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Liraglutide

Liraglutide

Liraglutide is mainly used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. It stimulates the release of a hormone known as insulin, which brings down the levels of blood sugar. The more insulin that the pancreas secretes, the lower the chance that blood sugars will spike up.  There’s increasing evidence that suggests that this medication can offer other health benefits.

Overall Health Benefits

  • Treats diabetes [1-7]
  • Lowers risk of heart disease [8-16]
  • Lowers blood pressure [17-22]
  • Helps lose weight [23-28]
  • Accelerates wound healing [29-33]
  • Prevents cancer [34-37]
  • Boosts brain power [38-52]

Proven Health Benefits

Treats Diabetes

Several studies support the primary benefit of liraglutide:

  1. In diabetic patients, liraglutide significantly improved blood sugar control with a low risk of hypoglycemia (abnormally low blood sugar). [1]
  2. In children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D), a daily dose of liraglutide produced beneficial effects in controlling blood sugar levels. [2]
  3. In patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D), liraglutide plus insulin treatment was effective at lowering blood sugar levels. [3]
  4. In patients with T2D, liraglutide monotherapy or in combination with oral antidiabetic drugs was found to be efficacious and well-tolerated. [4]
  5. In patients with T2D, liraglutide treatment was effective in improving the symptoms associated with diabetes. [5]
  6. In overweight diabetic patients, liraglutide treatment resulted in reduced risk of complications. [6]
  7. In diabetic patients undergoing intensive insulin therapy, liraglutide treatment improved blood sugar control. [7]

Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Liraglutide has also been found to possess cardioprotective effects:

  1. In patients with advanced type 2 diabetes, liraglutide therapy significantly lowered the mortality rate from cardiovascular causes. [8]
  2. In diabetic patients, treatment with liraglutide was associated with reduced cases of cardiovascular-related deaths. [9]
  3. In patients with type 2 diabetes, liraglutide was shown to have beneficial effects on the function of the heart’s left ventricle. [10]
  4. A review of studies reported that liraglutide treatment lowered the risk of heart problems in diabetic patients. [11]
  5. In diabetic patients with high cardiovascular risk, liraglutide treatment lowered the cardiovascular outcomes. [12]
  6. A study showed that the use of liraglutide was associated with lower risk of major heart diseases. [13]
  7. Liraglutide treatment was shown to be beneficial in patients with or without a history of heart failure. [14]
  8. In diabetic patients, liraglutide administration greatly lowered the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events. [15]
  9. In diabetic patients with coronary artery disease, monotherapy of liraglutide improved cardiovascular function. [16]

Lowers Blood Pressure

Liraglutide can also help lower abnormally high blood pressure:

  1. A review of studies showed that liraglutide could significantly reduce blood pressure (BP). [17]
  2. In diabetic patients, treatment with liraglutide successfully reduced BP and provided extra cardiovascular benefits. [18]
  3. In diabetic patients, liraglutide produced systolic blood pressure (SBP) and weight reduction effects. [19]
  4. In diabetic patients with or without antihypertensive medication, liraglutide treatment greatly improved their SBP. [20]
  5. In Asian diabetic patients, daily administration of liraglutide resulted in significantly lowered SBP. [21]
  6. In patients with type 2 diabetes, liraglutide treatment lowered SBP. [22]

Helps Lose Weight

Taking liraglutide can also help improve body composition by promoting weight loss:

  1. In patients with heart failure, liraglutide treatment was shown to be effective as a weight-loss agent. [23]
  2. In Asian patients, liraglutide produced weight-reducing effects. [24]
  3. When combined with a healthy diet and mild exercise, liraglutide was shown to produce significant weight reduction. [25]
  4. In obese Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes, daily injection of liraglutide greatly reduced their weight and waist circumference. [26]
  5. In obese patients with type 2 diabetes, prolonged liraglutide treatment reduced body weight. [27]
  6. In overweight adults with bodyweight-related disease, the addition of liraglutide to a healthy diet and exercise resulted in weight reduction. [28]

Accelerates Wound Healing

Liraglutide is also a great option for the treatment of non-healing wounds:

  1. In diabetic mice with skin ulcers, the application of liraglutide-containing ointment improved wound healing. [29]
  2. A study suggested that liraglutide can help treat diabetic foot ulcer possibly by reducing blood sugar levels. [30]
  3. In patients with diabetic wounds, the application of liraglutide-loaded PLGA/gelatin electrospun nanofibrous mats accelerated the wound repair process. [31]
  4. In mice, liraglutide improved wound healing and showed its potential in treating diabetic skin ulcers. [32]
  5. In patients with type 2 diabetes, liraglutide treatment was associated with reduced risk of diabetes-related foot ulcer amputations. [33]

Prevents Cancer

Liraglutide has also been shown to possess potent anti-cancer properties:

  1. The combined treatment of liraglutide and docetaxel (anti-cancer drug) worked synergistically in reducing the prostate cancer cells’ viability, causing cell cycle arrest, and inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). [34]
  2. A review of studies showed that liraglutide treatment resulted in reduced multiplication of breast cancer cells. [35]
  3. A study reported that liraglutide treatment together with metformin produced anti-tumor effects against pancreatic cancer cells. [36]
  4. In pancreatic cancer cells, liraglutide inhibited cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. [37]

Boosts Brain Power

A number of convincing studies found that liraglutide has cognitive-enhancing properties:

  1. In mice, liraglutide administration produced neuroprotective effects. [38]
  2. A study showed that liraglutide has beneficial effects on objective measures of cognitive function. [39]
  3. In mice, liraglutide prevented the loss of brain receptors and synapses, and reversed memory impairment induced by Alzheimer’s disease (AD). [40]
  4. In medication-induced diabetic mice that exhibited impaired learning and memory, liraglutide treatment attenuated these effects. [41]
  5. A study showed that liraglutide can help treat AD by targeting the root cause of the disease. [42]
  6. In rats with ovarian cysts, liraglutide treatment reduced memory impairment. [43]
  7. In type 2 diabetic rats, liraglutide administration exerted a protective effect against brain cell damage. [44]
  8. In diabetic rats with cognitive impairment, liraglutide improved learning and memory. [45]
  9. In the mouse model of epilepsy, liraglutide reduced seizure susceptibility and cognitive dysfunction, and exerted neuroprotective effects. [46]
  10. A study showed that liraglutide protected against diabetes-induced cognitive impairment. [47]
  11. In diabetic mice, liraglutide administration improved cognitive function. [48]
  12. In mice fed with a high-fat diet, liraglutide treatment improved metabolic parameters and had a beneficial effect on cognitive function. [49]
  13. In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, liraglutide administration significantly increased memory retention and total number of brain neurons. [50]
  14. In aged mice, liraglutide reversed memory impairment and synaptic loss, and reduced plaque load. [51]
  15. In diabetic patients, liraglutide slowed down memory function decline. [52]

References:

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  36. Ketan Dhatariya, Stephen C. Bain, John B. Buse, Richard Simpson, Lise Tarnow, Margit Staum Kaltoft, Michael Stellfeld, Karen Tornøe, Richard E. Pratley, the LEADER Publication Committee on behalf of the LEADER Trial Investigators

Diabetes Care Oct 2018, 41 (10) 2229-2235; DOI: 10.2337/dc18-1094.

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