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Weight loss drug trial suggests significant heart benefit

Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has announced that its increasingly popular weight-loss drug Wegovy also showed clear cardiovascular benefits in a recent large study, which has not yet been peer reviewed.

The findings showed that patients on Wegovy had a 20% lower incidence of heart attack, stroke or death from heart disease than those on a placebo, reports Reuters.

The SELECT study involved 17 604 overweight or obese people with a history of heart disease aged 45 or older with no prior history of diabetes.

The double-blinded trial compared subcutaneous once-weekly semaglutide 2.4mg with placebo as an adjunct to standard of care for prevention of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) over a period of up to five years.

The company said it achieved its primary objective by demonstrating a statistically significant and superior reduction in MACE of 20% for people treated with semaglutide 2.4mg compared with placebo.

“We are very excited about these results, because people with obesity have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but to date, there are no approved weight management medications proven to deliver effective weight management while also reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death,” said Martin Holst Lange, executive VP for development at Novo Nordisk.

Novo expects to file for regulatory approvals of a label indication expansion for the weekly injection in the US and European Union this year.

The detailed results from the trial will be presented at a scientific conference later in 2023.

More than half a dozen companies are working on weight-loss therapies similar to Wegovy, hoping for a slice of a market estimated to be worth as much as $100bn by the end of the decade.

Eli Lilly is expected to receive a US weight-loss approval for its similar drug, Mounjaro, later this year.

Novo, which is already struggling to meet sky-rocketing US demand, said in May it was halving the supply of starter doses to the American market to ensure supplies for existing patients.

Reuters has previously reported that larger doses are also in short supply, which Novo has denied.

Last month, Novo launched Wegovy in Germany, its first big European market after Denmark and Norway, hoping Germans will stump up hundreds of euros from their own pockets as public health insurance plans there are barred from covering it.


Reuters article – Novo's Wegovy shows heart benefit alongside weight loss in trial (Open access)


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