New Diabetes Drugs May Also Aid Weight Loss

Diabetes and excess weight are probably the two common issues that more and more people have to deal with nowadays. Both are even closely linked to each other, as some studies suggest. It may also be this link that may someday help people treat one in order to also treat the other. And as what a recent study may suggest, a certain class of diabetes drugs can also be used to aid people with weight loss.

Researchers from the Gentofte Hospital of the University of Copenhagen suggest that a new class of diabetes drugs can also be used to help people suffering from obesity to lose weight. New drugs such as exenatide used to treat diabetics can also aid in weight loss since it is a common side effect experienced by those who use the said drug. The findings of the study is published in the January 10 edition of the online version of the journal BMJ

The new class of diabetes drugs, also known as “glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists” or GLP-1, also causes patients to lose weight when using it to treat diabetes. According to Dr. Tina Vilsboll, head of the Diabetes Research Division at Gentofte Hospital of the University of Copenhagen and lead researcher of the study, “If you use this treatment (GLP-1) for 20 weeks, you have a positive effect on body weight. The hope is that we have a new class of treatment for obesity, and not just for type 2 diabetes.”

GLP-1 is a naturally occurring hormone that is produced in the human gut. GLP-1 therapy is considered as a potentially new treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes because it is seen to be quite effective in regulating blood sugar. But the researchers also noticed that using the said therapy also seems to suppress the appetite, making it also a potential treatment for obesity. Although these drugs were approved for use by the FDA in 2005, it is being limited for treating people with type 2 diabetes.

In order to study the effects of the said drugs on weight loss, the researchers looked into data collected from 25 studies that also involved more than 6,000 patients. The researchers attempted to find certain similarities in the data from the different studies. They found out that patients who were taking GLP-1R agonists for at least 20 weeks also lost more weight compared to other patients who were not taking the said drugs.

Further analysis of the data showed that both diabetics and people with diabetes who were taking the said drugs lost weight. In fact, the data showed that weight loss was greater among the non-diabetics than the diabetic patients. According to Dr. Vilsboll, there are some patients who have lost as much as 20 pounds while using the drug. In addition, the researchers found out that those taking the drug also benefited from improvement on their blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels as well as better blood sugar regulation among the diabetic patients.

While the findings may look promising, researchers do agree that further studies may be needed in order to delve deeper into the effects of the said drugs, particularly on weight loss. There might be a concern regarding their safety with long term use. While current data may suggest that such drugs are safe, there is still a need for longer follow-up studies as well as a greater number of patients to study before a more substantial conclusion can be reached.

Source: Everyday Health

 

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