Injecting a particular weight loss drug in combination with diet and exercise may reduce risk of diabetes by 80% in individuals with obesity and prediabetes, a study said.
The results of the international clinical trial showed that liraglutide promoted weight loss by interacting with the areas of the brain that control appetite and energy intake.
Published in the journal The Lancet, the results showed that three years of continuous treatment with once-daily liraglutide 3.0 mg, in combination with diet and increased physical activity, reduced the risk of developing the Type 2 diabetes.
In fact, in 60% of those patients with borderline diabetes the condition was reversed, and patients returned to healthy blood sugar levels, the study showed.
“Liraglutide promotes weight loss by activating brain areas that control appetite and eating, so that people feel fuller sooner after meals and their food intake is reduced,” said Carel le Roux, Professor at Imperial College London.
“Although liraglutide’s role in weight loss is well known, this is the first time it has been shown to essentially reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes, albeit with the help of diet and exercise,” le Roux added.
Of the patients who did go on to develop diabetes, those who were given liraglutide, took nearly three times longer to develop the disease.
In addition, liraglutide also helped patients lose 7% weight compared to only two per cent in the placebo group, the researchers said.
“Liraglutide 3.0 mg can provide us with a new therapeutic approach for patients with obesity and prediabetes,” explained John Wilding, Professor at the University of Liverpool.
For this obesity and prediabetes trial, the team followed 2,254 adults with prediabetes at 191 research sites in 27 countries worldwide.
The participants were randomly allocated either liraglutide 3.0 mg or a placebo delivered by injection under the skin once daily for 160 weeks.
They were also placed on a reduced calorie diet and advised to increase their physical activity.