New research has found that subcutaneous semaglutide, taken once a week, is almost twice as effective at losing weight as some weight loss drugs currently on the market.
Taken once a week by a 2.4 mg subcutaneous injection, the drug suppresses the appetite centers in the brain to reduce hunger and calorie intake. Obesity affects over 40% of adults in the United States, according to a press release. They are linked to conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, sleep apnea, some cancers, and decreased life expectancy.
“This is by far the most effective intervention we’ve seen for weight management when compared to many of the drugs currently in existence,” said author Dr. Robert Kushner, Professor of Medicine and Medical Education at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, in a press release. “Semaglutide sets the bar for a new generation of more effective weight loss drugs.”
The study examined the effectiveness and safety of a weekly injection of semaglutide along with individual lifestyle counseling sessions. It comprised 1961 overweight or obese adults and lasted 68 weeks from fall 2019 to spring 2020. Overall, 94.3% of participants completed the study.
Participants assumed an average basis weight of 230 pounds and a body mass index of 38 kg / m2. According to the press release, participants saw an average weight loss of 14.9% (34 pounds) versus 2.4% (5 pounds) in the placebo group.
Compared to other weight loss drugs on the market that can help patients lose between 6% and 11% of their body weight, semaglutide is about 1.5 to 2 times more effective, according to the researchers. Approximately 70% of the study participants achieved a weight loss of at least 10% of their base body weight, which according to Kushner is clinically relevant.
“Many of the health concerns we see in people struggling with their weight, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, tend to improve when they achieve 10% weight loss,” Kushner said in the press release.
In addition, the researchers said that a third of the study participants treated with semaglutide lost at least 20% of their basic weight. This is a common reduction for many patients who have had bariatric surgery in the 1 to 3 years after their procedure.
“It is the very first time that we have a drug that even approaches the weight loss that people with bariatric surgery can achieve,” Kushner said in the press release. He added that bariatric surgery is still more effective than this drug, but the surgery carries additional risks.
After the intervention, participants who received semaglutide reported improved physical functions, such as: B. Walking faster and climbing stairs with less pain. In addition, they made greater improvements in blood pressure, blood lipids, and blood sugar control. According to the press release, the drug should be intended for long-term use.
Side effects included mild to moderate nausea and diarrhea, which were temporary and generally resolved without permanently stopping the study. Semaglutide is currently on the market to help treat diabetes, but it is only approved for a lower dose. According to the press release, the FDA is currently reviewing its use at a higher dose to help patients lose weight.
New obesity drugs are almost twice as effective as most currently approved weight loss drugs [news release]. Northwestern University; February 10, 2021. https://news.northwestern.edu/stories/2021/02/anti-obesity-medication/. Accessed February 12, 2021.