Liraglutide for Adolescent Type 2 Diabetes Now Available

A drug called liraglutide can now help children and teens that live with type 2 diabetes. While the drug is not new, it being available to adolescents is new.

Obesity is becoming more common in children and teens and as a result, diabetes is on the rise. A pediatric trial led by Yale recently showed that liraglutide can help control blood glucose levels. The trial is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

What is liraglutide?

Liraglutide is a medication that is most often used for type 2 diabetes and obesity. The drug is also sold under the name Victoza. It was approved for use in the United States in 2010.

Some common side effects are:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pain at the injection site

The study

Previously, the only drugs approved for children and teens with type 2 diabetes were metformin and insulin. According to William Tamborlane, M.D., pediatric endocrinologist at Yale, adding liraglutide to the drug list will be “transformational.”

The trial took place over a year and focused specifically on the effects of liraglutide on blood sugar and A1c levels. The study used a diverse group of 10-16-year-olds who were already taking metformin.

Half of the group took metformin and liraglutide, while the other half took metformin and a placebo. The researchers took the blood sugar and A1c levels after six-months and again after a year.

Six months into the trial, the blood sugar levels were lower in the liraglutide group than the placebo group. The group that took liraglutide had A1c levels 1.06 percentage points lower than the placebo group. After a year into the trial, the liraglutide group had A1c levels 1.3 percentage points lower than the placebo group.

When the trial came to an end, about two-thirds of the liraglutide group had A1c levels that were under the 7 percent goal. In comparison, only one third of the placebo group met that same goal. During the trial, liraglutide was proven to be safe with minimal side effects.