Wegovy Cuts the Risk of Major Heart Risks By 20%

According to findings from a landmark trial revealed by the medicine company Novo Nordisk on August 8, the weight-loss medication Wegovy reduces the risk of adverse heart events by 20%.

A sizable trial had demonstrated the highly successful obesity treatment's evident cardiovascular benefit, increasing the Danish company's hopes of shedding its reputation as a lifestyle medication.

Since its premiere in the United States in June 2021, the increasingly well-liked Wegovy has revolutionized the weight-loss industry, attracting patients, investors, and celebrities worldwide.

The GLP-1 receptor agonist is suggested in addition to a low-calorie diet and increased exercise.

The designation of weight-loss therapies as lifestyle drugs under American law, which bans the Medicare health plan for older Americans from covering them, may be reconsidered in light of the new findings.

According to the study findings, Wegovy reduced the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death from heart disease by 20% compared to taking a placebo. There has yet to be any peer assessment of this data.

How was the study conducted?

The SELECT trial involved 17,500 individuals that were overweight or obese. Participants also had a history of heart disease and were 45 years or older, with no history of diabetes. Testing to see whether the weekly injection has therapeutic advantages began approximately five years ago.

The findings spark discussion about whether the long-term medical advantages will be sufficient to lessen the total financial strain on healthcare systems and the expense of treating cardiac disease in overweight and obese patients.

"I suspect that medical claims savings from this are years away," says a consultant at Willis Towers Watson, Jeff Levin-Scherz.

According to him, the drugs may, at most, be more cost-effective in improving patients' quality of life rather than lowering their overall healthcare expenses. Many American businesses that historically managed their employees' health insurance and offered coverage for weight-loss operations have scaled back due to rising costs.

People living 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.

- Martin Holst Lange, Executive Vice President for Development at Novo Nordisk

The trial, he continued, has shown that semaglutide 2.4 mg can potentially alter how obesity is perceived and treated. As a result, he said, the team is "very excited," about the findings.

To expand the label indication for Wegovy in the U.S. and the European Union, Novo said it plans to file for regulatory approvals in 2023. Later in 2023, a scientific meeting will present the trial's comprehensive results.

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