Weight loss: Drug to lose extra kilos can decrease diabetes risk

New York: Intake of lorcaserin — a weight-loss drug — can help decrease risk for diabetes, induce diabetes remission as well as reduce the risk of diabetes complications in obese and overweight patients, a study has found.

Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) found that lorcaserin reduced the risk of diabetes by 19 per cent in patients with pre-diabetes, diabetic neuropathy — type of nerve damage that can occur with diabetes — by 21 per cent.

It also led to induced remission of high blood sugar among diabetics, and reduced the risk of diabetic microvascular complications such as microalbuminuria — moderate increase in the level of urine albumin.

Earlier, the researchers found “use of lorcaserin resulted in modest but sustained weight loss among obese and overweight patients without increasing risk of heart attack and stroke”, said Erin Bohula from the BWH.

“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,” Bohula added.

For the study, published in the journal The Lancet, the team randomly assigned 12,000 overweight or obese patients at risk for a cardiovascular event were to receive either lorcaserin or a placebo.

The results showed that 9.5 per cent of patients were able to achieve normal glycemic levels.

Lorcaserin also significantly increased the rate of remission of hyperglycemia in patients with diabetes, with 7.1 per cent of patients on the drug achieving remission compared to 6 per cent of patients on the placebo.

Lorcaserin also helped patients lower their weight by 4.2 kilograms (9.3 pounds) on average compared to 1.4 kg for placebo at one year.

“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,” said Benjamin Scirica, from the hospital.