By Rideeta Raquib ’19
Prediabetes, also known as “borderline diabetes,” is a condition common among people with obesity who have increased blood sugar levels. Although it can eventually lead to type 2 diabetes, prediabetes can be cured through exercise and diet changes. In 2012, 86 million Americans of age 20 years or older had prediabetes. A drug, named Liraglutide 3·0 mg, can reduce body weight while improving glucose metabolism. Researchers at Imperial College London tested the drug to analyze its potential to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes, which is more difficult to treat. The purpose of the study was to test whether utilizing the drug was significantly more beneficial as opposed to increased physical activity and healthier diet.
A randomized double-blind experiment was conducted among 2254 prediabetic adults with a body mass index of 30 kg/m2. The participants were randomly selected to be part of the experimental group, consuming Liraglutide, or the control group, consuming a placebo. After random assignment, a sample of 1505 participants consumed Liraglitude and 749 subjects received the placebo. They consumed either the 3·0 mg Liraglitude or the matched placebo once a day, paired with increased physical activity and low-calorie diet. The times to onset diabetes by 160 weeks were assessed as the primary research for this experiment.
Overall, 1128 or 50% of the participants completed the study up to week 160. By that time, 2% of the liraglutide versus 6% of the placebo group were diagnosed with diabetes. This data was significant, because due to randomization, the number of participants consuming Liraglitude was approximately double the number of subjects taking the placebo. The mean time to diagnosis was about 99 weeks for Liraglitude treatment as opposed to 87 weeks for the placebo treatment, thus the onset of diabetes was delayed for subjects consuming Liraglitude. According to the diagnostic frequencies, the time to onset of diabetes over 160 weeks was 2.7 times longer with Liraglitude than the placebo based on a 95% confidence interval. In addition, the subjects who were part of the experimental group had greater weight loss than those who took the placebo at week 160.
Studies with a larger sample size still need to be conducted, but Liraglutide has a potential to prevent type 2 diabetes and treat individuals with obesity or prediabetes.
- C. W. le Roux, et al., 3 years of liraglutide versus placebo for type 2 diabetes risk reduction and weight management in individuals with prediabetes: a randomised, double-blind trial. The Lancet (2017). doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)30069-7.
- Image retrieved from: http://www.nootralogy.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Drug-capsules-009.jpg