3 years of liraglutide versus placebo for type 2 diabetes risk reduction and weight management in individuals with prediabetes: a randomised, double-blind trial


Liraglutide 3·0 mg was shown to reduce bodyweight and improve glucose metabolism after the 56-week period of this trial, one of four trials in the SCALE programme. In the 3-year assessment of the SCALE Obesity and Prediabetes trial we aimed to evaluate the proportion of individuals with prediabetes who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.


In this randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, adults with prediabetes and a body-mass index of at least 30 kg/m2, or at least 27 kg/m2 with comorbidities, were randomised 2:1, using a telephone or web-based system, to once-daily subcutaneous liraglutide 3·0 mg or matched placebo, as an adjunct to a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity. Time to diabetes onset by 160 weeks was the primary outcome, evaluated in all randomised treated individuals with at least one post-baseline assessment. The trial was conducted at 191 clinical research sites in 27 countries and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01272219.


The study ran between June 1, 2011, and March 2, 2015. We randomly assigned 2254 patients to receive liraglutide (n=1505) or placebo (n=749). 1128 (50%) participants completed the study up to week 160, after withdrawal of 714 (47%) participants in the liraglutide group and 412 (55%) participants in the placebo group. By week 160, 26 (2%) of 1472 individuals in the liraglutide group versus 46 (6%) of 738 in the placebo group were diagnosed with diabetes while on treatment. The mean time from randomisation to diagnosis was 99 (SD 47) weeks for the 26 individuals in the liraglutide group versus 87 (47) weeks for the 46 individuals in the placebo group. Taking the different diagnosis frequencies between the treatment groups into account, the time to onset of diabetes over 160 weeks among all randomised individuals was 2·7 times longer with liraglutide than with placebo (95% CI 1·9 to 3·9, p<0·0001), corresponding with a hazard ratio of 0·21 (95% CI 0·13–0·34). Liraglutide induced greater weight loss than placebo at week 160 (–6·1 [SD 7·3] vs −1·9% [6·3]; estimated treatment difference −4·3%, 95% CI −4·9 to −3·7, p<0·0001). Serious adverse events were reported by 227 (15%) of 1501 randomised treated individuals in the liraglutide group versus 96 (13%) of 747 individuals in the placebo group.


In this trial, we provide results for 3 years of treatment, with the limitation that withdrawn individuals were not followed up after discontinuation. Liraglutide 3·0 mg might provide health benefits in terms of reduced risk of diabetes in individuals with obesity and prediabetes.


Liraglutide in people treated for type 2 diabetes with multiple daily insulin injections: randomised clinical trial (MDI Liraglutide trial)

Study question What are the effects of liraglutide, an incretin based treatment, on glycaemic control in people with type 2 diabetes treated with multiple daily insulin injections?

Methods The study was a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial with a parallel group design carried out at 13 hospital based outpatient clinics and one primary care unit in Sweden. Patients were considered eligible for inclusion if they had type 2 diabetes and inadequate glycaemic control (HbA1c concentrations ≥58 mmol/mol (7.5%) and ≤102 mmol/mol (11.5%)), a body mass index of 27.5-45 kg/m2, and required multiple daily insulin injections. Overall, 124 participants were randomised 1:1 to subcutaneous liraglutide or placebo by minimisation allocation. The main outcome measure was change in HbA1c level from baseline to week 24.

Study answer and limitations Liraglutide was associated with a significant reduction of 16.9 mmol/mol (1.5%) in HbA1c versus 4.6 mmol/mol (0.4%) for placebo, difference −12.3 mmol/mol (95% confidence interval −15.8 to −8.8 mmol/mol; −1.13%, −1.45 to −0.81 mmol/mol). Body weight was significantly reduced in participants in the liraglutide compared with placebo group (3.8 v 0.0 kg, difference −3.8, −4.9 to −2.8 kg), and total daily insulin doses were significantly reduced, by 18.1 units and 2.3 units (difference −15.8, −23.1 to −8.5 units). Reductions in mean and standard deviation of glucose levels estimated by masked continuous glucose monitoring were significantly greater in the liraglutide group than placebo group (−1.9 and −0.5 mmol/L). Neither group experienced severe hypoglycaemic events nor were there any significant differences in symptomatic or asymptomatic non-severe hypoglycaemia (<4.0 or < 3.0 mmol/L). The mean number of non-severe symptomatic hypoglycaemic events (<4.0 mmol/L) during follow-up was 1.29 in the liraglutide group and 1.24 in the placebo group (P=0.96). One of the study’s limitations was its relatively short duration. Sustained effects of liraglutide have, however, been found over lengthier periods in connection with other treatment regimens. Cardiovascular safety and potential adverse events during longer exposure to liraglutide need to be evaluated. Nausea was experienced by 21 (32.8%) participants in the liraglutide group and 5 (7.8%) in the placebo group and 3 (5%) and 4 (7%) participants in these groups, respectively, had any serious adverse event.

