Data confirms that semaglutide lowers blood pressure

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US scientists have released new data supporting initial findings that diabetes and weight loss drug semaglutide (Wegovy/Ozempic) lowers cardiovascular risk regardless of blood sugar.

A weekly dose of semaglutide 2.4mg significantly reduced the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) in people with overweight or obesity and cardiovascular disease but not diabetes, regardless of blood sugar level, according to a clinical trial.

The findings also show the reduction in MACEs isn’t due to the drug’s effect in lowering blood sugar.

“We showed that even people with completely normal blood sugar have the same benefits in reducing MACEs as people with blood sugar levels in the prediabetes range. This is very important information that helps us understand which patients might benefit from the cardiovascular risk-lowering effects of this medicine,” said first author Ildiko Lingvay, Professor of Internal Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and in the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health at UT Southwestern.

Semaglutide offers a range of health benefits

The Semaglutide Effects on Cardiovascular Outcomes in People with Overweight or Obesity Trial (SELECT) is the longest and largest study with semaglutide.

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It was originally approved in 2017 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for adults with Type 2 diabetes and in 2022 for chronic weight management.

The main results of the trial, published last year, showed a 20% reduction in the risk of MACE in 8,803 participants who took semaglutide, compared with placebo.

The drug exerts a wide variety of beneficial effects, including reducing blood sugar (glucose), body weight, blood pressure, blood lipids such as cholesterol, and inflammation, any of which can contribute to the reduction in MACE risk.

In another analysis of the SELECT study, Dr Lingvay and colleagues suggested semaglutide also has a beneficial effect on the kidneys.

Unfortunately, the supply of GLP-1 RAs continues to be limited and is not expected to return to normal until at least the end of 2024.

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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