As well as decreasing insulin resistance by inducing weight loss in overweight people with type 2 diabetes, the weight-loss drug Xenical may prompt a helpful increase in a hormone that triggers insulin production after a meal, Turkish researchers report.
Dr. Taner Damci and colleagues at Istanbul University note in the medical journal Diabetes Care that Xenical - otherwise known as orlistat - decreases fat absorption from the intestines. This may lead to secretion of hormones that stimulate insulin secretion, such as one called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).
To investigate, the researchers conducted a crossover study of 29 subjects with type 2 diabetes. After an overnight fast, they were given orlistat or a placebo followed by a standard meal with a 38 percent fat content.
Compared to placebo, orlistat caused a significantly enhanced increase in GLP-1 and blunted the usual after-meal rise in blood glucose levels and triglycerides.
Thus, Damci told Reuters Health, “apart from induction of weight loss, orlistat may help blood glucose control in obese type 2 diabetic patients through enhancement of insulin secretion response to meals by increasing gut hormone GLP-1.”
The researchers conclude that further trials are needed to confirm these findings and to determine whether any such benefits can be maintained over an extended period of time.
SOURCE: Diabetes Care, May 2004.
Revision date: June 22, 2011
Last revised: by Sebastian Scheller, MD, ScD