A new study published in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health reveals that the diabetes drug dulaglutide (Trulicity) could significantly reduce the risk of major weight gain in women after quitting smoking.
This finding is crucial, considering that women are five times more likely than men to gain considerable weight post-smoking cessation.
The secondary analysis of clinical trial data suggests that women are more likely to relapse into smoking, potentially due to concerns about weight gain, although concrete evidence for this is lacking.
The original clinical trial showed that dulaglutide, compared with a placebo, notably reduced weight gain in individuals who had stopped smoking. However, whether this effect was gender-specific was unclear.
Researchers re-examined data from this trial, focusing on gender differences in weight changes during the 12 weeks after attempting to quit smoking. The trial involved 255 adults, including 155 women, with an average age of 42 to 44 years.
These participants, who had been smoking an average of 20 cigarettes daily for 19 to 22 years, received either weekly injections of dulaglutide or a dummy treatment. They also took the smoking cessation drug varenicline and underwent behavioral counseling for 12 weeks.
Dulaglutide works by mimicking the effects of the GLP-1 hormone, which is produced in the gut in response to food. This hormone helps regulate blood glucose levels and weight gain.
At the start of the trial, women’s average weight was just over 72 kilograms (BMI 26), and men’s average weight was over 92.5 kilograms (BMI 29). After 12 weeks, women on dulaglutide lost around 1-2 kilograms, compared to a weight gain of about 2-2.5 kilograms in those receiving the dummy treatment.
Men on dulaglutide lost just over half a kilogram, compared to a weight gain of around 2 kilograms in the dummy group.
Although overall weight change did not differ significantly between genders, women were more prone to significant weight gain. Dulaglutide substantially reduced the risk of major weight gain (defined as an increase of more than 6%) among women.
In the dummy treatment group, substantial weight gain was almost five times as common in women as in men. However, only 1% of women on dulaglutide experienced significant weight gain, compared to 24% in the dummy group. No such effects were observed in men.
Surprisingly, despite its positive impact on weight, dulaglutide did not influence short-term smoking quit rates in either men or women.
The researchers caution that the risk of weight gain after quitting smoking may vary over time or depend on factors like nicotine dependence or age.
Nonetheless, their findings suggest that dulaglutide could be particularly beneficial for women at high risk of substantial weight gain after quitting smoking and for individuals of both genders who have struggled with previous cessation attempts due to weight gain concerns.
This discovery opens new possibilities for supporting smoking cessation efforts, especially among those who are apprehensive about post-cessation weight gain.
The research findings can be found in BMJ Nutrition Prevention & Health.
Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.