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Trials of new obesity drug found it can result in weight loss of two stone in six months

The trials took place in ten countries, including Ireland, and involved 706 participants.

Image: Shutterstock/PhotobyTawat

A NEW DRUG aimed at tackling obesity has been found to reduce body weight by almost 11%. 

The results of the research trials, published in The Lancet, found that the drug can lead to a weight loss of two stone within six months. 

The drug, Cagrilintide, is taken once weekly as an injection and works by increasing people’s sense of ‘satiety’, allowing those taking the treatment to feel less hungry and as a result, eat less.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, obesity specialist at St Vincent’s University Hospital Professor Carel le Roux explained how the drug works in the middle part of the brain “that has the disease of obesity that makes people feel more hungry or less satisfied”.

“If you treat this disease, the disease comes under control, and once the disease is under control, then people naturally lose weight, they naturally eat less food,” he said. 

The trials for the drug took place in ten countries, including Ireland, over a period of six months in 2019 and involved 706 participants who were split into seven groups. 

One group was given a placebo, while another was given an existing obesity drug. The remaining five groups were given different strength doses of cagrilintide. 

Those given the higher dose of the drug were found to have a reduction in body weight of between 9% and 11%, while those given lower doses of the drug saw around a 6% reduction in body weight.

Dr Babak Dehestani, one of the researchers at St Vincent’s, said the study concluded that the treatment led to significant loss in weight and was well tolerated.

Le Roux said that while not everybody with obesity will qualify for the drug, it will enable those that do qualify to live longer and better.

“These drugs will be cost effective, and also improve the quality of life,” he said. 

He also said that he hopes the drug will be able to be used more widely by people with obesity in the future.  

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“It will take a period of time, but at the moment, we’re not treating anybody who has the disease of obesity, so we have to make a start in doing this, and these drugs are really going to revolutionise the way we think about it.”

Vera Vaughan from Dublin, who participated in the trial, said there is a major need for the drug and others like it to be made available to people living with obesity in Ireland.

“The government should support more clinical research in Ireland to allow patients like me to benefit first from these innovations. This medication is life-changing,” she said. 

Obesity affects more than a million people in Ireland and is one of the major causes of cancer, heart attacks and a reduction in quality of life.

It is also the major contributing factor to type 2 diabetes, which affects around 200,000 people across the country.

Treatment for type 2 diabetes alone accounts for more than 10% of the overall healthcare budget.

About the author:

Jane Moore

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