Ozempic could be a gamechanger for cardiovascular disease

Patient using blood pressure monitor

Semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic) can produce clinically meaningful weight loss and delivers significant cardiovascular benefits, according to two studies presented at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO).

The studies are based on the Semaglutide and Cardiovascular Outcomes (SELECT) trial, the largest and longest clinical trial of the effects of semaglutide on weight in over 17,000 adults.

In 2023, the SELECT trial reported that adults with overweight or obesity but not diabetes taking semaglutide for more than three years had a 20% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or death due to cardiovascular disease, and lost an average 9.4% of their bodyweight.

The new studies found that patients lost on average 10% of their body weight and over 7cm from their waistline after four years.

Importantly, the findings also indicate that semaglutide delivers cardiovascular benefits irrespective of starting weight and the amount of weight lost.

“This fantastic drug really is a gamechanger,” study lead Professor John Deanfield from University College London, UK, told The Guardian. “Our findings show that the magnitude of this treatment effect with semaglutide is independent of the amount of weight lost, suggesting that the drug has other actions which lower cardiovascular risk beyond reducing unhealthy body fat.”

Ozempic has potential benefits to society

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 drug from Novo Nordisk, primarily prescribed for adults with type 2 diabetes (Ozempic) but it is also approved for weight loss as Wegovy.

Professor Jason Halford, President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, also speaking to The Guardian, said: “I think in the next 10 years we’ll see a radical change in the approach to healthcare. Once the costs come down then the cost savings to the NHS will be significant. There are already people in the Treasury thinking about the savings to the economy because of the opportunity to boost productivity.”

Diana Spencer, Senior Digital Content Editor, DDW

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