Saxenda, an obesity drug that has been approved for marketing in the US and EU has, in recent clinical trials, proved to have positive effects on glucose levels and blood pressure levels in obese patients. The main objective of this trial was to determine whether or not the obesity drug would also stave off the development of Type-2 diabetes in obese patients. The drug’s relationship with diabetes has not yet been established but the trial did glean some interesting results and, all in favour of the drug and its affects on diabetes. What does that mean for the future of Saxenda here in Europe? The results were presented at the recent annual Endocrine Society (ENDO) meeting in San Diego.
63% of the 3,731 patients taking the drug who were also on a calorie restricted diet and who took part in a regime involving increased physical activity, experienced 5% weight loss at the end of 56 weeks. This contrasts greatly with the 27% of those on the placebo who experienced a similar weight reduction. One third of all of the patients taking Saxenda lost 10% or more of their body weight compared with just 10% of the placebo group. Primarily, the effects on blood pressure and glucose levels are exciting and might also have Saxenda on the market as a diabetes preventative as well as a weight loss drug in time.
Although, the drug has joined Belviq, Qsymia and Contrave in the US, none of them (other than Contrave) have made headway here in Europe since their US approval. Conrave will be known as Mysimba in the EU.
Saxenda, which is the brand name for Liraglutide, works by slowing the process of food leaving the stomach. The European Medicine’s Agency (EMA) did not approve the treatment initially because long term effects of the injection are not yet known and they believe further safety studies are required. Those trials have completed and the medication has been approved. It is already available to private patients at The Online Clinic.
Obesity drugs are few and far between these days and bodies like the EMA are right to be careful about what they consider for approval considering the history of obesity drugs like Reductil. We don’t know for sure but risk factors related to certain drugs might have meant patient health was compromised. These days, it’s vital to be careful about what we approve for market and safety studies are a priority. Obesity treatments like these are not a quick fix option, they are not prescribed alone without the aid of a healthy diet and exercise regimen, and they are certainly not for everyone. They might however help those for whom all other possibilities have been exhausted and decrease the number of invasive bariatric surgeries taking place every year. These surgeries are not only serious operations but are expensive too and a great strain on NHS resources.