Research Shows That Wegovy Can Keep Weight off for at Least Four Years - Latest Global News

Research Shows That Wegovy Can Keep Weight off for at Least Four Years

A big, long-term one A study of the weight-loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) found that people tended to lose weight in the first 65 weeks of taking the drug – about a year and three months – but then reached a plateau, or “set point.” . However, this early weight loss generally lasted for up to four years as people continued to take the weekly injections.

The findings, published Monday in Nature Medicine, come from a new analysis of data from the SELECT trial, which was designed to examine the drug’s effects on cardiovascular health. The study – a multicenter, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial – specifically involved people with existing cardiovascular disease who were also overweight or obese but did not have diabetes. In total, the study included 17,604 people from 41 countries. 72 percent of them were male, 84 percent were white and the average age was around 62 years.

Last year, researchers published the study’s initial results, showing that semaglutide reduced participants’ risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death by 20 percent over a period of just over three years.

In the new analysis with even longer follow-up of the same participants, researchers focused on their weight loss trajectories and endpoints. In people taking semaglutide, weight fell steadily over the first 65 weeks of treatment and then reached a plateau. However, the initial weight loss was sustained through 208 weeks (four years) of follow-up. On average, people who took the drug lost 10.2 percent of their weight, while the placebo group lost only 1.5 percent. This corresponds to a treatment difference of 8.7 percent.

This weight loss is less than other studies with semaglutide. In 2021, researchers published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine showing that people who took the drug lost 14.9 percent of their weight, while those who received a placebo lost 2.4 percent — a treatment difference of 12.5 percent.

Researchers behind the SELECT study, which was funded by Wegovy maker Novo Nordisk, speculate that the different designs of the studies could explain the difference in weight loss. The earlier study was designed to examine weight loss in people who specifically wanted to lose weight and who also tended to be younger than the participants in the SELECT study. In addition to semaglutide treatment, the older study included other lifestyle interventions to support weight loss. The participants in the SELECT study, on the other hand, did not have a specific goal of losing weight and did not receive any additional lifestyle interventions to reduce weight.

Still, researchers found clinically meaningful weight loss in both sexes, all body sizes and geographic regions. Of the people who received semaglutide, 52.4 percent moved into a lower body mass index category during the study, compared to just 15.7 percent in the placebo group. And in the semaglutide group, the proportion of people with obesity fell from 71 percent to 43.3 percent, while the proportion in the placebo group only fell from 71.9 percent to 67.9 percent.

The study has limitations, particularly because it involved mostly older white men. Therefore, the weight loss findings may not be generalizable. However, the authors conclude that the study supports widespread use of semaglutide in people with cardiovascular disease who are also overweight or obese. Next, the researchers have to address the question of how long people have to take the effective, but currently expensive, drug.

This story originally appeared on Ars Technica.

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