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Diabetes drug aids weight loss


Tests of a new injectable treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes have found that it can improve glucose control compared with a conventional oral treatment.

Patients given liraglutide injections also recorded increases in weight loss and decreases in blood pressure compared with glimepiride.

The randomised-controlled phase III trial looked at 746 patients with early type 2 diabetes. They were divided into three groups – one given once-daily liraglutide at 1.2mg, the second given 1.8mg liraglutide, and the third group treated with 8mg of glimepiride.

After a year, the change in the proportion of glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) in each patient was recorded. The glimepiride group had an average reduction in HbA1c of 0.51%, while in the 1.2mg liraglutide group the reduction was 0·84% and in the 1.8mg liraglutide group it was 1·14%.

The researchers, led by Dr Alan Garber at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, found that participants in the liraglutide groups lost around 2kg in weight while those in the glimepiride group gained an average of 1kg. Systolic blood pressure also fell further in the two liraglutide groups than in the glimepiride group.

The authors, writing in The Lancet, conclude: “On the basis of these results, we conclude that liraglutide is safe and effective as initial pharmacological therapy for type 2 diabetes mellitus and has advantages over other drugs used in monotherapy.”

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The Lancet

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