The new weight loss drug Saxenda (liraglutide) has been approved by the FDA for weight-management in addition to exercise and a low-calorie diet. This drug is approved for adults who suffer from obesity or who are overweight and have at least one weight-related issue such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, or high cholesterol (FDA 2014). With more than one-third of adults in America overweight (CDC), this new drug can help millions lose weight and focus on a healthy lifestyle.
According to James Smith, M.D., M.S., acting director of the Division Evaluation of Metabolism and Endocrinology Products in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, “Obesity is a public health concern and threatens the overall well-being of patients.” He then goes on to say that Saxenda provides an additional treatment option for chronic weight management when combined with physical activity and a low-calorie diet (FDA 2014).
What is Saxenda?
Saxenda is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist and should not be combined with any other drug in its class, including Victoza, a treatment for type-2 diabetes. On the other hand, the safety and effectiveness for treating type-2 diabetes has not been established for Saxenda.
In the clinical trials, 4,800 obese and overweight individuals with and without weight-related issues were evaluated. Approximately 50 percent of patients with type-2 diabetes, who were treated with Saxenda, lost at least 5 percent of their body weight compared with 16 percent of individuals treated with placebo (FDA 2014). Patients should be evaluated for 16 weeks to determine if the treatment is working or not.
What are the side effects of Saxenda?
Saxenda should not be used in individuals with a personal or family history of MTC or individuals with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type-2. The most commonly observed side effects were nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low-blood sugar, constipation, and reduced appetite. As any weight loss drug, there will be side effects but I still believe the benefits of Saxenda outweigh the bad and still should be considered as a weight management alternative.
Novo Nordisk manufactures and distributes the drug in Denmark and it is expected to be released in 2015.
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Source: FDA.gov “FDA approves weight-management drug Saxenda” 23 December 2014 U.S. Food and Drug Administration