Diabetes drug appears to prevent substantial weight gain in female ex-smokers

Written by | 22 Dec 2023 | Endocrine System

Dulaglutide.  a Type 2 diabetes treatment, appears to significantly lower the risk of weight gain among women who have stopped smoking, researchers reported after a secondary analysis of clinical trial data.

They published their findings on Dec. 19, 2023 in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.

As background, the authors noted, “Women seem to have more difficulty quitting smoking than men. This is particularly concerning as smoking puts women at a higher risk of developing smoking-associated diseases.”

Findings from a previously published trial indicated that dulaglutide significantly reduced weight gain in those of both genders who quit smoking. But the prior analysis did not determine whether weight loss was specific to gender.

In this new analysis, the investigators re-analysed the data for gender differences in weight loss or gain during 12 weeks after smoking cessation.

They included 255 adults in the analysis. All had been daily smokers (155 women, 100 men).

All subjects had received weekly dulaglutide (1.5 mg) or placebo (0.9% sodium chloride). In addition, all received standard smoking cessation care including varenicline 2 mg/day plus behavioral counselling, which lasted for 12 weeks.

The investigators defined “substantial weight gain” as an increase of more than 6% in body weight.

The investigators found that women were more likely than men to put on substantial weight during the timeframe of the study.

Dulaglutide treatment was associated with a significantly lower risk of substantial weight gain among the women.

Substantial weight gain among subjects in the placebo treatment cohorts (not receiving dulaglutide) was much more frequent in women than in men, 24% for women vs 5% for men.

Notably, substantial weight gain in women treated with dulaglutide was significantly less common than those who did not get the drug, 1% (1 out of 83) vs 24% (17 out of 72) (p<0.001).

Similar statistically significant weight gain effects did not appear among the men, 0% (0/44) in the dulaglutide-treated group vs 5% (3/56) in the placebo-treated group.

“Dulaglutide reduced post-cessation weight gain in both genders and was very effective in preventing substantial weight gain, which seems to be a   specific observation in females,” the authors concluded.

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