A drug used for treating obesity, along with proper diet and exercise, may reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 80 per cent – especially in patients who are predisposed to develop the disease, a new global study has claimed. Researchers from the Imperial College London in the UK recruited 2,254 obese adults with prediabetes at 191 research sites in 27 countries worldwide.
After splitting participants into two groups, they studied whether adding daily self-administered injections of liraglutide, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, to diet and exercise helped to prevent progression into diabetes, compared to diet and exercise alone.
Of the patients who did go on to develop diabetes, those who were given liraglutide took nearly three times longer to develop the disease than those in the placebo group.
Liraglutide was linked to a greater sustained weight loss after three years compared to placebo, with those on liraglutide losing seven per cent body weight compared to two per cent body weight in the placebo group.
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“These groundbreaking results could pave the way for a widely used, effective, and safe drug to reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes in 80 per cent of at-risk people,” said Carel le Roux, from Imperial’s Department of Medicine in the UK.
“Liraglutide promotes weight loss by activating brain areas that control appetite and eating, so that people feel fuller sooner after meals and their food intake is reduced,” said le Roux.
“Although liraglutide’s role in weight loss is well known, this is the first time it has been shown to essentially reverse prediabetes and prevent diabetes, albeit with the help of diet and exercise,” he said. The study was published in The Lancet journal.