Victoza improves insulin secretion in long-standing, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, says study

Jack Woodfield
Fri, 26 Feb 2016
Victoza improves insulin secretion in long-standing, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes, says study
Adults with long-standing, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes who were treated with Victoza (liraglutide) for six months experienced improved insulin secretion, according to new research.

Victoza is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that helps stimulate insulin production in people with type 2 diabetes. The benefits of Victoza treatment are known to include improved blood glucose control and weight loss.

In a new study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre evaluated beta cell function, glucagon secretion and fat distribution when liraglutide was added to patients' treatment regimen.

71 adults with type 2 diabetes who required high-dose insulin therapy randomly received 1.8mg liraglutide daily or placebo for six months. The median duration of diabetes within the cohort was 17 years.

The study team measured their changes in insulin and glucagon, and used MRI scans to estimate subcutaneous and visceral fat in the abdomen and ectopic fat in the liver and pancreas. The patients' background medication remained stable during the study period.

Patients assigned to liraglutide experienced increased insulin secretion over six months compared to the placebo group; and significantly improved HbA1c levels. However, there were no significant differences in insulin secretion between the groups.

Study author Anna Vanderheiden, MD, explained: "We found that adding liraglutide to high-dose insulin therapy in [patients with obesity] with longstanding and uncontrolled type 2 diabetes improves glycemia primarily through improvement in insulin secretion and not through suppression of glucagon secretion.

"Furthermore, we did not observe significant changes in insulin sensitivity in this cohort despite significant reductions in [subcutaneous adipose tissue] and liver fat content."

This study period was six months, but in a separate study earlier this month, University of Miami researchers claimed that long-term Victoza use could lead to increased blood glucose levels. However, the study was conducted on mice and human trials are required to confirm these findings among people with type 2 diabetes.
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