Clinical trial demonstrates reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events of 20 percent, drug maker says
By Physician’s Briefing Staff HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, Aug. 8, 2023 (HealthDay News) — A large clinical trial weighing the medical merits of the obesity drug Wegovy (semaglutide) has unearthed a significant positive side effect. Taking the medication cut the risk for serious heart problems by 20 percent, drug maker Novo Nordisk announced Tuesday.
“People living with obesity have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but, to date, there are no approved weight-management medications proven to deliver effective weight management while also reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death,” Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president for development at Novo Nordisk, said in a company news release.
According to Howard Weintraub, M.D., clinical director of the Center for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease at NYU Langone Heart in New York City, “There is now a drug that is well tolerated and safe from a cardiovascular perspective, that also lowers body weight in an effective manner. On top of all of this, there is significant reduction in the cumulative outcome of nonfatal myocardial infarction, cardiac death, and stroke.”
“This is a very important study,” Weintraub told HealthDay, “as no other weight loss medication has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events. It is likely that the beneficial impacts of this drug go above and beyond just weight loss. We were part of this important trial, and I think we all agree that this was a very important study.”
However, Novo Nordisk did not share any additional details about exactly how the medication impacted weight loss or heart health, and the data have not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The trial results may help provide the evidence needed for insurance coverage of the medication. The drug’s list price is $1,349 a month, and neither Medicare nor health insurance companies cover weight-loss medications, The New York Times reported. About 17,000 adults who were overweight or obese and had cardiovascular disease but not diabetes participated in the Novo Nordisk trial. Researchers tracked the incidence of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular deaths during the five-year study period.
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