The current trial was sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the maker of Wegoby and Ozempic, and followed patients for two years. at locations around the world. Half of the participants received weekly injections of semaglutide, and the other half received a placebo. Neither group knew which one they would get. More than three-quarters of the patients had had a previous heart attack, and nearly a quarter had chronic heart failure. The average age of the volunteers was 61.6 years, and approximately three-quarters were male.
Heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammatory biomarkers decreased significantly in patients taking semaglutide compared to patients taking a placebo. But the trial researchers were most interested in whether semaglutide could reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular events. During the study period, 234 people in the semaglutide group had a nonfatal heart attack and 154 people had a nonfatal stroke, compared with 322 and 165 people in the placebo group, respectively. Of those taking semaglutide, 97 people were hospitalized or visited the emergency room for heart failure, compared with 122 people taking a placebo. Overall, 223 people in the semaglutide group died from cardiovascular disease and 262 people in the placebo group died during the study.
“This is an exciting and groundbreaking study demonstrating that obesity treatment can save lives and reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events,” said Johns Hopkins University, which was not involved in the trial. says Ariana Chao, a nutrition researcher at the School of Nursing.
Some patients discontinued the study due to gastrointestinal symptoms related to semaglutide. These included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which are known side effects of GLP-1 drugs.
It is not entirely clear why semaglutide has such a significant impact on cardiovascular risk. Much of the benefit can probably be explained by the weight loss caused by the drug. People who received semaglutide in the latest trial lost an average of 9.4 percent of their body weight, compared with less than 1 percent for those who received a placebo.
However, patients did not reach maximal weight loss until about 65 weeks into the study, suggesting that other factors besides weight loss may be at play. “Notably, the difference in incidence rates between the two treatment groups persisted in the first few months of treatment,” said A. Michael Linkoff, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic and one of the study’s investigators. “It started appearing very early within.” Press conference.