Semaglutide for Weight Loss in 10 Days
Semaglutide can effectively reduce more than one-fifth or 20 per cent of a person’s total body weight, a new global study has revealed, paving the way for improving the health of people with obesity. The trial, published in the New England Journal for Medicine, showed that over 35 per cent of the participants who took the medicine, semaglutide, lost over a fifth of their total body weight. Semaglutide was developed by Danish pharmaceutical Novo Nordisk and is approved as a medication for diabetes in several countries, including the US, Canada and Japan. The medicine has been designed to structurally mimic the human glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) hormone, which is naturally released into the blood by the gut after meals. The hormone makes humans feel full. “The findings of this study represent a major breakthrough for improving the health of people with obesity. Three quarters (75%) of people who received semaglutide 2.4mg lost more than 10% of their body weight and more than one-third lost more than 20%,” Rachel Batterham, a professor at University College London and one of the principal authors of the study, said in a statement. “No other medicine has come close to producing this level of weight loss — this really is a gamechanger. For the first time, people can achieve through medicines what was only possible through weight-loss surgery,” Batterham added.
Semaglutide to Lose Weight in 10 Days
For the first time, a medicine has been shown so effective against obesity that patients may dodge many of its worst consequences, including diabetes, researchers reported Wednesday. The medicine, semaglutide, made by Novo Nordisk, already is marketed as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. In a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers at Northwestern University in Chicago tested semaglutide at a much higher dose as an anti-obesity medication. Nearly 2,000 participants, at 129 centers in 16 countries, injected themselves weekly with semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks. Those who got the medicine lost close to 15% of their body weight, on average, compared with 2.4% among those receiving the placebo. More than a third of the participants receiving the medicine lost more than 20% of their weight. Symptoms of diabetes and prediabetes improved in many patients. Those results far exceed the amount of weight loss observed in clinical trials of other obesity medications, experts said. The medicine is a “game-changer,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, an obesity researcher at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, who led the study. “This is the start of a new era of effective treatments for obesity.” Dr. Clifford Rosen of Maine Medical Center Research Institute, who was not involved in the trial, said, “I think it has a huge potential for weight loss.” Gastrointestinal symptoms among the participants were “really marginal — nothing like with weight loss medicines in the past,” added Rosen, an editor at the New England Journal of Medicine and a co-author of an editorial accompanying the study. For decades, scientists have searched for ways to help growing numbers of people struggling with obesity. Five currently available anti-obesity medicines have side effects that limit their use. The most effective, phentermine, brings about a 7.5% weight loss, on average, and can be taken only for a short time. After it is stopped, even that amount of weight is regained. The most effective treatment so far is bariatric surgery, which helps people lose 25-30% of body weight, on average, noted Dr. Louis Aronne, an obesity researcher at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York who advises Novo Nordisk and studies semaglutide. But surgery is an invasive solution that permanently alters the digestive system. Only 1% of those who qualify go through with the procedure. Instead, most obese people try diet after diet with disappointing results; many remain ashamed of their weight and fault themselves for a lack of willpower. The semaglutide study confirms what scientists already know, Kushner said: Willpower is not enough. In the new trial, participants who received the placebo and diet and exercise counseling were unable to see any significant difference in their weight. Generally, insurers have refused to pay for the weight-loss medicines on the market. Semaglutide is likely to be expensive. The lower dose used to treat diabetes carries an average retail price of nearly $1,000 a month. Dr. Caroline Apovian, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a member of Novo Nordisk’s advisory board, said that the effectiveness of semaglutide was “phenomenal” and that the trial results may lead insurers to cover it. Semaglutide is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone that acts on appetite centers in the brain and in the gut, producing feelings of satiety. A high-dose regimen of the medicine has not been studied long enough to know if it has serious long-term consequences. And it is expected that patients would have to take it for a lifetime to maintain the weight loss. Qiana Mosely, who lives in Chicago, spent years trying to lose weight with diets and medicines, but to no avail. Then Mosely joined the semaglutide trial and lost 40 pounds, about 15% of her weight. Mosely didn’t know until recently whether she was getting the medicine or the placebo. Even though she was trying to eat well and exercise, her weight “was dropping too fast,” she said. “It had to be the meds.” She experienced no side effects, she said. But when the trial ended and she no longer received the medicine, the weight started coming back. “I was so sad,” she said. She is eager to resume taking the medicine once it’s available.