Trials of new drug to tackle obesity ‘exceed expectations’ – Irish consultant

Obesity drug resulted in weight loss of more than 10%, research shows

Recent trials of a new weight loss drug that is hoped will combat obesity “exceeded expectations”, a Dublin-based consultant involved in the study has said.

The research, published in the Lancet journal on Monday, found the drug resulted in weight loss of more than 10 per cent in people dealing with obesity. The drug, cagrilintide, is manufactured by Novo Nordisk, a Danish-based pharmaceutical company which funded the trials.

Prof Carel le Roux, a consultant in St Vincent's Private Hospital and obesity specialist, was a co-author of the study. He said the results "really exceeded expectations" and planned trials to combine the drug with another recently approved treatment had the potential to be a "game changer".

The trials took place over 6½ months in 2019, and involved 706 participants split into seven groups.

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One group was given a placebo, while another took liraglutide, an existing drug sold under the brand name Victoza for obesity. The remaining five groups were given different strength doses of cagrilintide, the drug researchers were studying.

The study found those given the higher dose of the drug saw a drop in body weight of 9-11 per cent over the time period. Participants given lower doses of the drug saw about a 6 per cent drop in body weight.

The phase two trial, which must be followed by further trials, was conducted across 10 countries, including Ireland, Britain, the United States and Japan.

The study said the results “support the further investigation of the higher doses of cagrilintide in future phase three trials”, adding it could “expand” the range of drugs available in the area.

The research noted some participants saw side effects from the drug, which included nausea, constipation and diarrhoea.

Jack Power

Jack Power

Jack Power is a reporter with The Irish Times