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News Archive 2017

International clinical trial shows drug reduces risk of diabetes

Monday, 27 February, 2017 


The drug, liraglutide 3.0 mg may reduce diabetes risk by 80% in individuals with obesity and prediabetes according to the findings of an international study published today in The Lancet.

This 3-year SCALE obesity and prediabetes trial followed 2254 adults with prediabetes at 191 research sites in 27 countries worldwide. The aim was to evaluate whether liraglutide 3.0 mg can safely delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in participants with prediabetes.

Liraglutide is 97% similar to the naturally occurring human GLP-1 1. The drug promotes weight loss by interacting with the areas of the brain that control appetite and energy intake.

The participants were randomly allocated to either liraglutide 3.0 mg or a placebo delivered by injection under the skin once daily for 160 weeks. They were also placed on a reduced calorie diet and a regime of increased physical activity.

The study showed that 3 years of continuous treatment with once-daily liraglutide 3.0 mg, in combination with diet and increased physical activity, reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 80% and results in greater sustained weight loss compared to the placebo.

Professor Carel le Roux from the UCD Diabetes Complications Research Centre, UCD School of Medicine and Fellow, UCD Conway Institute is an obesity specialist and the corresponding author on this article.

“In Ireland today, 1 in 10 of the population have prediabetes (fasting blood glucose 5.5 – 6.9mmol/L) 2. Prediabetes and obesity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes and its complications3. The associated health care cost to the economy is significant. These individuals are at risk of a range of conditions that can affect their overall health including type 2 diabetes and its complications as well as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

In this study, we wanted to see if this drug in combination with a reduced-calorie diet and lifestyle intervention could delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in a high-risk population with obesity and prediabetes. On the basis of our findings, liraglutide 3.0 mg can provide us with a new therapeutic approach for patients with obesity and prediabetes to substantially reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its related complications.”

All of the patients involved in the study in Ireland were recruited through the HRB Clinical Research Facility at Galway University Hospital. Dr Francis Finucane, the lead investigator for the study at this facility said, “the reduction in risk of progression to diabetes from prediabetes is clearly desirable. The challenge now is to make these drugs available in an efficient and cost effective way to those patients who will benefit most from them.”

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