This weight loss drug works, but if you combine it with exercise, it works much better

This weight loss drug works, but if you combine it with exercise, it works much better

Saxenda (liraglutide) is a drug approved in the United States to stimulate and maintain weight loss when added to calorie reduction and exercise. The medicine is given by injection every day .

So far, however, it has not been rigorously tested whether drug plus exercise is better than drug alone, or exercise alone.

First Saxenda and exercise combo trial

A new trial, published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine , did just that. And he found that for a year, the drug and exercise combination outweighed the others , helping people lose more pounds and specifically lose body fat.

In the trial, the researchers recruited 195 obese adults who spent eight weeks on a low-calorie diet . They were then randomly assigned to one of four groups: medication plus exercise; medication only; exercise only; or a placebo group given inactive ‘medication’ and told to stay at their usual activity level.

After one year, the medication / exercise group had lost 16% of their starting weight , on average. That compared to 11% in the exercise group and 13% in the medication group.

The combined approach was also more effective at changing body composition: Those patients lost about twice as much body fat and trimmed more from the waistline, compared to those who only used either strategy. They also preserved their muscle mass .

There are several drugs approved in the United States to help you lose weight. They include Xenical (orlistat), Qsymia (phentermine-topiramate), and Contrave (naltrexone-bupropion).

Liraglutide is sold under two brand names: Saxenda, the weight loss medicine, and Victoza, for type 2 diabetes. Saxenda contains a higher dose of liraglutide and works by mimicking the action of an appetite hormone called GLP-1.