According to a new study, the active ingredient semaglutide contained in the weight loss injections can reduce the risk of serious heart problems. According to the in New England Journal of Medicine According to published work, the popular drug reduces the risk of death from heart disease or a non-fatal one Heart attack or suffering strokes by 20 percent.
The international team of scientists examined a total of 17,600 people who already suffered from cardiovascular disease and had a body mass index (BMI) of at least 27. Half of the participants received semaglutide for approximately 34 months Lose weight approved dose. The other half received a dummy medication. In the placebo group, eight percent of participants experienced serious cardiac problems over the course of the study. In the group that received semaglutide it was 6.5 percent.
Andreas Zeiher, professor of cardiology at the University of Frankfurt, called the effect “quite clinically relevant.” Garron Dodd, a specialist in metabolic diseases at the University of Melbourne, spoke of “relatively modest” results and warned not to overestimate them. The study was sponsored by semaglutide manufacturer Novo Nordisk. The side effects corresponded to those known from previous studies. Gastrointestinal complaints and, in some cases, bile problems occurred predominantly.
It may not just be weight loss that is responsible for the protective effect
The new data was eagerly awaited. Until now, it had only been shown that semaglutide could benefit diabetics’ health. For people without diabetes, it was known that they could lose weight well, but not yet how much this would improve their health. Now it has been proven for the first time that non-diabetics can also hope for at least moderate health effects.
However, it remains unclear how exactly this effect occurs, says Garron Dodd. The study authors believe it is possible that the protective effect of semaglutide is not solely due to the lower body weight. It is conceivable that the active ingredient causes physiological changes in the body that have a beneficial effect on the heart, regardless of weight loss success. For example, it has been observed in animal experiments that semaglutide reduces inflammation. The current study showed that inflammation and cholesterol levels as well as blood pressure improved while taking the preparation.
It is also unclear who could benefit from the protective effect. Only patients with existing cardiac problems were included in the study. It is not yet possible to predict how much protection there will be for people with healthy hearts. It also remains unclear how much people who are very overweight can hope for a prophylactic effect. The subjects in the current study had an average BMI of 33, which corresponds to mild obesity.
They lost an average of nine percent of their body weight over the course of the study. In the approval studies, the test subjects reduced their weight by an average of 15 percent with semaglutide. Even more seems to be possible with the competing drug Tirzepatide, which was approved in the USA a few days ago. According to previous findings, average weight losses of 21 percent are possible with the drug from the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. The active ingredient, which also has to be injected weekly, has also been submitted for approval in Europe.
With material from the Science Media Center