FDA: Liraglutide Safe for Obesity Treatment

FDA panel recommends liraglutide for approval

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) On Sept. 10, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new weight-loss medicine called Contrave. Today, an FDA panel voted to approve another weight-loss medicine.

An FDA advisory panel voted today to recommend liraglutide for treatment of obese patients who have weight-related health conditions. 

The medicine, which is already an approved diabetes treatment (brand name Victoza), is safe and effective, according to the FDA panel.

"Talk to your pharmacist about new treatments for obesity."

While liraglutide is not yet approved, the FDA often follows suggestions its panels make, reports Reuters. The panel voted 14 to 1 in favor of approval.

One study found that around half of patients who received liraglutide lost more than 5 percent of their body weight. And 22 percent lost more than 10 percent. Doctors gave the patients a 3-milligram dose each day, Reuters reports.

The only panel member to vote against approval cited concerns about increased cancer risks. These concerns come from a Sept. 9 FDA report that noted an increase in breast tumors in women taking liraglutide. The report said the data did not prove or disprove increased cancer risk.

Despite these concerns and an association with increased heart rate and gallbladder trouble, most of the panel members believed the benefits outweighed the risks.

"Overall, there is a benefit," panel member Dr. William Hiatt, of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, told Reuters. "If you lose weight in this manner, patients can report an improvement in their quality of life and in their physical functioning."

If liraglutide is approved, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk will sell it under the brand name Saxenda.

Review Date: 
September 12, 2014
Last Updated:
September 15, 2014