Weight loss injection may reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes

Latest research shows an injection developed to tackle obesity cuts the risk of heart attacks and strokes, regardless of the amount of weight lost.

A team of global researchers explored the effects of semaglutide, a prescription drug that makes people feel full, sold under the brand names Wegovy, Ozempic and Rybelsus.

The longest and largest study of the obesity injection used data from the Select trial, run by semaglutide manufacturer Novo Nordisk, to examine 17,604 adults over the age of 45 from 41 countries.

The research consolidated the evidence that Semaglutide has a positive impact on blood sugar, blood pressure or inflammation, as well as direct effects on the heart muscle and vessels – in people with Diabetes Mellitus.

Prof John Deanfield, an investigator in the study, said: “We finally figured out that there was a drug class that would change the biology of this disease to benefit a lot of people. That was a major breakthrough and it’s transformed cardiology practice.”

This builds on the well established data from the diabetes field which showed benefits back in 2016.

This sub analysis from SELECT which will be presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Venice, looked at the amount of time before patients suffered major cardiovascular events or whether they developed heart failure.

Key findings included that after 20 weeks of being on semaglutide, 62 per cent of patients had lost more than five per cent of their bodyweight compared with 10 per cent in a placebo group.

Another recent study also concluded that semaglutide led to larger reductions in heart failure–related symptoms, physical limitations and greater weight loss than placebo at 1 year.

This research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, was co-authored by Professor Melanie Davies, who chaired the Obesity and Weight Management inaugural conference.

Professor Melanie Davies, Director of the National Institute for Health and Care Research Leicester Biomedical Research Centre said: “The impact of semaglutide we observed in this study represents a major advance for patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and obesity.

“Given that semaglutide is currently available and approved for the treatment of obesity, we believe that this data can be readily translated into clinical care, especially if followed by additional regulatory approvals and if the guidelines concurrently support such a recommendation.”

Read the full study here.

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