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News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Obesity drug shows notable efficacy in weight loss and cardiovascular risk: Real-world study

Health Industry Hub | May 22, 2023 |

Pharma News: Unveiling astounding results from a year-long real-world study, Novo Nordisk’s obesity drug has captured the spotlight at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO2023). This revolutionary medication has demonstrated its efficacy in combating weight loss and reducing cardiovascular risk, igniting a ray of hope for millions of individuals who are grappling with obesity.

Wegovy (semaglutide), a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, was granted approval for chronic weight management by the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) on September 1, 2022, but it is not reimbursed through the PBS.

While extensive clinical trials and short-term real-world studies have already demonstrated impressive weight loss outcomes, there remained a lack of knowledge regarding mid-term real-world studies and their impact on weight loss and metabolic parameters. To address this gap, researchers embarked on a comprehensive investigation into the effects of Wegovy on patients with overweight and obesity, both with and without type 2 diabetes (T2DM), over a span of one year.

The study encompassed a cohort of 305 patients, with 73% being female and a mean age of 49 years. Furthermore, 26% of the patients had comorbid T2DM, providing valuable insights into the drug’s efficacy in individuals with this condition.

Dr Andres Acosta and Dr Wissam Ghusn, the esteemed authors of the study, revealed, “Semaglutide was associated with significant weight loss and metabolic improvements in a multi-site real-world study, demonstrating its effectiveness in the treatment of obesity, in patients with and without T2DM.”

The findings showcased remarkable progress, with 82% of patients achieving a weight loss of more than 5% of their body weight, 65% surpassing the 10% milestone, 41% triumphing over 15%, and an impressive 21% conquering 20% weight loss at the one-year mark. Wegovy treatment exhibited additional positive outcomes, including a significant reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, with decreases of 6.8/2.5 mmHg respectively. Notably, the drug also contributed to lowering total cholesterol by 10.2 mg/dL, LDL by 5.1 mg/dL, and triglycerides by 17.6 mg/dL. However, it is important to mention that approximately half of the patients experienced mild side effects, the most common being nausea (38%) and diarrhea (9%). In a few cases (16), these side effects necessitated discontinuation of the medication.

The researchers further delved into the impact of Wegovy on cardiovascular risk scores after one year of use. Their analysis revealed a decrease in the 10-year ASCVD risk among patients with overweight or obesity.

“Although modest after just one year of use (7.64% vs 6.26%), this decrease may translate into decreased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality risk over time with continuing weight loss,” the authors said.

The authors also highlighted the need for more extensive studies, involving larger sample sizes and longer follow-up periods, to comprehensively assess the cardiovascular outcomes associated with Wegovy.

Australia bears the burden of one of the highest obesity rates globally. According to data from 2017-18, the country ranked fifth among OECD nations, with a staggering 31% of Australian adults grappling with obesity. Approximately 14 million Australians live with overweight or obesity, accounting for two out of every three adults and one in four children.

Recognising the urgency of addressing this public health crisis, a dedicated team of experts from Deakin University has taken the lead in reviewing Australia’s clinical practice guidelines for managing overweight and obesity.

Heading the project committee and serving as the Director of Deakin’s Institute for Health Transformation (IHT), Alfred Deakin Professor Anna Peeters emphasised the importance of consultation to ensure the guidelines have a real impact. With the National Obesity Strategy setting ambitious targets to reverse the trend of overweight and obesity, the revised guidelines must be practical and relevant to both consumers and healthcare professionals to effectively tackle this pressing issue.

“The Guidelines need to be relevant and practical for all consumers and their health professionals if they are going to be effective,” Professor Peeters affirmed.

As further research unfolds and the collaboration between academia, healthcare practitioners, and policymakers intensifies, Australia remains at the forefront of the battle against obesity, determined to create a healthier future for its citizens.

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