Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Liraglutide Can Be a Key Tool in Maintaining Weight Loss

Researchers are learning more and more about hormones and peptides that play a role in weight gain and weight loss. Knowledge of these hormones is important in understanding how our bodies gain and lose weight. Knowledge of these hormones may lead to treatment approaches that can enable providers to apply techniques that can enable a person to maintain weight loss. Maintaining a lower weight, after weight loss, is more difficult for most people than the initial weight loss. But research is ongoing to solve the weight maintenance problem. And liragutide, recently approved for weight loss by the FDA, may prove to be an important tool in this endeavor.

Some hormones or peptides that decrease hunger are leptin, peptide YY (PYY), gastric inhibitory polypeptide (GIP), and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Some hormones or peptides that increase hunger include ghrelin and neuropeptide Y (NPY).  It follows that if the number of hunger hormones increases in our body, the risk of weight gain increases, and if there is an increase in hunger reducing hormones in our bodies, the chances of weight loss improve. 

There has been research to determine if injecting leptin, mentioned above, into obese patients would cause them to lose weight. The thought-to-be hunger reducing hormone, leptin, mentioned above, was injected into obese patients. And it was found that injecting leptin into obese patients did not lead to weight loss.

But injecting liraglutide, an analog of the hunger reducing peptide GLP-1, did lead to weight loss. In fact, the FDA has approved liraglutide (trade name Saxenda) for obesity treatment.

While injecting liraglutide can lead to weight loss, a recent study has shown the GLP-1 analog, along with a low calorie diet and exercise, can also be effective in weight maintenance. In the study, 212 subjects, who had lost at least 5% of their weight, were randomized to a group to use Saxenda, and 210 subjects were randomized to a placebo group. And more than 50% of the subjects in the Saxenda group maintained their weight loss.

So, liraglutide may be an important option in weight maintenance as well as weight loss. Obesity specialist should consider liraglutide when treating obese patients.

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