to 40 percent of the time for those at the lower dosage at 21 percent for the placebo.
And those with the 1.8 mg dosage saw a 10 percent reduction in body weight 16 percent of the time, better than the 7 percent for placebo but not as good as the 25 percent for the higher dosage.
But the FDA hasn’t yet approved liraglutide to treat diabetes at higher dosages, taking away a tool physicians have, as the meds are extremely expensive at $800 to $1,000 per month. As a result, insurance companies won’t cover the cost of this drug, and diabetics therefore won’t take them because they can’t afford them out of pocket.
Liraglutide is a long-acting glucago-like peptide-1 receptor agonist that stimulates insulin secretion. It is an injectable drug that was developed specifically to treat type 2 diabetes sufferers. It is marketed as Saxenda as a treatment for obesita. The European Medicine Agency approved it in July 2009, and the FDA followed suit in January 2010.