- White GE, Shu I, Rometo D, Arnold J, Korytkowski M, Luo J. Real-world weight-loss effectiveness of glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists among patients with type 2 diabetes: A retrospective cohort study. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2023 Jan 9.
In most cases, people's lifestyle contributes to the development or exacerbation of type 2 diabetes. At the same time, dietary habits and lack of exercise lead to weight gain and obesity.
GLP-1 agonists are often prescribed to solve both problems. In the USA, this even goes as far as prescribing the drugs online to people who want to lose weight and pay a monthly fee for the programme.
The hope - and perhaps misleading promise - in these prescriptions is a rapid, effortless and significant weight loss.
But what can the drug really do in this regard? A recent retrospective study investigated this very issue. Over 72 weeks, they measured the weight loss of overweight (mean BMI 37kg/m2) type 2 diabetics taking a GLP-1 agonist. The result may be sobering for some.
Only about one third of participants had lost more than 5% of their body weight (bw) after 72 weeks. However, the analysis also showed that weight loss increased significantly after starting therapy with the GLP-1 agonist: from 1.1% of the bw after 8 weeks to an average of 2.2% of the bw after 72 weeks.
GLP-1 agonists are therapeutically valuable drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Although they lead to an overall weight loss, patients should be informed about the expected success. In addition, it is useful to encourage sufferers to adopt a healthy lifestyle and exercise. GLP-1 agonists are not a pure weight loss drug.