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Promise From a New Weight-Loss Drug



The injectable drug Saxenda may be a helpful tool in the battle against excess weight and obesity, a new study suggests.

People who injected Saxenda (liraglutide) every day for a year lost an average of 18.5 pounds, compared with an average of 6 pounds for those taking a placebo, researchers found.

Saxenda “can lower weight, improve cardiovascular risk factors and improve quality of life,” said lead researcher Dr. F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

“It can also reduce the progression to type 2 diabetes from prediabetes,” he said.

In a lower-dose version called Victoza, liraglutide is approved for diabetes treatment.

For the study, funded by the maker of Saxenda, Novo Nordisk, researchers recruited more than 3,700 overweight or obese people without diabetes . Participants were assigned to daily injections of Saxenda or placebo for 56 weeks. Both groups also received lifestyle counseling. More than half had prediabetes.

Sixty-three percent of patients taking Saxenda lost at least 5 percent of their initial body weight, and one-third lost more than 10 percent of body weight, the researchers found. Among those receiving placebo, 27 percent lost 5 percent of their body weight, and one in 10 lost more than 10 percent of their body weight.

Losing 5 percent of body weight — 14 pounds for someone at 280 — can have a significant positive effect on the risk for diabetes and heart disease, Pi-Sunyer said.

In the United States, more than two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, according to a recent study in JAMA Internal Medicine .

“This medication adds to the options physicians will have in helping overweight and obese patients lose weight and keep it off,” Pi-Sunyer said.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine (DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1411892).

Other drugs approved for weight loss in the United States include Orlistat (Xenical), lorcaserin (Belviq), phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia) and naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave). But many users complain of side effects.

The most common side effects with Saxenda were mild or moderate nausea and diarrhea. Serious side effects occurred in 6.2 percent of patients taking Saxenda and in 5 percent of those receiving the placebo, the researchers report.

However, the drug is expensive, said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

Although covered by most of the insurance plans and Medicare, “it has a high co-pay of $20 to $100, as it is not generic,” Zonszein said. “The price in the U.S. is between $1,000 and $1,800 for a three-month supply.”

Dr. Elias Siraj, director of the diabetes program at Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital in Philadelphia, said it’s important to remember that obesity is a lifestyle condition.

“We should not lose sight of the need to adjust lifestyle — diet and exercise,” he said. “Medications, too, can be helpful.”

The unanswered question about Saxenda is whether people can maintain their weight loss over time, especially when the medication is discontinued, said Siraj, co-author of an editorial accompanying the study.

Because the drug is injectable and costly, Siraj doesn’t think it’s for everybody. “But for some patients I think it is going to be a significant tool, but we have to wait for longer studies,” he said.

“We are dealing with an obesity epidemic and it hasn’t been easy to tackle obesity,” he said. “We need a lot of tools. This medication, hopefully, will be one of the tools.”

Note of JPPRes The Blog &

Liraglutide has been shown to cause thyroid cancer in rats and mice. The risk increased with high doses and prolonged use. It is not known if liraglutide may cause thyroid cancer in humans. If thyroid cancer happens, it may be deadly if not found and treated early.

Do not use liraglutide if you or a family member has had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) (a certain type of thyroid cancer), or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) (another type of cancer). Lab tests, including calcitonin levels or thyroid ultrasound, may be performed while you are using liraglutide. It is not known if having these tests decreases the risk of thyroid cancer. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.

Contact your doctor immediately if you have a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath.



Xavier Pi-Sunyer, et al. A Randomized, Controlled Trial of 3.0 mg of Liraglutide in Weight ManagementN Engl J Med 2015; 373:11-22. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1411892.

See related Information HERE


Un comentario el “Promise From a New Weight-Loss Drug

  1. Ricardo Valdés
    16 de julio de 2015

    This is really wrong. The only way to loss weight is to eat better than now!! take a pill or injection is not the solution and never will be! All of us have to know how to eat well according to our body, according to our metabolism. If you have to loss weight, first of all you have to know your body and how the food act on you to take a dietary plan to loss weigth. This is the better way! Is eating not medication! not drugs!


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Esta entrada fue publicada el 15 de julio de 2015 por en Cáncer, Clinical Pharmacology, Diabetes, Drug Usage, Obesity.

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