19 February 2024

Long-term results of a randomised study show that the appetite suppressant dulaglutide can reduce weight gain during smoking cessation. However, the treatment duration of twelve weeks was too short to achieve a lasting effect.

Quitting smoking is difficult for many people. Even if the cessation of cigarette consumption is accompanied by smoking cessation programs and drug therapies, the success rate is only around 30%. The biggest hurdles include the craving for cigarettes and the weight gain that typically accompanies quitting smoking. The use of substances with an appetite-suppressing effect during smoking cessation is therefore obvious and has led to the so-called SKIP study by the DKF research group of Bettina Winzeler.

Promising initial study results

This randomised, placebo-controlled study investigates the effect of dulaglutide (Trulicity®), an appetite suppressant from the class of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues, on the abstinence rate and weight change during smoking cessation. Participants in the SKIP study received standard treatment for smoking cessation in the smoking cessation clinic at the University Hospital Basel and, in addition, either dulaglutide or placebo for twelve weeks. Initial evaluations at the end of the study showed that the abstinence rate in the two treatment groups was comparable and that there was a significantly lower weight gain of almost three kilograms in the dilaglutide group. Treatment with dulaglutide also had a positive effect on blood glucose metabolism and led to a reduction in long-term blood glucose levels. The most common side effects were gastrointestinal in nature and occurred more frequently in the dulaglutide group.

No detectable effect in the long term

The long-term analyses of the SKIP study are now available. They show that there is no detectable effect of dulaglutide on the participants' weight beyond the 12-week intake period. After 24 weeks, participants in the dulaglutide group had gained an average of one and a half kilograms and those who had received placebo had gained three kilograms. After 52 weeks, the average weight gain in both groups was around three kilograms. The question remains as to whether a longer intake of dulaglutide would have had a more lasting effect.

Stop smoking

SKIP study

Smoking cessation facilitated by glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogues - a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Principle Investigator
Bettina Winzeler, MD, Senior Physician, Endocrinology, Diabetology & Metabolism at the University Hospital Basel

Study design
Double-blind, placebo-controlled, monocentric, randomized clinical trial

Study center
University Hospital Basel

Number of study participants

Project duration

DKF Scientific Services
Methodological consultation, Statistics, Regulatory Affairs, Data Management, Monitoring, On Site Management