T2DM prevented in 80% of at-risk patients
A team from Imperial College London have repurposed the drug liraglutide and have found that it can help to prevent the progression of ‘prediabetes’ to diabetes. Prediabetes itself is characterised by slightly increased blood sugar levels and can often lead to T2DM, it is curable with exercise and a healthier diet, but once it progresses to diabetes it is significantly harder to treat. Liraglutide is already used to treat obesity and diabetes – it works by activating the areas of the brain that control appetite and eating – however researchers found that when combined with diet and exercise it can help prevent progression to diabetes in those that are prediabetic.
The study itself included 2,254 obese adults across 27 countries; they were split into two groups, with one group administered liraglutide via injection, alongside diet and exercise, whilst the other group did not receive any medication. They found that the patients given liraglutide were 80% less likely to develop diabetes than those in the placebo group. The drug was also linked to greater sustained weight loss over the course of three years. The researchers are particularly excited at the fact that treatment with liraglutide could save the healthcare system millions by preventing diabetes developing in many people.