The experimental drug liraglutide significantly improved blood sugar levels and reduced weight in patients with type 2 diabetes. These results stem from a 14-week mid-stage clinical trial by Novo Nordisk. The study included 165 patients who received 0.65, 1.25, and 1.9 mg of liraglutide or placebo. The drug yielded positive results at all 3 doses, compared with placebo. The 1.9-mg dose reduced hemoglobin A1C levels by an average of 1.74%. Besides the reduced A1C levels, patients in the 1.9-mg liraglutide group lost an average of 6.6 lb in 14 weeks, compared with a weight loss of 2.6 lb in the placebo group. The weight loss caused by liraglutide also is significant in that it did not require any changes in diet and exercise. While taking previous medications, study patients failed to reduce their A1C levels below the American Diabetes Association-recommended 7%; liraglutide patients had A1C levels fall below 7% after 14 weeks. The drug, which also lowered blood pressure, improves the way the pancreas' insulin-secreting cells respond to glucose. Results of the study were presented at the American Diabetes Association Scientific Meeting in June 2006.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.