Diabetes drug Liraglutide could help lower risk factors for heart disease

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Washington: Researchers have said that treatment with the diabetes drug liraglutide, in combination with diet and exercise, led to a significant decline in weight and improved a number of cardiovascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

The results, from more than 3,700 overweight and obese nondiabetic adults, were presented Saturday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

Study's principal investigator, Carel Le Roux, MD, PhD, Diabetes Complications Research Centre, University College Dublin, said if these improvements continue over time, they may result in a lower risk of heart disease.

The drug is undergoing testing at a 3 milligram (mg) dose for long-term weight management as part of the SCALE (Satiety and Clinical Adiposity-Liraglutide Evidence in Nondiabetic and Diabetic Subjects) Obesity and Prediabetes trial. Liraglutide currently is marketed as Victoza in 1.2 mg and 1.8 mg injectable doses for adults with Type 2 diabetes to help control blood glucose (sugar) when used along with diet and exercise.

The drug does not have approval for weight loss, according to its manufacturer, Denmark-headquartered Novo Nordisk, which sponsored the study.

The study included 3,731 nondiabetic obese adults and overweight adults who had at least one other risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, such as prediabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

As part of the study's weight loss efforts, all subjects exercised and ate 500 fewer calories per day than usual. In addition, they were randomly assigned, in a 2-to-1 ratio, to a once-daily injection with either 3 mg of liraglutide (2,487 subjects) or placebo (1,244 subjects) for 56 weeks

On average, individuals treated with liraglutide 3 mg lost 5.4 percent more of their body weight, achieving a total of 8 percent, and nearly 1.7 more inches (4.2 centimeters) around their waist than did those who received placebo, the investigators reported.

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