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Wegovy, A Weight Loss Medication From Novo Nordisk, Reduces The Risk Of Major Cardiac Events

Wegovy, A Weight Loss Medication From Novo Nordisk, Reduces The Risk Of Major Cardiac Events
In a meticulously monitored experiment, Novo Nordisk's Wegovy reduced the risk of major cardiovascular problems in individuals with obesity and heart disease. It also showed a particularly significant effect on heart attacks, suggesting a promising new direction for the medication.
Wegovy was examined in around 17,500 participants in the Select research who did not have diabetes but had obesity and heart disease. The New England Journal of Medicine and the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions on Saturday both released detailed trial results showing that weekly injections of Wegovy reduced the overall risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular-related death by 20%. Topline results from the trial were released by Novo Nordisk in August.
The results could encourage wider usage of the anti-obesity medication and increase insurance coverage of Wegovy, which has been a significant obstacle for the medication and other GLP-1 agonists.
“This is the first time that medication approved for chronic obesity management can be considered life saving,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor of medicine in endocrinology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who was involved with the study.
The Danish pharmaceutical company may be able to hold onto its advantage over Eli Lilly, whose weight-loss medication Zepbound was approved in the United States earlier this week, with the aid of the new data. Zepbound has been proven to increase weight loss, however it hasn't yet shown any impact on cardiovascular results.
“If you look at where the insurance companies are going to be obliged to go, they’re going to be obliged to go with the drug that reduces cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Heart who was involved with the study.
During the five-year experiment, Wegovy decreased the risk of a non-fatal heart attack by 28%. Although there were fewer non-fatal strokes over the study as a whole, it nevertheless resulted in a lower 7% reduction in the incidence of stroke.
Furthermore, Wegovy demonstrated a decrease in total cardiovascular events in patients within months of starting the medication, and as the trial progressed, the difference between the medication and placebo grew. Dr. Ania Jastreboff, head of the Yale Obesity Research Centre, described the effect as "fascinating," as it was noticed by researchers even before participants saw considerable weight reduction. This finding raises the possibility that the medication and weight loss may have an impact on heart health.
“I think it’s all additive, and I don’t think we can parse out one from the other,” Jastreboff, who was not involved in the study, said at a press briefing.
The blood sugar range of around two thirds of subjects was indicative of prediabetes. Wegovy reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 73%, indicating that it might be utilised as a preventative measure. The same active ingredient found in Wegovy, Ozempic from Novo, is licenced for the treatment of diabetes.
Although the majority of the patients were classified as obese, the study included patients whose body mass index fell between the overweight and obesity thresholds.
Wegovy users in the trial quit taking the medication at a rate of nearly 17%, primarily due to gastrointestinal problems like vomiting and diarrhoea. This is twice as high as those who stopped using the placebo. However, a higher number of individuals in the control group had major adverse events, including heart conditions and surgeries.
Kushner, who specialises in treating patients who are overweight or obese, speculated that the discontinuations would indicate that the physicians who were a part of the trial were less familiar with Wegovy. Unpleasant side effects might be managed by changing the dosage or diet.
In contrast to earlier studies looking at Wegovy, participants in this one lost less weight while not changing their lifestyles and including participants with varied backgrounds.
The study's lack of diversity was one of its drawbacks. Males made up over three-quarters of the participants, and white people made up even more. Black people made up just 4% of the attendees.
Still, physicians anticipate that the findings will lead to a rise in the number of Wegovy users.
According to Dr. George Dangas, director of cardiovascular innovation at Mount Sinai Hospital, the discovery that a diabetes medication has favourable effects on the heart and metabolism "opens a new door to treat obese patients with cardiovascular disease." It might require some time and effort to integrate into clinical practise, though.
“Those are good problems to have,” Dangas said. “We have something good for the patient, that’s great.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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