Data from the LEADER trial showed liraglutide was able to safely and effectively lower the overall risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death among patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Also, there was a reduction in all-cause mortality and kidney disease. Full study findings are published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

The LEADER (Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes – Evaluation of Cardiovascular Outcome Results) trial was a randomized, double-blind study evaluating 9,340 adults with type 2 diabetes at high risk for heart disease. Patients were randomized to either liraglutide or placebo and followed for an average of 3.8 years. They were evaluated for clinical events and compliance at 1, 3, and 6 months initially, then every 6 months for up to 5 years. Researchers performed blood tests, urine samples, and electrocardiograms at baseline and then yearly for the duration of the patient’s participation in the study. 

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Patients in the liraglutide arm had a 13% lower risk of time-to-first occurrence of cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack or non-fatal stroke vs. patients in the placebo arm. The data also showed a 22% lower risk of cardiovascular mortality, a 15% lower risk of all-cause mortality, and 22% lower risk of new evidence of advanced diabetic kidney disease for patients in the liraglutide arm vs. the placebo arm. The study found no significant indications of safety issues among patients in the liraglutide group.

Liraglutide, a long-acting, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, is indicated for patients with type 2 diabetes who have difficulty controlling blood glucose levels with nutrition and exercise alone.

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