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Discovery & Development Clinical Trials, Small Molecules

A Weighty Loss

A trial of Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide involving 1,961 obese patients has shown that the drug can help cut body weight. Three-quarters of patients receiving semaglutide lost more than 10 percent of their body weight, and over one-third lost more than 20 percent (1). Patients also showed improvement in cardiometabolic risk factors and a greater increase in self-reported physical functioning compared with placebo. The drug works by interfering with the brain’s appetite-regulating system, leading to reduced hunger and calorie intake.

One of the principal authors of the paper, Rachel Batterham, Professor of Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology at University College London, UK, said, “No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss – this really is a game changer. For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery (2).”

Semaglutide is already approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes in numerous countries, but Novo Nordisk has also filed for FDA and EMA approval to use the drug in weight management.

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  1. JPH Wilding et al., NEJM (2021). DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa2032183.
  2. UCL (2021). Available at bit.ly/37sHwBW.

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