The Road Ahead

Advancing Obesity Care in Step with Diabetes Care

A new review of advances in obesity care adds reasons to think that these advances are synergistic with advances in diabetes care. John Dixon highlights three major advances in obesity care from 2015 and all of them relate to diabetes as well.

  1. Liraglutide. Dixon cites impressive evidence that this drug, newly indicated for obesity treatment, is not only effective for treating obesity, but also had a significant effect in preventing people from progressing to type 2 diabetes. Under the brand name Saxenda, liraglutide has surpassed modest sales expectations in its first year of availability from Novo Nordisk.
  2. Empagliflozin. This new diabetes drug, an SGLT2 inhibitor, was shown to yield both a significant reduction in mortality and a modest, sustained reduction in weight for people with type 2 diabetes. Just this week, the makers of empagliflozin, Eli Lilly and Co, announced that utilization of their drug was rising significantly in response to these clinical results.
  3. Bariatric Surgery. A five-year randomized, controlled trial showed that bariatric surgery is superior to medical therapy for treatment of type 2 diabetes in patients with obesity. This study adds to growing evidence in support of bariatric surgery as an important treatment option for type 2 diabetes.

Much work remains to be done to advance obesity care, as Dixon notes:

Bias, unfounded assumptions about lifestyle choices and a lack of knowledge about the pathophysiology of the disease creates a blame culture that results in therapeutic inertia, rather than escalation of intervention intensity in line with increasing disease severity to improve health outcomes.

The challenge is clear. The burden of severe obesity is growing. Untreated, it will bring a crushing burden of other chronic diseases. Parallel advances in diabetes and obesity care give us confidence that healthcare providers will meet this challenge.

Click here to read Dixon’s review in Nature Reviews Endocrinology.

The Road Ahead, photograph © Several Seconds / flickr

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January 7, 2016

One Response to “Advancing Obesity Care in Step with Diabetes Care”

  1. January 07, 2016 at 8:37 am, Allen Browne said:

    John – as usual – nails a bunch of things. very useful article.