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More Studies Support Wegovy's Long-Term Weight-Loss Benefits
  • Posted May 14, 2024

More Studies Support Wegovy's Long-Term Weight-Loss Benefits

Semaglutide -- the active ingredient in the blockbuster weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy -- can produce long-term weight and heart health benefits, a pair of new studies show.

Researchers found that overweight and obese adults lost an average 10% of their body weight and nearly three inches off their waistline after taking semaglutide for four years.

Further, more than half of adults taking semaglutide moved down at least one BMI category after two years, compared to 16% of those who received a placebo, results show.

And 12% reached a healthy BMI of 25 or less, compared with 1% in the placebo group.

Finally, the studies showed that semaglutide contributes to heart health, regardless of how much weight a person lost while on the drug.

“This degree of weight loss in such a large and diverse population suggests that it may be possible to impact the public health burden of multiple obesity-related illnesses,” said lead researcher Dr. Donna Ryan, associate executive director for clinical research with the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in New Orleans.

Ryan led the first clinical trial, which focused on the long-term weight effects of the drug. A second trial evaluated its heart health benefits.

Both studies are based on data gathered from the largest and longest clinical trial of semaglutide, which tracked more than 17,600 overweight or obese adults without diabetes from 804 sites in 41 countries who were randomly given either the drug or a placebo. The trial ran from October 2018 through June 2023.

Semaglutide works by adjusting a person's hormone levels, lowering their blood sugar levels following a meal and helping them feel full.

Ryan's trial found that men and women of all races, ages and body types achieve sustained weight loss using semaglutide.

Women taking semaglutide tended to lose more weight, on average, than men, and Asian people lost less weight, on average, than other races, researchers noted.

After two years, the proportion of people with obesity declined from 71% to 43% among those taking semaglutide, and compared with a 72% to 68% decline in the placebo group.

This weight loss occurred without any unexpected or important safety issues, researchers said.

In the second clinical trial, researchers found that semaglutide delivered heart health benefits regardless of how much a person initially weighed or how much they lost.

This suggests that even people with relatively mild obesity or those who lose less weight can still benefit from semaglutide, researchers noted.

Researchers reported the results Monday at the European Congress of Obesity in Venice, Italy. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The weight-loss study results also were published simultaneously in the journal Nature Medicine.

“Our findings show that the magnitude of this treatment effect with semaglutide is independent of the amount of weight lost, suggesting that the drug has other actions which lower cardiovascular risk beyond reducing unhealthy body fat,” said lead researcher John Deanfield, a professor of cardiology with University College London.

“These alternative mechanisms may include positive impacts on blood sugar, blood pressure or inflammation, as well as direct effects on the heart muscle and blood vessels, or a combination of one or more of these,” Deanfield added in a meeting news release.

More information

UCLA Health has more on semaglutide for weight loss.

SOURCE: European Congress on Obesity, news release, May 13, 2024

HealthDay
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