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New drug liraglutide can reduce risk of developing diabetes

An injected drug that reduces blood sugar and promotes weight loss can cut the chances of at-risk patients developing type 2 diabetes by 80%, research has shown.

The drug, liraglutide, interacts with brain regions that control appetite and energy intake.

A major international trial found that treatment with liraglutide had a dramatic effect on diabetes risk in obese and "pre-diabetes" patients en route to becoming chronically diabetic.

One in 10 of the UK population is thought to have pre-diabetes, a metabolic condition closely tied to obesity.

Study participants were randomly given either liraglutide or a placebo drug injected under the skin once a day for three years.

They were also placed on a reduced calorie diet and advised to take more exercise.

Compared with the placebo group, patients receiving the genuine treatment were 80% less likely to go on to develop type 2 diabetes.

Belfast Telegraph