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Obesity drug shows benefits in heart failure patients

Posted on the 12th September 2023

Wegovy weightloss

The weight loss drug Wegovy could be beneficial to those living with heart failure and obesity, according to new research.

The weight loss medication semaglutide – better known as Wegovy – can benefit people living with heart failure and obesity, according to research presented today at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress in Amsterdam and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The study, funded by Novo Nordisk, showed that an injection of 2.4 mg of semaglutide once a week improved heart failure-related symptoms and physical function and resulted in greater weight loss compared with placebo in people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

The trial involved 529 people with HFpEF and obesity, who were randomly assigned to receive either a semaglutide injection or placebo once a week for a year.

For patients with HFpEF, the heart muscle contracts properly but the ventricles don’t relax. For patients with reduced ejection fraction, the heart muscle doesn’t contract properly. Both conditions cause diminished blood flow.

After one year, the researchers found that those who had the semaglutide injection reported improved heart failure symptoms compared to the placebo group.

They had also lost an average of 13.3 per cent of their body weight, while those who received the placebo lost 2.6 per cent on average.

Those in the semaglutide group also improved the distance they were able to walk in six minutes by an average of 21.5 metres over the year, compared to a 1.2 metre improvement for placebo.

These new results come just weeks after it was reported that Wegovy can cut the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events by 20 per cent versus placebo.

Investigators measured Wegovy’s 2.4-mg dose for its ability to cut the risk of a cardio death, heart attack or stroke.

Based on that trial’s outcome, Novo Nordisk said it now expects to seek a label expansion to include the cardiovascular risk-reduction data in the U.S. and Europe this year.

Wegovy has enjoyed immense popularity since its debut in 2021 and Novo Nordisk plans to launch the drug in more countries in the future.

However, CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen has warned it could take years before the company can meet global demand.

Related: ‘Hollywood’ weight loss drug approved for use

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