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Weight loss drug Wegovy slashes risk of serious heart complications

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Still life of Wegovy an injectable prescription weight loss medicine that has helped people with obesity. It should be used with a weight loss plan and physical activity. 

Michael Siluk | UCG | Getty Images

Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy cut the risk of serious cardiovascular complications in people with obesity and heart disease in a closely watched trial, demonstrating a particularly large effect on heart attacks, a promising new frontier for the drug.

The roughly 17,500-person Select study tested Wegovy in people with obesity and heart disease but who did not have diabetes. Weekly injections of Wegovy slashed the overall risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes by 20%, according to detailed results from the trial presented Saturday at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions and simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Novo Nordisk disclosed topline data from the study in August. 

The findings could expand insurance coverage of Wegovy, a major barrier thus far for the drug and similar GLP-1 agonists, and spur broader use of the anti-obesity drug.

“This is the first time that medication approved for chronic obesity management can be considered life saving,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, a professor of medicine in endocrinology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine who was involved with the study.

The new data could also help the Danish pharmaceutical company maintain its lead over Eli Lilly, whose competing weight-loss drug Zepbound was approved in the U.S. earlier this week. Zepbound has been shown to help people lose more weight, but it hasn’t yet demonstrated an effect on cardiovascular outcomes. 

“If you look at where the insurance companies are going to be obliged to go, they’re going to be obliged to go with the drug that reduces cardiovascular events,” said Dr. Howard Weintraub, clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Heart who was involved…

2023-11-11 08:30:01

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