Diabetes Drug Promotes Weight Loss
Liraglutide Not Yet Approved in U.S.
WebMD News Archive
Weight Loss ‘Shots’?
Researchers say longer studies will be needed to determine the drug’s
long-term risk-benefit profile as a weight loss treatment.
Novo Nordisk Chief Science Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen tells WebMD the
company will decide whether to go ahead with larger studies once the FDA
decides whether or not to approve liraglutide for use as a diabetes treatment
in the U.S.
That decision is expected by the end of the year.
“The study published today in Lancet is encouraging, but it is
important to stress that this is only phase II data,” Thomsen says.
Weight loss researcher George A. Bray, MD, tells WebMD that it remains to be
seen if people will embrace a weight loss drug that they have to inject, even
if it proves to be more effective than approved oral treatments.
Patients who take Byetta inject the drug twice a day; liraglutide is given
once a day.
“My guess is that there will be much longer acting versions of both these
drugs in the future that will require much less frequent injections,” Bray
says. “But it still isn’t clear if people who aren’t used to injections will
take shots to lose weight.”
Novo Nordisk is now testing a drug similar to liraglutide that is injected
once a week instead of once a day.
Bray would also like to see studies to determine if combining Byetta or
liraglutide with approved weight loss drugs leads to bigger weight loss than
has been reported with any of the drugs alone.
“It is clear that (Byetta and liraglutide) promote weight loss in diabetes
patients,” he says. “But their safety and usefulness for weight loss in people
without diabetes remains to be proven.”