Treatment with liraglutide or naltrexone-bupropion in patients with genetic obesity: a real-world study

Mila S. Welling, Cornelis J. de Groot, Mostafa Mohseni, Renate E.H. Meeusen, Mariëtte R. Boon, Mieke M. van Haelst, Erica L.T. van den Akker, Elisabeth F.C. van Rossum*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review



Rare genetic obesity commonly features early-onset obesity, hyperphagia, and therapy-resistance to lifestyle interventions. Pharmacotherapy is often required to treat hyperphagia and induce weight loss. We describe clinical outcomes of glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue liraglutide or naltrexone-bupropion treatment in adults with molecularly confirmed genetic obesity (MCGO) or highly suspected for genetic obesity without definite diagnosis (HSGO). 


We conducted a real-world cohort study at the Obesity Center CGG at Erasmus University Center, Rotterdam, Netherlands, between March 19, 2019, and August 14, 2023. All patients with MCGO and HSGO who were treated with either liraglutide or naltrexone-bupropion were included. Liraglutide 3 mg and naltrexone-bupropion were administered according to the manufacturer's protocol. Treatment evaluation occurred short-term, after 12 weeks on maximum or highest-tolerated dose, preceded by the 4–5 week dose escalation phase. Differences in anthropometrics, body composition, metabolic markers, self-reported appetite, eating behaviour, and quality of life (QoL) were evaluated. 


Ninety-eight adults were included in the analysis: 23 patients with MCGO and 75 patients with HSGO, with median BMI of 42.0 kg/m2 (IQR 38.7–48.2) and 43.7 kg/m2 (IQR 38.0–48.7), respectively. After liraglutide treatment, median weight at evaluation significantly decreased compared to baseline in both groups: −4.7% (IQR −6.0 to −1.5) in patients with MCGO and −5.2% (IQR −8.1 to −3.5) in patients with HSGO. Additionally, improvements were observed in appetite, fat mass, fasting glucose, and HbA1c in both patients with MCGO and with HSGO. Patients with HSGO also reported significant improvements in several domains of QoL and eating behaviour. In patients with MCGO and HSGO treated with naltrexone-bupropion, mean weight at evaluation significantly differed from baseline: −5.2% ± 5.8 in patients with MCGO and −4.4% ± 4.7 in patients with HSGO. Appetite, fat mass, and waist circumference significantly decreased in both groups. Obesity-related comorbidities improved in significant proportions of patients treated with liraglutide or naltrexone-bupropion. 


In conclusion, our short-term findings show potential of liraglutide and naltrexone-bupropion as treatment options for adults with (a clinical phenotype of) genetic obesity. Funding: MB, EvdA, and EvR are supported by the, a non-profit foundation supporting academic obesity research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102709
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2024

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