In a study of type 2 diabetic patients, treatment with an investigational drug called liraglutide administered by injection once daily, improved control of blood sugar levels without increasing weight, European investigators report.
Commenting on his team’s findings, Dr. Sten Madsbad from Hvidovre Hospital in Denmark told Reuters Health that insulin and other anti-diabetes drugs “also improve glycemic control, but increase weight.
The present trial is the first to demonstrate long term improvement in glycemic control with a concomitant weight loss in type 2 diabetic patients.”
Madsbad and his colleagues tested various doses of liraglutide in 193 people with type 2 diabetes, comparing the experimental treatment with either an inactive placebo or a standard drug, glimepiride.
Long-term glucose control improved in all but the lowest liraglutide dosage group, the team reports in the medical journal Diabetes Care. The improvements were seen after one week and maintained throughout the 12-week trial.
Also, there were “fewer hypoglycemic events in the liraglutide arm,” Madsbad added, meaning that the drug was less likely than the standard treatment to drive down blood sugar too far, to dangerously low levels.
Moreover, patients taking liraglutide did not gain weight, and in fact some lost weight. Body weight increased “slightly” among those taking glimepiride.
Thus the researchers conclude that the agent “shows considerable promise as a once-daily therapy in type 2 diabetes.”
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, June 2004.
Revision date: June 21, 2011
Last revised: by Jorge P. Ribeiro, MD