Dulaglutide Reduces Binge Eating in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes

A pilot study from Italy showed the drug was more effective than glicazide.

Binge eating disorder (BED), currently the most common eating disorder in the U.S., often co-occurs with type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In a pilot study, University of Udine, Italy, researchers found that a 12-week course of treatment with  a medication used to manage T2DM, dulaglutide (Trulicity®), led to greater reduction of BED behavior, body weight, and BMI in a study group than among patients treated with another sulfonylurea diabetes medication, glicazide (Diamicron®) (Diabetes & Metabolic Syndrome: Clinical Research & Reviews. 2020; 14:289). [Note: Glicazide has not yet been approved by the FDA and thus is not currently available in the U.S.]  Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP1) receptors in the central nervous system are involved in appetite regulation, and treatment with GLP-1 receptor agonists like dulaglutide affects appetite and reward-related brain areas in humans.

In the 12-week study, Dr. Andrea Da Porto and her colleagues studied patients 65 years of age or younger who had HbA1c levels between 7.5% and 9%, who were taking a standard T2DM medication, metformin alone, and who had normal kidney function and who had been diagnosed with BED. Patients were randomly assigned to receive daily doses of  dulaglutide, 1.5 mg, or glicazide, 60 mg, for 12 weeks. The researchers evaluated baseline and end of treatment BED scale scores, body weight, BMI, percentage fat mass, and HbA1c (to evaluate long-term blood sugar control).

After 12 weeks, patients taking dulaglutide showed much larger improvements across all measures (both ED-related and DM-related) than did those receiving glicazide. Because BED is common in those with T2DM, confirming these results in future studies could provide a useful approach to treatment when these conditions co-occur.

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