15% loss is a ‘reachable’ goal
Dr. Lingvay and coauthors acknowledged that weight loss of less than 15% can benefit many patients with type 2 diabetes, but they felt that a loss of at least 15% gives patients a realistic and potentially potent goal to strive for.
At least 15% loss “is a goal that is beneficial and reachable for many patients. Not everyone will get there, but the closer that patients get to this, or beyond, the bigger their benefit,” she explained. “There is no magic number” for exactly how much weight a patient needs to lose to improve their health. Dr. Lingvay also highlighted that weight loss is a better target for patients than remission of their diabetes because remission may no longer be possible in patients with longstanding type 2 diabetes.
The review divides patients with type 2 diabetes into three subgroups: those with adiposity-related disease, which includes about 40%-70% of patients with type 2 diabetes; patients with cardiovascular disease as their most prominent comorbidity, a subgroup that includes about a third of patients with type 2 diabetes; and the remaining patients with primarily beta-cell dysfunction with a principle morbidity of hyperglycemia, comprising about 10%-20% of patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients in the adiposity-related diabetes subgroup form the primary target group for interventions focused on weight loss.
Incretin-based weight-loss agents propel change.
The review also links the timing of the new recommendations to recent evidence that treatment with relatively new medications from classes such as the GLP-1 receptor agonists can produce weight loss of at least 15% in most patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those with the adiposity-related form of the disease.
“The number of patients who can achieve and maintain weight loss with lifestyle alone is limited, and while bariatric surgery is very effective [for producing substantial weight loss], only a minority of patients have access to it,” and the necessary scalability of surgery is doubtful, said, an endocrinologist and leader of the obesity research group at the University of Melbourne, and a coauthor on the new review. Compelling evidence now exists that the gap between lifestyle interventions and bariatric surgery can now be filled by a new generation of incretin-based agents that can safely produce substantial weight loss.
New agents that work as GLP-1 receptor agonists and on related incretin pathways “have changed how we think about treating type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Lingvay declared.
Dr. Lingvay and Dr. Del Prato have each been consultants to numerous drug companies. Dr. Sumithran has been an adviser to and speaker on behalf of Novo Nordisk. Dr. El Sayed, Dr. Halford, and Dr. Chambers had no relevant disclosures.