What this study adds Adding liraglutide to multiple daily insulin injections in people with type 2 diabetes improves glycaemic control without an increased risk of hypoglycaemia, reduces body weight, and enables patients to lower their insulin doses.

Funding, competing interests, data sharing This study was an investigator initiated trial, supported in part by Novo Nordisk and InfuCare. Potential competing interests have been reported and are available on thebmj.com.

Study registration EudraCT 2012-001941-42.

Liraglutide in people treated for type 2 diabetes with multiple daily insulin injections: randomised clinical trial (MDI Liraglutide trial) by Marcus Lind et al.

Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial

Importance Weight loss of 5% to 10% can improve type 2 diabetes and related comorbidities. Few safe, effective weight-management drugs are currently available.

Objective To investigate efficacy and safety of liraglutide vs placebo for weight management in adults with overweight or obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Design, Setting, and Participants Fifty-six–week randomized (2:1:1), double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group trial with 12-week observational off-drug follow-up period. The study was conducted at 126 sites in 9 countries between June 2011 and January 2013. Of 1361 participants assessed for eligibility, 846 were randomized. Inclusion criteria were body mass index of 27.0 or greater, age 18 years or older, taking 0 to 3 oral hypoglycemic agents (metformin, thiazolidinedione, sulfonylurea) with stable body weight, and glycated hemoglobin level 7.0% to 10.0%.

Interventions Once-daily, subcutaneous liraglutide (3.0 mg) (n = 423), liraglutide (1.8 mg) (n = 211), or placebo (n = 212), all as adjunct to 500 kcal/d dietary deficit and increased physical activity (≥150 min/wk).

Main Outcomes and Measures Three coprimary end points: relative change in weight, proportion of participants losing 5% or more, or more than 10%, of baseline weight at week 56.

Results Baseline weight was 105.7 kg with liraglutide (3.0-mg dose), 105.8 kg with liraglutide (1.8-mg dose), and 106.5 kg with placebo. Weight loss was 6.0% (6.4 kg) with liraglutide (3.0-mg dose), 4.7% (5.0 kg) with liraglutide (1.8-mg dose), and 2.0% (2.2 kg) with placebo (estimated difference for liraglutide [3.0 mg] vs placebo, −4.00% [95% CI, −5.10% to −2.90%]; liraglutide [1.8 mg] vs placebo, −2.71% [95% CI, −4.00% to −1.42%]; P < .001 for both). Weight loss of 5% or greater occurred in 54.3% with liraglutide (3.0 mg) and 40.4% with liraglutide (1.8 mg) vs 21.4% with placebo (estimated difference for liraglutide [3.0 mg] vs placebo, 32.9% [95% CI, 24.6% to 41.2%]; for liraglutide [1.8 mg] vs placebo, 19.0% [95% CI, 9.1% to 28.8%]; P < .001 for both). Weight loss greater than 10% occurred in 25.2% with liraglutide (3.0 mg) and 15.9% with liraglutide (1.8 mg) vs 6.7% with placebo (estimated difference for liraglutide [3.0 mg] vs placebo, 18.5% [95% CI, 12.7% to 24.4%], P < .001; for liraglutide [1.8 mg] vs placebo, 9.3% [95% CI, 2.7% to 15.8%], P = .006). More gastrointestinal disorders were reported with liraglutide (3.0 mg) vs liraglutide (1.8 mg) and placebo. No pancreatitis was reported.

Conclusions and Relevance Among overweight and obese participants with type 2 diabetes, use of subcutaneous liraglutide (3.0 mg) daily, compared with placebo, resulted in weight loss over 56 weeks. Further studies are needed to evaluate longer-term efficacy and safety.

Efficacy of Liraglutide for Weight Loss Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: The SCALE Diabetes Randomized Clinical Trial by Melanie J. Davies, et al. for the NN8022-1922 Study Group JAMA. 2015;314(7):687-699