Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest insulin producer, has revealed that overweight and obese diabetes patients given high doses of its drug liraglutide (trade name Victoza) reduced their weight by 6% in a clinical trial.
Liraglutide belongs to a family of GLP-1-based medicines, which are currently used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes by stimulating insulin release in response to rising blood glucose levels . They also have the added benefit of inducing weight loss .
To capitalise on the dual benefits, Novo Nordisk wants to turn the injectable diabetes drug into a lucrative treatment for obesity.
Earlier this week, the Danish pharmaceutical company announced headline results from a 56-week Phase III clinical trial investigating the ability of liraglutide to induce and maintain weight loss in overweight or obese people with type 2 diabetes .
Patients treated with 3mg and 1.8mg once-daily daily doses of liraglutide achieved weight loss of 6% and 5%, respectively, compared to a 2% weight loss for people treated with placebo.
Liraglutide is currently approved at doses of either 1.2mg or 1.8mg. Novo, however, believes a higher 3mg dosage would be more beneficial for weight loss and weight management .
In terms of glycemic control, 69% and 67% of patients treated with liraglutide 3mg and 1.8mg reduced their HbA1c reading from 8 at baseline to the recommended target of 7%, respectively. The figure for the placebo group was 27%.
Mads Krogsgaard Thomse, executive vice president and chief science officer of Novo Nordisk, said it was pleased with the outcome of the trial, as it “shows that it is possible to achieve both clinically significant weight loss and excellent glucose control with a single treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes” .
“Weight management is often a greater challenge for this patient population and there is a need for new and effective treatment options”, he added.
Novo Nordisk said it expects to complete the two remaining Phase III trials by mid-2013.

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