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Blood pressure news
Anti-fat drug lowers blood pressure and diabetes risk
Diabetes drug, liraglutide, significantly reduces weight in healthy people and helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose control (lowering the risk of diabetes).
At the moment, the drug is licensed in the UK for use for people with diabetes, but this study shows that the medicine may have significant benefits for obese people without diabetes too. It appears to be able to help people lose over one stone in weight in 20 weeks, with few side-effects.
The drug works by tricking the body into thinking that it is full. The drug mimics the action of a hormone in the gut that reduces hunger. By helping people to eat less and reduce their weight, the medication also helps to lower blood pressure and improve blood glucose control (lowering the risk of diabetes) and so reduce the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
However, the drug is unlikely to suit everyone. It cannot be swallowed as a pill, but has to be injected every day, because it would break down in the stomach.
This study followed 564 people who were given either liraglutide (at one of three different doses), orlistat (the drug that causes weight loss by stopping the body from absorbing fat) or placebo (no medication). All the people were put on a daily diet that contained 500 calories fewer than they needed and were put on an exercise programme to increase their physical activity.
In terms of weight loss after 20 weeks, people lost:
- 16lb (7.2 kg) taking the highest dose of liraglutide
- 10lb (4.8 kg) taking the lowest dose of liraglutide
- 9lb (4.1kg) taking orlistat
- 6lb (2.7kg) taking no medication, but just restricting their diet and exercising more.
This is an initial study to look at the potential benefits of this medication. Much more research will be needed to ensure that the medication is safe for long-term use.
However, the weight loss shown by the placebo group demonstrates the benefits of keeping to a healthy diet and regular physical activity as a proven way of lowering blood pressure and keeping to a healthy weight.
Effects of liraglutide in the treatment of obesity: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The Lancet, Early Online Publication, 23 October 2009. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61375-1
Topics: Research, Medicines, Lifestyle, High blood pressure