In a nutshell
This study compared treatments for fatty liver disease in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). They found that liraglutide (Victoza) reduced liver fat significantly, improved liver function, and led to weight loss and better blood sugar control.
Half of the patients with T2D can have liver disease caused by increased fat in the liver. This is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease or NAFLD. Liraglutide is a drug that increases natural insulin in the body and has been shown to improve diabetic control. It also slows down food leaving the stomach and helps prevent the liver from making too much blood sugar.
Currently, NAFLD can only be treated with diet and exercise. However, many patients do not achieve sufficient weight loss with only lifestyle changes. Liraglutide has been shown to help in weight loss and reducing fat in patients with T2D. It is not clear if liraglutide also improves NAFLD.
Methods & findings
This study involved 96 patients with poorly controlled T2D and NAFLD. All patients were receiving metformin (Glucophage). Participants were divided into three groups. Group 1 received liraglutide, group 2 received insulin glargine (Lantus) and group 3 received a placebo. All participants were followed for 26 weeks and had a special scan to measure the amount of fat in their livers.
The group receiving liraglutide showed a significant reduction in liver fat over 26 weeks by 5.8%. This group demonstrated a greater reduction in liver fat than the placebo group (reduction by 0.1%) and the insulin glargine group (reduction by 2.4%).
The liraglutide group also showed greater fat loss elsewhere than the other two groups and an improvement in liver function as measured by liver enzyme levels. Patients on liraglutide also showed significant weight loss, losing an average of 4.9 kg over 26 weeks. No weight loss was seen in the other 2 groups after 26 weeks.
25.8% of patients in the liraglutide group had nausea and vomiting and 3.2% of patients developed diarrhea and very low blood glucose levels.
The bottom line
This study showed that liraglutide is an effective second treatment for patients with T2D and NAFLD who are poorly controlled on metformin.
The fine print
This was a small study. Larger studies are needed to confirm these findings.
If a second medication is needed to control your diabetes speak to your physician about the possible benefits of liraglutide.
Published By :
Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice
Oct 08, 2020
If you sign up for Medivizor, you'll receive PERSONALIZED updates that are JUST FOR YOU. Want to give it a try?