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Once-Weekly Semaglutide Promising for Weight Loss

THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2021 -- Individuals with overweight or obesity receiving once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide plus lifestyle intervention achieved sustained, clinically relevant reductions in body weight, according to a study published online Feb. 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

John P. H. Wilding, D.M., from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and colleagues enrolled 1,961 adults with a body mass index of 30 or greater who did not have diabetes and randomly assigned them to 68 weeks of either once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide or placebo plus lifestyle intervention in a 2:1 ratio.

The researchers found that the mean change in body weight from baseline to week 68 was −14.9 and −2.4 percent in the semaglutide and placebo groups, respectively, for an estimated treatment difference of −12.4 percent. At week 68, compared with the placebo group, more participants in the semaglutide group achieved weight loss of 5 percent or more (86.4 versus 31.5 percent), 10 percent or more (69.1 versus 12.0 percent), and 15 percent or more (50.5 versus 4.9 percent). With respect to cardiometabolic risk factors, participants who received semaglutide had greater improvement than those receiving placebo. The most common adverse events with semaglutide were nausea and diarrhea, which were typically transient, were mild to moderate in severity, and decreased with time.

"The STEP 1 trial (like its name) is a good beginning," write the authors of an accompanying editorial. "However, as noted by the authors, there are concerns, including adverse events."

The study was funded by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of semaglutide.

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Editorial (subscription or payment may be required)

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Posted: February 2021

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