Initial Weight Loss Predicts Long-Term Efficacy of Liraglutide

Doctor checking weight of patient.
Doctor checking weight of patient.
Weight loss at 1 month was a significant predictor of positive response to treatment with liraglutide.

Liraglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist with demonstrated efficacy in promoting weight loss. For patients who are overweight or obese, significant weight loss after 1 month of treatment with liraglutide may predict overall treatment success in the long term, according to study results published in Endocrine Practice.

The study included patients with overweight or obesity who were treated with liraglutide (N=100) in the endocrinology unit of the University of Siena in Siena, Italy. The researchers evaluated patients at baseline and after 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment. They defined liraglutide efficacy as weight loss ≥5% of initial weight. Predictor variables including sociodemographic and metabolic parameters, food intake, smoking habits, and physical activity were evaluated for correlations with liraglutide efficacy.

The primary outcome was to identify predictors of treatment efficacy during short-term follow-up. The secondary outcome was to evaluate treatment efficacy in relation to the presence or absence of an underlying psychiatric disorder.

Weight loss data were available for 100 patients at 1 month, 87 at 3 months, and 68 at 6 months.

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Compared with baseline, patients showed significant weight loss after 1, 3, and 6 months of treatment (P <.0001). At 1 month, 27% of patients lost ≥5% of their body weight, and this percentage increased to 45% at 3 months and 57% at 6 months.

After psychiatric evaluation, the researchers found that 21% of patients (n=21) had binge eating disorder and another 30% (n=30) had other psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. The researchers did not find any differences in weight loss among patients with binge eating disorder or other psychiatric disease compared with patients with no history of psychiatric disease.

The results indicated that weight loss at 1 month was the only significant predictor of positive response to treatment (5.05±2.3 kg in responders vs 2.32±2.15 kg in nonresponders; P <.0001).

“[T]he initial response to the drug seems to be a good predictor of [long-term] efficacy and might be used in clinical practice to identify patients in whom [long-term] treatment with liraglutide could be useful,” the researchers wrote.

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Maccora C, Ciuoli C, Goracci A, et al. One month weight loss predicts the efficacy of liraglutide in obese patients: data from a single center [published online November 4, 2019]. Endocr Pract. doi:10.4158/EP-2019-0169