Drug Can Dramatically Reduce Weight of People With Obesity


Source: University of Leeds

Summary: According to a new research, a drug can target appetite control system of the brain and can be responsible for significant weight loss in people with obesity.


Researchers at the University of Leeds found that a drug can target appetite control system of the brain and can be responsible for significant weight loss in people with obesity. People lost 5kg (11 lbs) in 12 weeks period on average after the taking the weekly doses of semaglutide (a drug being developed to treat diabetes). Semaglutide is a novel drug being developed by a Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk for treating diabetes. They found that most of the weight loss came from the reduction in the body fat. The drug helped in reducing food cravings and decrease their preferences for high-fat content foods. The study was published in the journal Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism.

Semaglutide to treat diabetes

The chemical structure of semaglutide is very much similar to the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1 (Glucagon-like-Peptide 1) which is believed to act on hypothalamus in the brain specifically on the appetite control center to reduce the feeling of hunger. During the study, the drug was given to 28 people with a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 to 45 kg/m2 which mean they were very obese with high body fat. The participants were split into two groups – half were given semaglutide and the other half were given a placebo (dummy) substance for 12 weeks. After 12 weeks the participants were tested for – food preferences, sensations of liking and wanting food, body weight, body composition and body fat percentage. Researchers finally found in the participants that amount of food consumed was 24% less with semaglutide. It was concluded that fat loss generated by the drug is attributed to better control over appetite.

John Blundell, the lead researcher said, “What was striking was the potency of the drug’s action. We saw results in 12 weeks which may take as long as six months with other anti-obesity medication”, “The drug reduced hunger but also cravings for food and the sensation of wanting to eat — and these had previously been thought to stem from different parts of the brain.”


More Information: John Blundell et al. “Effects of once-weekly semaglutide on appetite, energy intake, control of eating, food preference and body weight in subjects with obesity”, Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism (2017).

DOI: 10.1111/dom.12932


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