Anti-obesity drug Wegovy can reduce the risk of serious heart problems by 20%, according to a pivotal study, paving the way for applications far beyond weight loss.
“You go from a type of therapy that reduces body weight to a therapy that reduces cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Michael Lincoff, the study’s lead author and a heart expert at the Cleveland Clinic.
Results from the large clinical trial were presented Saturday at the American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The research, funded by Wegovy and Ozempic’s maker Novo Nordisk, enrolled more than 17,600 people from 41 countries.
Patients were 45 years or older and had preexisting cardiovascular disease and a body mass index of 27 or higher, but no history of diabetes.
Half of the patients received weekly injections of Wegovy or a placebo injection, and participants were followed for more than three years on average.
569, or 6.5 percent, of those who received the drug had a heart attack or stroke or died from a heart-related cause, compared with 701, or 8 percent, of those who received the drug. simulated injection.
Wegovy participants lost about 10% of their weight on average and kept those pounds off throughout the trial.
Dr. Martha Gulati, a heart expert at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Wegovy’s patients also saw improvements in their inflammation, cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure.
“To me it means it’s more than just losing weight, how this medication works,” said Gulati, who was not an author of the study.
It’s unclear whether those results are due to weight loss or the medication itself.
Novo Nordisk has asked the Food and Drug Administration to include heart benefits on the Wegovy label, as well as on the Ozempic label.
Wegovy is a high-dose version of Ozempic, which has been shown to decrease the risk of serious heart problems in people with diabetes. This new study is innovative in focusing on people without diabetes.
Participants in the latest study reported significant side effects, which have plagued these types of obesity medications since the beginning.
Nearly 17% of people taking Wegovy stopped treatment due to “adverse events” such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, while 8% of the placebo group quit.
“Ozempic finger,” “Ozempic burp,” “Ozempic butt,” “Ozempic face,” and strange dreams about celebrities are among the drawbacks that users have reported in recent months.
There are steep prices, too: Monthly costs range from about $1,300 for Wegovy to about $1,000 for Eli Lilly’s Zepbound, a version of the diabetes drug Mounjaro, approved last week by the FDA for weight control.
These medications are often not covered by private health insurance or, if they are, there are strict prior authorization requirements.
With post cables