Efficacy of Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists in the Weight Loss Among Obese Individuals: A Systematic Review

Raed Aldahash


Background: Obesity can seriously damage human health and have the potential to raise the likelihood of diabetes mellitus (DM) and other adverse outcomes. Successful therapeutic options and medications have been designed to reduce weight. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1Ras) are recommended to reduce the weight among obese patients either with or without type 2 DM (T2DM). We intended to perform the systematic review to synthesize the findings from the studies that have explored the efficacy of GLP-1Ras in reducing weight among obese individuals.

Methods: A wide range of electronic bibliographic databases such as PubMed, Embase, and ERIC was searched. Based on the eligibility criteria, both observational and non-observational (experimental) studies that assessed the efficacy of GLP-1Ras in reducing weight loss among obese individuals from January 2010 to July 2021 were incorporated in the review. Following screening and assessing the abstracts, we ended up reviewing 20 full-text articles, and data were extracted on important parameters such as country, sample size, type of non-surgical treatment, time of follow-up, and primary outcomes.

Results: Overall, the findings of the systematic review appear promising for the efficacy of different GLP-1Ras in reducing the weight and related parameters of obesity such as body mass index and lean body mass. More precisely, individuals lost weight of about minimum of 5.1 kg and maximum of 6.16 kg in the intervention group or those who were observed to use any type of GLP-1Ras as opposed to 1.6 - 3.97 kg lost among those individuals who did not use any type of GLP-1Ras. These results with their respective effect sizes were statistically significant with a P-value of < 0.05. A wide variety of GLP-1Ras such as liraglutide, exenatide, semaglutide, and dulaglutide are considered safe to reduce weight loss among individuals aged 18 - 65 years. Out of 13 studies included in this review, 12 showed statistically significant results with a P-value of less than 0.05 in all the included studies.

Conclusion: Given their likely advantages further than glycemic control in reducing the weight, GLP-1 agonists may help to treat the obesity either among diabetic or non-diabetic individuals soon. Though, further research studies mainly large clinical trials are required to broaden and completely explain the favorable effects and potential side effects of GLP-1 agonists.

J Endocrinol Metab. 2021;11(5):95-107
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jem745


Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists; Obesity; Weight loss; Systematic review

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