Diabetes drug liraglutide approved by FDA as obesity treatment
The FDA have approved use of Novo Nordisk’s drug cas a treatment for obesity under the trade name Saxenda. Liraglutide has, since January 2010, been approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes under the name Victoza.
Under the approval, liraglutide will be available to adults under either of the following conditions:
- Having a body mass index (BMI) over 30
- Having a BMI over 27 and presence of either type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol
Difference between Victoza and Saxenda
People with type 2 diabetes should be aware that whilst Victoza and Saxenda contain the same active ingredient, there is a key difference in the dose.
- Saxenda delivers a 3mg dose of liraglutide
- Victoza delivers a 1.8mg dose of liraglutide
Clinical trials showed that 62% of patients on Saxenda achieved weight loss of 5% of their body weight or more which compared with 34% of patients on placebo that achieved 5% of body weight loss.
Treatment with Saxenda should be accompanied by a reduced-calorie diet and regular physical activity.
Side effects and safety
Saxenda will carry warnings that serious side effects that can result from Saxenda include pancreatitis, kidney and gallbladder problems, a raised heart rate and suicidal thoughts.
Whilst liraglutide has been marketed for nearly 4 years (as Victoza), the increased dose in Saxenda means that safety will need to be closely followed. The FDA have required Novo Nordisk to carry out a number of additional studies to confirm safety of the drug. These post-marketing studies will include both human and animal studies including evaluations of thyroid and breast cancer risks.
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