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Liraglutide to Improve corONary haemodynamics during Exercise streSS (LIONESS): a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled crossover trial

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Aung Myat, Simon R. Redwood, Satpal Arri, Bernard J. Gersh, Deepak L. Bhatt, Michael S. Marber

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalDiabetology and Metabolic Syndrome
Issue number1
Accepted/In press2 Feb 2021
PublishedDec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: The trial was supported by the Department of Health via the National Institute for Health Research comprehensive Biomedical Research Centre award to Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with King’s College London and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The trial was also supported by the British Heart Foundation via a Clinical Research Training Fellowship awarded to AM (Grant Number FS/11/70/28917). Publisher Copyright: © 2021, The Author(s). Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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Background: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) activation may improve myocardial performance in the context of ischaemia, independent of glycaemic control, in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes mellitus. Methods: The LIONESS trial was a single-centre randomised double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study to determine whether prolonged GLP-1R activation could improve exercise haemodynamics in chronic stable angina patients. Eligibility criteria comprised angiographic evidence of obstructive coronary artery disease (CAD) and an abnormal baseline exercise tolerance test (ETT) demonstrating > 0.1 mV of planar or downsloping ST-segment depression (STD). Those randomised to active agent started with a 1-week run-in phase of 0.6 mg liraglutide daily, an established injectable GLP-1R agonist, followed by 1 week of 1.2 mg liraglutide, after which patients performed a week 2 ETT. Patients then self-administered 1.8 mg liraglutide for a week before completing a week 3 ETT. The placebo arm received visually and temporally matched daily saline injections. Participants then crossed over to a 3-week course of saline injections interspersed with a week 5 ETT and week 6 ETT and vice versa. Co-primary endpoints were rate pressure product (RPP) at 0.1 mV STD and magnitude of STD at peak exercise. Results: Twenty-two patients (21 without diabetes) were randomised. There was no significant difference between saline versus liraglutide in the co-primary endpoints of RPP achieved at 0.1 mV STD (saline vs. liraglutide 1.2 mg p = 0.097; saline vs. liraglutide 1.8 mg p = 0.48) or the degree of STD at peak exercise (saline vs. liraglutide 1.2 mg p = 0.68; saline vs. liraglutide 1.8 mg p = 0.57). Liraglutide did not cause symptomatic hypoglycaemia, renal dysfunction, acute pancreatitis or provoke early withdrawal from the trial. Liraglutide significantly reduced weight (baseline 88.75 ± 16.5 kg vs. after liraglutide 87.78 ± 16.9 kg; p = 0.0008) and improved the lipid profile (mean total cholesterol: at baseline 3.97 ± 0.88 vs. after liraglutide 3.56 ± 0.71 mmol/L; p < 0.0001). Conclusion: Liraglutide did not enhance exercise tolerance or haemodynamics compared with saline placebo during serial treadmill testing in patients with established obstructive CAD. It did, however, significantly reduce weight and improve the lipid profile. Trial Registration Identifier NCT02315001. Retrospectively registered on 11th December 2014.

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