New research supports prior findings that suggest a weight loss drug on the U.S. market may play a role in helping delay or manage the progression of type 2 diabetes. The findings, published in October 2018 The Lancet, found that the drug, Belviq (lorcaserin) outperformed a placebo in helping participants with prediabetes and diabetes lower their A1C (a two- to three-month average of blood sugar levels), effectively helping those with prediabetes avoid full-blown diabetes. The authors also report that the weight loss drug helped people with type 2 diabetes reduce the risk of diabetes-related health complications.
“We think the majority [of the] effect is weight loss, and that’s why there was an impact on diabetes,” says the co-lead author Erin Bohula, MD, DPhil, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Lorcaserin and lifestyle counseling helped participants lose about 9 pounds (lb) after a year, compared with 3 lb in those on the placebo. The weight-loss differences continued to be significant until the end of the study, she says.
Why Weight Loss Can Help With Diabetes Prevention and Management
The drug is not approved for treating diabetes directly, but losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight can help someone with prediabetes delay progression of diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.