The first injectable anti-obesity drug
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of Novo Nordisk's antidiabetic drug liraglutide as a treatment for obesity. This is the first injectable drug that will be used to reduce body weight.
The drug, which will appear on the market under the brand name Saxenda, is approved for use by obese and overweight adults who have at least one medical problem associated with excess weight. Such problems include type 2 diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure and high cholesterol in the blood.
In 2010, the FDA approved liraglutide as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It is currently sold under the brand name Victoza. The new version of the drug – saxenda – will contain a higher dosage of the active ingredient than victoza.
Liraglutide belongs to a new class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. These drugs act by increasing the production of insulin by the pancreas after eating.
Over the past few years, the FDA has approved three tablet drugs for the treatment of obesity: Vivus' Qsymia and Arena Pharmaceuticals' Belviq in 2012, and Orexigen Therapeutics' Contrave in September 2104. However, contrary to analysts' forecasts, these drugs did not attract much attention from potential patients due to limited insurance coverage and high cost.
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FDA clears Novo Nordisk's weight loss drug Saxenda.