Over recent years, there has been a lot of concern expressed over the growing obesity problem in the UK and other countries worldwide. However, the results of a 15-month international study involving nearly 2,000 participants suggest a new appetite suppressant drug could help tackle this issue and help those who are seriously overweight get their weight under control.
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During the study, participants received a weekly injection coupled with dietary and fitness guidance. Based on the study's results, scientists said the drug, semaglutide, could mark a new era in treating obesity.
Sir Stephen O'Rahilly, a professor from the University of Cambridge, said: "The amount of weight loss achieved is greater than that seen with any licensed anti-obesity drug. This is the start of a new era for obesity drug development with the future direction being to achieve levels of weight loss comparable to semaglutide while having fewer side-effects."
Average weight loss of 15 kg
According to researchers, the study's results were very promising, with participants losing an average of 15 kg during the trial. Some of those taking part lost more than 20% of their body weight because of reduced food consumption through appetite suppression.
The drug used in the study is already used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, to test its effectiveness in treating obesity, it was administered in higher doses during the trial. Some participants received weekly injections of the drug while others received a placebo. All participants received the same advice about diet and fitness throughout the trial.
The results showed while those given the drug lost an average of 15 kg, those given the placebo coupled with advice only lost an average of 2.6 kg. This indicates the drug could go a long way toward helping reduce obesity levels, which can then help to impact various weight-related health issues.
How the drug works
For many people, losing weight can be a huge issue, and many spend years battling weight problems. For older people, weight loss can be even more difficult, but without getting to a healthy weight, there is a high risk of other health issues.
This drug works by replicating GLP1, a hormone the body releases after a big meal has been consumed. By doing this, the drug suppresses the appetite, making it easier for people to reduce their food intake and lose weight.
While the study did show promising results, experts were quick to point out that treatment alone is not enough to deal with obesity issues. They said changes to lifestyle and diet were a crucial part of the process combined with the treatment.