Over one quarter of obese people may have previously undetected or untreated type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance, IGT) according to data presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting in Budapest, Hungary. This translates to around 100 million people worldwide who may be at risk of the serious health problems associated with untreated diabetes.
The data presented at EASD were a new finding of the XENDOS study (Xenical in the prevention of Diabetes in Obese Subjects). The results of the 4 year landmark XENDOS study involving 3304 patients demonstrated that the weight loss medication Xenical can prevent or delay the development of type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the XENDOS study data showed significant and sustained weight loss with Xenical over the long term.
Commenting on the study, XENDOS co-principal investigator Dr Jarl Torgerson said: “This study shows that the scale of the type 2 diabetes epidemic is alarming. Studies like the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) have shown that lifestyle change is the basis of preventing diabetes, but by adding Xenical people could go even further in preventing the disease, and that’s a real breakthrough.”
XENDOS study results showed:
* 28.3% of obese people had previously undetected or untreated diabetes or pre-diabetes
* The risk of having type 2 diabetes increased with increasing Body Mass Index (BMI), increasing age, and male gender
*The risk of developing type 2 diabetes was 37% lower in people treated with Xenical plus lifestyle intervention compared with lifestyle intervention alone
*Weight loss, both in the short and the long term, was significantly greater with Xenical plus lifestyle intervention compared with lifestyle intervention alone (-11.4 vs -7.5 kg at one year and -6.9 vs -4.1kg at four years)
*Xenical-treated patients had significant, sustained, long-term improvements in cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid profiles compared with lifestyle intervention alone
* Treatment with Xenical for 4 years was safe and well-tolerated. Xenical is now the only weight loss medication available whose safety has been studied for this length of time.
Overweight and type 2 diabetes
Excess weight is well recognized as the most important modifiable risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes often goes undetected and therefore untreated for many years. During this period, diabetic complications such as heart disease, nerve damage and stroke can develop.
Worldwide, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is growing at an epidemic rate, with a corresponding surge in the incidence of type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that there are at least 150 million people in the world with diabetes and that type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 per cent of all cases. This figure is expected to double over the next 25 years.
Because of the severe health and cost complications of type 2 diabetes, organizations such as the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) have called for increased efforts to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. President of the IDF, Professor George Alberti, stated recently that “The importance of diabetes prevention cannot be underestimated”.