The prevalence of obesity worldwide has nearly doubled since 1980 with current estimates of 2.1 billion in 2013. Overweight and obesity lead to numerous adverse conditions including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and certain cancers. The worldwide spread of obesity and associated comorbidities not only threatens quality of life but also presents a significant economic burden. While bariatric surgery has proven to be a viable treatment option for the morbidly obese, there is clearly a need for less invasive alternatives. Recent research has suggested that long-acting analogs of the gut hormone, glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), may have potential as an antiobesity treatment. The GLP-1 receptor agonist, liraglutide (trade name Saxenda), was recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration as an obesity treatment option and shown in clinical trials to be effective in reducing and sustaining body weight loss. This review presents the basis for GLP-1-based therapies with a specific focus on animal and human studies examining liraglutide's effects on food intake and body weight.
Keywords: exenatide; glucagon-like peptide 1; liraglutide; obesity.