Diabetes Risk Can be Curtailed With New Obesity Drug

Diabetes Risk Can be Curtailed With New Obesity Drug

by Dr. Jayashree Gopinath on Sep 14 2022 6:30 AM
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  • Obesity is believed to be the leading risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes
  • The new drug has been able to cause weight loss along with diet and exercise in obese people
  • Such a drug lowers blood sugar after excess food intake and prevents the risk of type 2 diabetes
The risk of type 2 diabetes is more than halved by weekly injections of the new obesity drug semaglutide, according to new research being presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in Stockholm, Sweden.

Semaglutide: New Drug for Weight Management in Obesity

Semaglutide was recently approved by FDA as an obesity treatment and has been provisionally approved to treat obesity in England (1 Trusted Source
FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014

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It is used in chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.

Obesity or overweight is a serious health issue associated with some leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and is linked to an increased risk of certain types of cancer.

Losing 5% to 10% of body weight through diet and exercise has been associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in adult patients with obesity or overweight.

In such a scenario, Semaglutide appears to be the most effective medication to date for treating obesity and is beginning to close the gap with the amount of weight loss following bariatric surgery.

Its approval was based on clinical trial results showing that it reduces weight by over 15% on average when used together with a healthy lifestyle program.

This amount of weight loss is sufficient to treat or prevent a broad array of obesity complications that impair health and quality of life and is a game changer in obesity medicine.

Can New Obesity Drugs Prevent Diabetes?

To learn more about this drug, researchers carried out a new analysis of the data from two trials of semaglutide. In the first trial, 1,961 participants with overweight or obesity received an injection of 2.4mg of semaglutide or a placebo weekly, for 68 weeks.

In the second trial, 803 participants with overweight or obese were involved. All received weekly injections of 2.4mg semaglutide for 20 weeks. They then either remained on semaglutide or were switched to a placebo for the next 48 weeks.

Participants in both trials received advice on diet and exercise. They used Cardiometabolic Disease Staging (CMDS) to predict the participants’ risk of developing T2D in the next 10 years (2 Trusted Source
NICE recommends new drug for people living with obesity

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CDMS has been previously shown to be a highly accurate measure of T2D risk and is calculated using a formula that factors in a patient’s sex, age, race, BMI, and blood pressure, as well as blood glucose, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

In the first trial participants receiving semaglutide, 10-year risk scores for T2D decreased by 61% (from 18.2% at week 0 to 7.1% at week 68). This compares to a 13% reduction in risk score for those given the placebo (17.8% at week 0 to 15.6% at week 68). Risk scores mirrored weight loss, which was 17%, on average, with semaglutide vs 3% with placebo.

At the start of the trial, risk scores were higher in the participants with pre-diabetes than in those with normal blood sugar levels. However, semaglutide reduced the risk by a similar amount in both groups.

In the second trial, the largest decreases in risk scores were seen in the first 20 weeks (from 20.6% at week 0 to 11.4% at week 20). In those who continued receiving semaglutide, the risk score decreased further to 7.7% but, in those who were switched to placebo, it rose to 15.4%.

These results indicate that sustained treatment with semaglutide is needed to maintain the reduction in type 2 diabetes risk. Semaglutide reduces the future risk of diabetes by over 60% in patients with obesity, which is similar to whether a patient has prediabetes or normal blood sugar levels.

Sustained treatment is required to maintain the benefit. Given the rising rates of obesity and diabetes, semaglutide could be used effectively to reduce the burden of these chronic diseases.

  1. FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014 - (
  2. NICE recommends new drug for people living with obesity - (