Healthy Thursday: Diabetes Weight Loss Drug

Novo Nordisk’s big-selling diabetes drug Victoza appears to be an effective weight loss therapy, data from a late-stage clinical trial presented on Saturday demonstrated.

In the 56-week study of 846 overweight or obese adults with type 2 diabetes, a daily injection of 3 milligrams of Victoza led to significantly greater weight loss than did a placebo.


Patients taking the 3 mg dose of the drug, known chemically as liraglutide, had a mean loss of 5.9 percent of body weight. That compared with a loss of 4.6 percent for a 1.8 mg dose and just 2 percent loss for those who got a placebo. All patients were also put on a diet and exercise program.

The results were presented at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Francisco.

Weight loss had been viewed as a beneficial side effect of Victoza as obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes. But with obesity becoming a global health crisis, Novo Nordisk now sees the medicine as a potentially lucrative weight loss drug at a higher than currently approved dose. Some two thirds of Americans are classified as overweight or obese.