Patients suffering from high blood pressure, bad cholesterol and diabetes can now rest easy as a new single-shot remedy to cure all three ailments could soon become available.
Liraglutide, a long-acting glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog marketed under the brand name Victoza, could lower blood pressure, raise 'good' cholesterol levels in the body, and also prevent and even cure diabetes, recent studies have revealed.
So, what is it that makes Liraglutide click? Unlike other drugs that normally target the mechanism of production of lipids or insulin, the new formulation achieves all three goals by regulating the appetite to restrict the intake of more dietary stuffs that causes these disease conditions.
Designed to mimic a hormone produced in the bowels to regulate appetite, Liraglutide is capable of tricking the brain into thinking that the stomach full despite eating 20 per cent less food.
Researchers in the UK tested Liraglutide in over 550 obese men and women. A six-month course administered regularly was found to help them shed weight more remarkably than any other currently available slimming drug was capable of inducing.
When the patients continued to take the drug for another 18 months, the weight stayed off and those who tried another leading anti-obesity pill Orlistat started putting on weight, the study reveals. Another feature noticed in the patient groups taking Liraglutide was the significant drop in hypertension, a condition that most of the target group suffered from.
Liraglutide injections also improved blood fats, including cholesterol. Besides, the body's ability to deal with sugar changed considerably resulting in fewer side-effects.
“One of the things we looked at was pre-diabetes, where you have one foot on the slippery slope towards diabetes and heart disease, and it more or less abolished it,” says Prof. Mike Lean, of Glasgow University, who treated some of the Britons in the trial.
The only flip side of the new drug is its cost, estimated currently at approximately £1,000 a year, or almost £3 a day.