Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that produces diabetes drug Victoza, is aiming to add weight loss as an approved treatment condition for the drug. Studies show that taking Victoza can lower body mass by 5 – 10% when following a sensible diet and exercise plan. The drug has been tested for weight loss on those with and without diabetes, and the results have not varied.
While Victoza has not yet been officially approved for weight loss, it has been a hugely popular drug for Novo Nordisk and this is likely due to consumers utilizing the drug for off-label purposes. In 2012, sales increased by 58 percent and another 14 percent in the third quarter of 2013. The company filed two submissions for approval to the FDA in December to prescribe the drug for weight-loss, however the drug is currently available and legal to prescribe to diabetes patients.
Victoza causes weight loss by slowing digestion and stimulating the production of insulin, and the higher the dose, the higher the weight loss. A study done by the University of Copenhagen yielded a 16 pound average weight loss in participants who took a 3.0 mg dose, while those who took between 1.2 and 2.4 mg doses lost between 10 and 13 pounds.
There have been concerns regarding the side effects of Victoza, among which are increased risk of pancreatitis and thyroid tumors. The Victoza commercial lists many more, and created waves when it was released this past fall as it overwhelmingly consists of warnings instead of positive benefits of taking the drug.
Regardless of potentially harmful side effects, when the drug is approved for weight loss it will doubtless be a huge success for Novo Nordisk, if past releases of approved weight loss drugs are any indication. At least this one doesn’t make you poop your pants.
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