A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 mg of Liraglutide in Weight Management

Obesity is a serious problem in the United States.  Obesity increases a person’s risk for a multitude of health problems, including diabetes mellitus type 2.  However, it is sometimes extremely difficult for individuals to lose weight through lifestyle changes alone, especially as they get older.  In this study, the use of 3.0 mg of liraglutide daily for weight loss was studied to determine whether or not it is efficient and safe.

The study was a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial that lasted 56 weeks.  3731 patients were involved.  No participant had type 2 diabetes and every person had a BMI of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more and dyslipidemia or hypertension.  Each participant received either a daily dose of 3.0 mg liraglutide or a placebo.  At the end of the trial the primary end points were change in body weight and percentage of patients that lost at least 5% or 10% of their body weight. The results of the study showed that the group assigned liraglutide lost a mean of 8.4 ± 7.3 kg while the group assigned a placebo lost only 2.8 ± 6.5 kg.  Additionally, participants in the liraglutide group 63.2% lost at least 5% of their body weight and 33.1% lost at least 10%.  In the placebo group only 27.1% lost at least 5% and 10.6% lost at least 10%.  All of the differences between the groups were statistically significant.

I found this study interesting because I was unaware of any prescription medications currently being tested to help weight loss.  I believe if a medication can be determined to help weight loss without serious side effects then it should be used to help the country’s obesity problem.  However, a medication cannot be the sole technique used.  People on the medication should also restrict their diet and exercise regularly.  Even if the medication is approved for weight loss, it should only be temporary.  Patients need to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle so that they can eventually succeed without it and not take the medication permanently.

Pi-Sunyer X, Astrup A, Fujioka K, et al. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 Mg of Liraglutide in Weight Management. N Engl J Med. 2015; 373(1): 11-22.


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