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Novo Nordisk study finds once-daily liraglutide reduces blood sugar, weight in African-Americans


LAS VEGAS A study by Novo Nordisk concluded that once-daily liraglutide, an investigational treatment for Type 2 diabetes, leads to statistically significant and sustained reductions in blood sugar and weight in African-Americans with Type 2 diabetes, as compared with glimepiride, a commonly prescribed diabetes treatment. The data were presented at the 114th National Medical Association Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly.

African-Americans are 1.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites, and almost 15% of all African-Americans ages 20 years or older have diabetes, Novo Nordisk reported. In the study, 64% of African-American patients treated with liraglutide 1.8 mg once a day and 29% treated with liraglutide 1.2 mg once daily reached and maintained the American Diabetes Association’s blood sugar target, versus 11% of patients treated with glimepiride 8 mg once daily after 52 weeks.

The ADA’s blood sugar target is an A1C, a measure of average blood sugar control over three months, of less than 7%.

“Because African-Americans are among the most affected by diabetes, it’s important that we consider how these patients respond to potential treatments,” said lead study author Mansur Shomali, M.D., of Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore, Md. “In this study, liraglutide not only lowered blood sugar, but patients lost weight as well. This is good news for these patients who are often struggling to control their disease.”

In addition to lowering blood sugar, after 52 weeks of treatment with 1.8 mg of liraglutide, mean body weight decreased by 2.98 kg (6.57 lbs), and with 1.2 mg of liraglutide, mean body weight decreased by 0.71 kg (1.54 lbs), compared to a slight decrease in weight in the glimepiride group of 0.50 kg (or 1.10 lbs).

“Obesity is a major medical risk factor for Type 2 diabetes and a significant issue in the African American community, as they are 1.4 times as likely to be obese as non-Hispanic whites,” said Shomali. “For these patients in particular, even modest weight loss can make a significant difference in the management of their diabetes, which makes liraglutide a potentially important treatment option.”

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