OCT 09, 2018 3:19 PM PDT

Weight Loss Drug Reduces Incidence of Diabetes

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Image via The San Diego Tribune

Similar to the likes of Resurge, a clinical trial weight loss drug, by the name of Lorcaserin—manufactured by Eisai Inc., was found to reduce the risk of diabetes by 19 percent in patients with pre-diabetes as well as reducing the risk of diabetic microvascular complications such as microalbuminuria. "We recently presented findings showing that use of lorcaserin resulted in modest but sustained weight loss among obese and overweight patients without increasing risk of heart attack and stroke," said co-lead author Erin Bohula, MD, DPhil, a BWH cardiovascular medicine specialist. "Now we report that, when added to lifestyle interventions, lorcaserin significantly reduced incidence of diabetes, increased rates of diabetes remission, and reduced the risk of diabetic microvascular complications."

The findings of the study were recently published in The Lancet.

"Taken together, these findings reinforce the notion that modest, durable weight loss can improve cardiometabolic health and supports the role of lorcaserin as an adjunctive therapy in chronic weight management," explains co-lead author Benjamin Scirica, MD, also a fellow cardiovascular medicine specialist at BWH and senior investigator for the TIMI Study Group. "It provides another tool in the armamentarium, beyond diet and exercise, for patients hoping to achieve and maintain weight loss. And, happily, as we saw, even relatively modest weight loss can improve the diabetes control in those with diabetes and reduce the development of diabetes in those at risk."

In addition to reducing the risk of diabetes and diabetic microvascular complications (e.g. persistent microalbuminuria, diabetic retinopathy or diabetic neuropathy), as well as decreasing weight, Lorcaserin was found to increase the remission rate to the rate of hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes. Additionally, despite patients having well-controlled diabetes at the start of the clinical studies, lorcaserin resulted in a reduction of hemoglobin A1c levels (a measure of glucose control).

However, there were side effects of lorcaserin with 6.6 percent of the patients reporting dangerously low levels of blood sugar known as Hypoglycemia. Cases of severe hypoglycemia requiring hospitalization were especially prevalent among patients taking medications known to have hypoglycemic effects such as insulin or sulfonylurea’s, medications known to result in hypoglycemia.



Such findings has encouraged researchers to highlight the importance of carefully titrating agents associated with the risk hypoglycemic events, especially if patients are on weight loss.

"Given the global prevalence of obesity and its association with type 2 diabetes and complications that can cause death or greatly diminish quality of life, we need therapeutic strategies that can be added to lifestyle modification to prevent and control diabetes," said Scirica. "This rigorous and large-scale randomized study demonstrates the potential for improving glycemic control when adding a weight loss agent to a treatment plan."

Source: Brigham and Women’s Hospital


About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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