Researchers were thrilled to find that a potent anti-obesity medicine protects against significant heart problems. The findings may affect how and who receives this and other new obesity medicines.
Wegovy, a brand name for semaglutide, study data has not been released. However, Novo Nordisk, based in Bagsvaerd, Denmark, found that a weekly dose of Wegovy reduced the risk of serious cardiovascular events by 20% in persons with heart disease and overweight or obesity.
The findings are the first to demonstrate that semaglutide protects non-diabetics from major cardiovascular disease.
If validated, the results could transform preventive cardiology, researchers say. The findings also imply that new anti-obesity medications can enhance health beyond weight loss.
Michael Blaha, head of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Baltimore, Maryland, calls this the most important study in his profession in the previous decade. It addresses cardiometabolic risk, which is hard to treat.
This year's conference will provide the trial's full results. SELECT enrolled 17,604 cardiovascular disease patients without diabetes. Wegovy or a placebo was injected and followed for five years. The medication reduced heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease deaths.
Semaglutide, commercialized as Wegovy for obesity and Ozempic for diabetes, mimics the appetite-regulating hormone GLP-1.
Wegovy was thought to prevent heart disease. Weight loss can improve cardiovascular disease risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol. Other variables may reduce risk. Gulati thinks GLP-1-mimicking medications can improve fatty-acid metabolism and reduce inflammation. “This is fascinating about these drugs. They treat the brain, pancreas, heart, and gut. More than weight loss.”
Beverly Tchang, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, predicts that more doctors will prescribe Wegovy. The findings support Wegovy's cardiovascular and weight-loss properties.