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Liraglutide injection

Liraglutide injection slows stomach emptying, effective for weight loss

Measurement of stomach emptying after one to two months of treatment with Liraglutide treatment is likely to be a useful predictor of weight loss

Liraglutide injection, a prescription medication used to treat type-2 diabetes and obesity is associated with marked slowing of stomach emptying and is an effective weight loss therapy. These are the findings of a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study by Mayo Clinic researchers published in The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

"Our paper shows that Liraglutide, administered for three months at the approved dose of three milligrams per day was associated with an average weight loss of 12lbs compared to an average 6.6lbs weight loss for patients receiving a placebo," said senior author, Dr Michael Camilleri, a gastroenterologist at Mayo Clinic. Importantly, Dr Camilleri added the drug was added to standardised diet and behavioural health support which was also provided to the placebo-treated group.

For this study researchers randomized 40 otherwise healthy adults with a BMI>30 between December 2015 and September 2016. Researchers administered to equal numbers of patients either placebo or Liraglutide by 0.6mg per day each week for five weeks and continued until week 16. At baseline, and after 16 weeks' treatment, researchers measured body weight, stomach emptying of solids, gastric volumes, satiation [the maximum tolerated volume of a liquid nutrient drink], and satiety. Stomach emptying was also measured at five weeks.

"Liraglutide appears to be very effective in inducing weight loss over three months of treatment," said Dr Camilleri. "We also found that Liraglutide dramatically slowed stomach emptying and the degree of stomach emptying delay in study participants was significantly associated with the degree of weight loss." Stomach emptying is the process by which the stomach empties its contents into the small intestine for further digestion and nutrient absorption.

Dr Camilleri said that measurement of stomach emptying after one to two months of treatment with Liraglutide treatment is likely to be a useful predictor of weight loss.

"In clinical practice, measurement of stomach emptying at five weeks may serve as a biomarker to determine which patients should continue on the treatment and which patients might be better candidates for other weight loss treatments. Our findings are one example of the opportunity to individualize treatment based on the unique response of the patient. Medications are often prescribed in patients with obesity for at least six months. Making this determination after the first one to two months has the potential to determine whether to continue the treatment or to stop relatively expensive treatment and move on to alternative approved therapy in accordance with guidelines. These alternatives could include prescription of other medications, endoscopic devices or bariatric surgery."

In an accompanying editorial in the journal entitled ,"The stomach and obesity: the missing link, at last?," professor Vincenzo Stanghellini from University of Bologna School of Medicine discusses the strengths of this study, including the rigorous measurement of gastric emptying which, in contrast to prior research, was able to document the slowing of stomach emptying.

Professor Stanghellini goes on to explain the clinical relevance of this finding since measurement of gastric function after approximately one month of treatment could help to identify patients who would likely respond in the long term to Liraglutide with significant weight loss, thus avoiding ineffective and expensive treatments in non-responders. Finally, Professor Stanghellini comments that there are effective medical alternatives to surgery that physicians can offer to patients with obesity.

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