This website is intended for healthcare professionals only.

Hospital Healthcare Europe
Hospital Pharmacy Europe     Newsletter          

GLP-1 agonists associated with modest weight loss in real-world setting

The use of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists in patients who have type 2 diabetes and are overweight is associated with a small but significant weight loss after 72 weeks, according to a retrospective analysis of electronic health records by US researchers.

It has long been recognised that obesity is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease. In addition, cardiovascular disease is often present in those with type 2 diabetes and presents a major cause of death among such patients.

Despite this elevated risk, lifestyle modification, in particular weight loss, has been shown to be associated with better control of diabetes and and a reduction in cardiovascular risk factors.

Clinical trials in overweight, type 2 diabetic patients have demonstrated that drugs such as semaglutide, which is one of the GLP-1 agonists, achieves superior and clinically meaningful reductions in body weight in comparison to placebo.

However, most of the weight loss clinical trials have included a lifestyle intervention to support patients but in the absence of such support, GLP-1 agonist-associated weight loss is no better than that achieved with other agents such as metformin.

In the current study, US researchers from the University of Pittsburgh, wanted to understand the degree to which GLP-1 agonists induced weight loss when used as a part of routine clinical care, i.e. in the absence of a specific behavioural weight loss intervention.

The team retrospectively examined the electronic health records of those prescribed any drugs from the GLP-1 agonist class and the subsequent weight loss after 72 weeks of therapy.

GLP-1 agonists and real-world weight loss

Outcomes were available for 2,405 participants with a mean age of 48 years (47.4% male) and of whom, 92.1% had type 2 diabetes and a mean baseline body mass index of 37.

Only eight weeks after the first dispensing of a GLP-1 agonist, the mean weight loss was 1.1% and this increased to 2.2% after 72 weeks.

However, some patients did even better. For instance, 11.2% had lost at least 5% of their body weight after eight weeks, but after 72 weeks, this proportion increased to just over a third (33.3%).

In fact, at the 72 week mark, nearly half of the entire cohort (42.7%) had lost weight, with a small proportion of patients (10.5%) managing to lose 10% or more of their body weight.

The authors concluded that the use of GLP-1 agonists prescribed at standard doses led to a modest degree of weight loss in a real-world setting and in the absence of any specific patient support.

Citation
White GE et al. 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.

×