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Research by University of Copenhagen obesity expert Arne Astrup shows diabetes injection is more effective than one of the leading obesity drugs
A new injection could help obese patients to fight the flab, by tricking their brains into feeling full.
Arne Astrup, head of the University of Copenhagen’s department of Human Nutrition, led the study, which has shown that the injectable drug Liraglutide both curbs hunger and reduces risk factors for diabetes.
Professor Astrup received funding from Novo Nordisk, who produce Liraglutide, to carry out the research.
This is according to the British news website bbc.co.uk.
The trial showed that patients receiving liraglutide, which contains a satiety hormone, were twice as likely to lose significant amounts of weight as those on the weight-loss pill orlistat.
There are limitations to the new drug. It must be injected as it would be broken down in the gut if administered orally. It is also expensive at around DKK 5,000 for six months of treatment.
Further studies are needed to establish the longer term risk-benefit ratio as this trial on 564 patients ran for just 20 weeks.
The results of the trial have been published in the international medical journal The Lancet.
»The reason why we think this drug is so intriguing is that it mimics a gut hormone called GLP-1 which is released in the small intestine after eating,« says Arne Astrup.
»It tells the body to produce more insulin and the brain to stop eating. It is a naturally occurring satiety hormone. The problem is that it is eliminated from the blood stream within minutes. The company [Novo Nordisk, ed.] has added a molecule to make it more resistant to elimination, so it lasts for a full day,« he explains.
In an accompanying editorial in the Lancet, Dr George Bray of the division of clinical obesity at Louisiana State University, warned: »Whether long-term use of an injectable drug is palatable as a treatment for obesity is yet to be established.«
Arne Astrup has been criticised for combining his research duties and private economic interests. However, Astrup has made no secret of the fact that he is on Novo Nordisk’s payroll and says he is in favour of more openness in regards to researcher’s economic interests in the future.
»I believe it is important that there is transparency and openness on researcher’s conflicts of interest,« he writes in an earlier e-mail on the subject to the University Post.