Effect of Naltrexone-Bupropion on Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events in Overweight and Obese Patients With Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Importance  Few cardiovascular outcomes trials have been conducted for obesity treatments. Withdrawal of 2 marketed drugs has resulted in controversy about the cardiovascular safety of obesity agents.

Objective  To determine whether the combination of naltrexone and bupropion increases major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE, defined as cardiovascular death, nonfatal stroke, or nonfatal myocardial infarction) compared with placebo in overweight and obese patients.

Design, Setting, and Participants  Randomized, multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind noninferiority trial enrolling 8910 overweight or obese patients at increased cardiovascular risk from June 13, 2012, to January 21, 2013, at 266 US centers. After public release of confidential interim data by the sponsor, the academic leadership of the study recommended termination of the trial and the sponsor agreed.

Interventions  An Internet-based weight management program was provided to all participants. Participants were randomized to receive placebo (n=4454) or naltrexone, 32 mg/d, and bupropion, 360 mg/d (n=4456).

Main Outcomes and Measures  Time from randomization to first confirmed occurrence of a MACE. The primary analysis planned to assess a noninferiority hazard ratio (HR) of 1.4 after 378 expected events, with a confidential interim analysis after approximately 87 events (25% interim analysis) to assess a noninferiority HR of 2.0 for consideration of regulatory approval.

Results  Among the 8910 participants randomized, mean age was 61.0 years (SD, 7.3 years), 54.5% were female, 32.1% had a history of cardiovascular disease, and 85.2% had diabetes, with a median body mass index of 36.6 (interquartile range, 33.1-40.9). For the 25% interim analysis, MACE occurred in 59 placebo-treated patients (1.3%) and 35 naltrexone-bupropion–treated patients (0.8%; HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.39-0.90). After 50% of planned events, MACE occurred in 102 patients (2.3%) in the placebo group and 90 patients (2.0%) in the naltrexone-bupropion group (HR, 0.88; adjusted 99.7% CI, 0.57-1.34). Adverse effects were more common in the naltrexone-bupropion group, including gastrointestinal events in 14.2% vs 1.9% (P < .001) and central nervous system symptoms in 5.1% vs 1.2% (P < .001).

Conclusions and Relevance  Among overweight or obese patients at increased cardiovascular risk, based on the interim analyses performed after 25% and 50% of planned events, the upper limit of the 95% CI of the HR for MACE for naltrexone-bupropion treatment, compared with placebo, did not exceed 2.0. However, because of the unanticipated early termination of the trial, it is not possible to assess noninferiority for the prespecified upper limit of 1.4. Accordingly, the cardiovascular safety of this treatment remains uncertain and will require evaluation in a new adequately powered outcome trial.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01601704

By Steven E. Nissen et al, JAMA. 2016;315(10):990-1004. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.1558.

Metformin versus Placebo in Obese Pregnant Women without Diabetes Mellitus


Obesity is associated with an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Lifestyle-intervention studies have not shown improved outcomes. Metformin improves insulin sensitivity and in pregnant patients with gestational diabetes it leads to less weight gain than occurs in those who do not take metformin.


In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned pregnant women without diabetes who had a body-mass index (BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of more than 35 to receive metformin, at a dose of 3.0 g per day, or placebo (225 women in each group) from 12 to 18 weeks of gestation until delivery. The BMI was calculated at the time of study entry (12 to 18 weeks of gestation). The primary outcome was a reduction in the median neonatal birth-weight z score by 0.3 SD (equivalent to a 50% reduction, from 20% to 10%, in the incidence of large-for-gestational-age neonates). Secondary outcomes included maternal gestational weight gain and the incidence of gestational diabetes and of preeclampsia, as well as the incidence of adverse neonatal outcomes. Randomization was performed with the use of computer-generated random numbers. The analysis was performed according to the intention-to-treat principle.


A total of 50 women withdrew consent during the trial, which left 202 women in the metformin group and 198 in the placebo group. There was no significant between-group difference in the median neonatal birth-weight z score (0.05 in the metformin group [interquartile range, −0.71 to 0.92] and 0.17 in the placebo group [interquartile range, −0.62 to 0.89], P=0.66). The median maternal gestational weight gain was lower in the metformin group than in the placebo group (4.6 kg [interquartile range, 1.3 to 7.2] vs. 6.3 kg [interquartile range, 2.9 to 9.2], P<0.001), as was the incidence of preeclampsia (3.0% vs. 11.3%; odds ratio, 0.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.10 to 0.61; P=0.001). The incidence of side effects was higher in the metformin group than in the placebo group. There were no significant between-group differences in the incidence of gestational diabetes, large-for-gestational-age neonates, or adverse neonatal outcomes.


Among women without diabetes who had a BMI of more than 35, the antenatal administration of metformin reduced maternal weight gain but not neonatal birth weight. (Funded by the Fetal Medicine Foundation; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01273584; EudraCT number, 2008-005892-83.)

By Argyro Syngelaki et al, N Engl J Med 2016; 374:434-443

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