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.