Horm Metab Res 2015; 47(08): 560-564
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1387793
Endocrine Care
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Off-Label Antiobesity Treatment in Patients without Diabetes with GLP-1 Agonists in Clinical Practice

N. Sauer
1   Department for Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
F. Reining
1   Department for Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
C. Schulze zur Wiesch
1   Department for Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
T. Burkhardt
2   Department for Neurosurgery, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
J. Aberle
1   Department for Endocrinology and Diabetology, University Hospital Hamburg Eppendorf (UKE), Hamburg, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 25 July 2014

accepted 05 August 2014

Publication Date:
17 September 2014 (online)


The aim of the work was to investigate whether continuation of treatment, side effects, and effect on weight loss of GLP-1 agonists in obese patients without diabetes are equally promising in daily clinical-practice-settings compared to controlled clinical trials. Obese patients without diabetes of our interdisciplinary obesity centre were treated off-label with GLP-1-agonists for different time periods. Application was started with low-dose and increased if side effects were tolerable. Monthly costs were € 125 for daily applications of 1.2 mg liraglutide or 10 μg exenatide twice daily. Data were obtained by telephone interviews about baseline characteristics, weight loss, sensation of satiation, duration of therapy, side effects, and reasons for discontinuation. Of 43 included cases (5 males, mean age 43±11 years, mean weight 107±24 kg, mean excess weight 35±21 kg) 7 were treated with exenatide and 36 with liraglutide. Excess weight loss in linear regression models was 6.7% per month (p <0.05) under control of age, sex, initial weight, and type of GLP-1 analogue treatment and did not significantly differ between liraglutide and exenatide. Overall, 58% of patients reported side effects mostly concerning the gastrointestinal tract. Surprisingly no patient reported vomiting. One patient developed a severe pancreatitis. At time of telephone interview only 30.2% were continuing treatment. Mean treatment duration was 2.98±2.71 months. Common reasons for discontinuation of treatment were no/little effect on weight loss (27.9%), intolerable side effects (20.9%), or financial reasons (14%). GLP-1 agonist treatment in obese patients without diabetes also correlates with significant weight loss in clinical practice. However, side effects and discontinuation of treatment are common. Therefore, long-term effect on weight loss might not be as promising as suggested by data from clinical trials.

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