The type 2 diabetes drug Victoza (liraglutide) could be offered as a separate weight loss treatment to patients with obesity, according to the results of a new study.
Weight loss has long been a known beneficial side effect of Victoza, but now bosses at manufacturer Novo Nordisk believe the medication has the potential to become an effective weight loss therapy.
With obesity strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes the blockbuster drug could therefore help prevent cases of type 2 diabetes, in addition to treating those already diagnosed with the disease.
The results come from a late-stage clinical trial involving 846 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes. Patients were either given a daily injection of Victoza (3mg doses or the currently approved maximum dosage of 1.8 mg) or a placebo and put on a strict diet and exercise program
After a period of 56 weeks, weight loss was significantly greater among those taking the higher 3 mg dose of the drug. This group of patients lost an average of 5.9% body weight, compared to 4.6% for those taking the 1.8 mg dose and only 2% for those who received a placebo.
The researchers added that half of patients taking 3 mg Victoza lost at least 5% of body weight, while over a fifth (22%) cut their weight by more than 10%.
“It stacks up very favourably against other medications that are out there or likely to be approved,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, an obesity specialist and one of the trial’s investigators.
The findings from the Scale study were presented on Saturday 14 June at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Francisco.
Victoza is one of Novo Nordisk’s best-selling drug, with global sales of the diabetes treatment amounting to $542 million (£319m) in just the first quarter of 2014.

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