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Wegovy: A weight-loss drug that reduces the risk of heart attacks in people with obesity

Wegovy: A weight-loss drug that reduces the risk of heart attacks in people with obesity

Washington Post – Weight loss drug and hollow It lowered the risks of strokes, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular problems by 20% among overweight people with a history of heart disease, its maker said, findings that could increase demand.

The better-than-expected result was announced by the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk In a press release. Experts said the results of the trial, called Select, show that a new crop of commonly used weight-loss drugs, such as Wegovy, can provide important health benefits, not just cosmetics. Experts said obesity should be treated as a serious disease due to its contribution to other problems such as heart disease.

The new study is important because it may change perceptions about Wegovy and similar medications, said Andres Acosta, MD, assistant professor of medicine and consultant gastroenterologist and hepatologist at the Mayo Clinic. Previously, drugs stood out due to their aesthetic properties.

“It’s a new era,” Acosta said. “It’s important because if you lose weight, your risk of death goes down.”

Data from the long-awaited study has not yet been released. The results were summarized released on Tuesday, the 8th, and the company said it will release detailed results at a conference later this year.

Steven Nissen, MD, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, noted that while Tuesday’s announcement is promising, he wants to see the full results.

“We have to be careful until we actually see the peer-reviewed publication,” said Nissen, who is leading a similar study involving Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro, another diabetes drug commonly used for weight loss. “I still can’t call this a great result because we haven’t seen the publication.”

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The five-year study on Wegovy included more than 17,600 patients who were at least 45 years old, overweight or obese, and had a history of heart disease. The study compared the effects of a weekly injection of 2.4 milligrams of the drug with a placebo, along with standard care for preventing serious heart problems.

Wegovy, also known as semaglutide, mimics a naturally produced hormone — peptide-1, similar to glucagon — that increases insulin production, suppresses appetite and slows stomach emptying, creating a feeling of fullness even when patients eat less. A previous study showed that another semaglutide-based drug, ozimbek, reduces the risk of heart disease in patients with diabetes who are at risk of developing cardiovascular complications. The SELECT study was the first large study of semaglutide in people who were obese but did not have diabetes.

Ozempic is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, although doctors often prescribe it for weight loss.

Mounjaro, also called tirzepatide, mimics GLP-1 but also targets a second, closely related hormone called GIP, which also stimulates insulin production. Lilly is seeking FDA approval to market Mounjaro for the management of weight loss and diabetes.

The results should boost Novo Nordisk’s earnings and could brighten the outlook for makers of similar drugs, according to industry analysts. Analysts at TD Cowen said in a note that the results “are close to a best-case scenario for Select and should add momentum to the Wegovy and obesity market.”

Martin Holst Lang, executive vice president of development at Novo Nordisk, called the SELECT test a “reference study” in the company’s statement.

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“People with obesity have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, but to date there are no approved weight management medications that have been shown to provide effective weight management and reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death,” Lang said. The new information “has the potential to change the way obesity is viewed and treated.”

The company said it will seek permission from US and European regulators to add cardiovascular benefits to the drug’s label. This would allow the manufacturer to promote the drug for that use.

Wegovy is available in “pencil” form. Subcutaneous application, like an injection. filming: Jim Vondrowska/Reuters

Novo Nordisk said the drug appears to be safe and well-tolerated, based on previous trials. But as more people turn to successful diabetes and obesity medications, some are experiencing annoying and sometimes painful side effects along with the benefits of reduced cravings and dramatic weight loss.

Doctors say the study could dramatically change the way health insurance companies cover drugs.

In turn, Angela Fitch, an obesity doctor at Harvard Medical School, said that broad coverage of the drugs – even at high prices – can lead to lower health care costs, as hospitals treat fewer patients who suffer from heart attacks and strokes. Obesity Medicine Association.

“Denying access to treatment to prevent cardiovascular events is different from denying access to weight-loss medications.” She added, “It is an unforgettable day. It is truly a defining moment in the treatment of obesity.” / Translation by RENATO PRELORENTZOU