This site is intended for non healthcare professionals. For the professional site, please click here

11/20/2009 - Articles

Weight loss seen with diabetes drug

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD


Weight loss is hard to achieve by dieting and exercise and harder still to maintain. Yet the health benefits of weight loss are considerable – lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of diabetes and heart disease, for instance. Therefore, there is increasing interest in medication that can give a little boost to people’s own weight loss efforts. One such drug is orlistat, which blocks the absorption of some of the fat in the diet. A study now compares the impact of a new drug for diabetes, liraglutide, on weight loss with that achieved by orlistat.

The researchers, from the University of Copenhagen and elsewhere, assigned a group of 564 individuals, none of whom had diabetes, to one of four doses of liraglutide, or to the standard dose of orlistat, or to placebo, for 20 weeks. At the end of this time, average weight loss on liraglutide ranged between 4.8 kg to 7.2 kg depending on dose. On orlistat, weight loss was 4.1 kg and on placebo it was 2.8 kg. The participants did their bit towards weight loss – they were on a calorie-controlled diet and increased their physical activity levels. Therefore liraglutide, even at low doses, was better at achieving weight loss than orlistat. It also reduced blood pressure at all doses.

Liraglutide closely resembles the hormone glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) which is produced by the gastrointestinal tract and has a number of effects. It stimulates insulin release, which is why it has been introduced as a treatment for diabetes, and it also delays emptying of the stomach. This latter effect means liraglutide has potential as a weight loss agent – you feel fuller for longer. It therefore acts differently from orlistat. The current study suggests that liraglutide could, indeed, aid weight loss. The only drawback is that as a hormone, liraglutide has to be injected.This may be acceptable to people with diabetes who are likely to be injecting insulin. Whether people who are overweight or obese will accept a daily injection remains to be seen.


Astrup A et al Effects of liraglutide in the treatment of obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study Lancet November 7 2009; 374:1606-1614

Created on: 11/20/2009
Reviewed on: 11/20/2009

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Anonymous wrote 7 weeks 3 days ago

Try wearing wearable weights like “Body Togs” anatomically designed weighted sleeves worn on your arms & legs under your clothes. Put them on in the morning and you literally forget you have them on while increasing your calorie burn, muscle tone & bone density! Weighted vests work great too!

Add your comment

  • Allowed HTML tags: <p><b><em> <strong> <cite> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options