Gut hormone helps overweight or obese patients lose weight, reveals study.
Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is a hormone that is secreted from the intestine when we eat.
GLP-1 based therapy was recently introduced as a new treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes because of its ability to regulate blood sugar levels.
So researchers at the University of Copenhagen set out to determine the effect of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists on weight loss. They also looked at their effect on blood pressure, cholesterol and liver enzyme levels, and blood sugar (glycaemic) control.
They analysed the results of 25 randomised controlled trials involving over 6,000 patients. Differences in study design and quality were taken into account to minimise bias.
They found that patients who received clinically relevant doses of GLP-1R agonists for at least 20 weeks achieved a greater weight loss compared with the control groups.
The benefit was seen for patients with and without type 2 diabetes, but may be more pronounced in patients without diabetes.
GLP-1R agonists also had beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol and improved glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. There was no statistically significant effect on liver enzymes.
Common side effects included nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, but did not seem to affect the number of patients dropping out of the trials, suggesting that overall patient satisfaction with the treatment is relatively high.
The finding has been published on bmj.com.