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expert reaction to study on hormone injection and weight loss

A study, published in Diabetes Care, reports a hormone injection that can cause weight loss in obese patients with prediabetes or diabetes.


Prof Lora Heisler, Chair in Human Nutrition, Rowett Institute, University of Aberdeen

“This study adds to emerging evidence of the potential benefit of future medications that are a combination of gut hormones for the treatment of obesity.  The idea behind this type of drug discovery came about when scientists observed an increase in gut hormones being pumped out in response to food in patients who received bariatric surgery.  These researchers wondered, could the same sorts of benefits be found if patients were given the hormones instead of the surgery?  Though the results thus far are promising, more work is required.  It is important to put this into perspective, in this study, only 15 people received the “GOP” hormones for 4 weeks.  Much larger studies (i.e. thousands of people) and much longer treatment periods are required to understand the potential of this treatment.  It is also important to note that the dieting group lost more weight (8 kg) on average than the people received the GOP hormones (4 kg). So, one take home message is – for most of us, dieting is a better strategy.”


Prof  Susan Jebb, Professor of Diet and Population Health, University of Oxford, said:

“This is a very small mechanistic study to look for signs of early effectiveness of a new treatment for obesity. It compares 15 people who had an infusion of the potential new treatment with 11 who had a saline infusion.  Both groups lost weight over 4 weeks of treatment. The weight loss in the active treatment group was -4.4 kg and in the saline group -2.5 kg. The differences between groups were not statistically significant meaning they could be down to chance. This is an interesting exploratory study but we cannot make any conclusion at all about its role in treating obesity until we see the results of a full clinical trial.” 


‘Combined GLP-1, Oxyntomodulin, and Peptide YY Improves Body Weight and Glycemia in Obesity and Prediabetes/Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized, Single-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled Study’ by Preeshila Behary et al. was published in Diabetes Care.



Declared interests

Prof Lora Heisler: No declarations of interest

Prof  Susan Jebb:  No conflicts of interest in relation to this study

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