Results from a human trial of 632 patients found semaglutide allowed 71 per cent of them to shed pounds – it is believed this is the first type 2 diabetes pill to instigate weight loss.
Researchers hope semaglutide will offer a better way to control the hidden killer, as some treatments currently available can trigger unexpected weight gain which fuels type 2 diabetes.
Results from the phase II trial carried out by the Leicester Diabetes Centre were published in the prestigious JAMA. Semaglutide could be available on the NHS within three years.The pill was handed as an add-on to patients already taking Metformin – the drug is the first line of defence to control the preventable condition.
Researchers discovered semaglutide stopped type 2 diabetes in its tracks, slashed blood sugar levels and prevented patients from needing insulin.
Type 2 diabetes can lead to heart failure, blindness and leg amputations and is deemed a global time bomb.
Spiraling obesity rates have fuelled a 65 per cent rise in diagnoses in a decade, with more than 4 million people now living with the condition, UK data shows. Globally there are 380 million patients.
Charities have warned the NHS will become crippled by the burden of the condition without urgent action to make changes to today’s lifestyles.
Professor Melanie Davies, lead author, dubbed the results ‘hugely promising’ and said they show ‘semaglutide’s ability to lower HbA1c and support weight loss’.
Lead author Professor Melanie Davies said taking semaglutide as a pill may provide relief to some diabetics who ‘struggle injecting themselves’.
She told MailOnline:
‘For some patients injectable therapies are a problem, so having something available orally makes it more accessible to some patients.
‘We know that it is a bit of a barrier to people and anything that makes treatment more accessible and easier has got to be seen as good.
Professor Davies added: ‘Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition with potentially devastating complications which is posing a major challenge to health services across the world because of the increasing numbers of people developing it.
‘These results demonstrating semaglutide’s ability to have a significant impact on lowering HbA1c and support weight loss when taken orally therefore are hugely promising.’
Experts have welcomed the ‘encouraging’ findings.