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New Obesity Drug Could Help YOU Cut Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes By More Than Half

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New findings being described at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD – (19-23 Sept)) in Stockholm, Sweden, reveals that weekly injections of the new obesity drug semaglutide cut the risk of type 2 diabetes (T2D) by more than half.

Semaglutide was just recently approved as a treatment for obesity in the US, and it is also being considered as a treatment for obesity in UK and other parts of the world.

Dr. W. Timothy Garvey, of the Department of Nutrition Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in Birmingham, AL, USA, who oversaw the study, says that 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 clearance was based on clinical study data showing that, when combined with a healthy lifestyle program, it reduces weight by an average of over 15%.

“This amount of weight loss,” adds the author, “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.”

Since being overweight raises one’s odds of developing type 2 diabetes by at least a factor of six, Dr. Garvey and colleagues set out to determine if semaglutide could mitigate this effect.

They conducted a new analysis of the data from two semaglutide studies in order to find out more.

For 68 weeks, STEP1 participants (1,961) who were overweight or obese received weekly injections of 2.4 mg of semaglutide or a placebo.

There were 803 obese or overweight participants in STEP4. For 20 weeks, each person got weekly injections of 2.4 mg semaglutide. For the following 48 weeks, they were either kept on semaglutide or switched to a placebo.

Both trials’ participants got dietary and exercise recommendations.

The participants’ probability of acquiring T2D over the following ten years was predicted by the researchers using Cardiometabolic Disease Staging (CMDS).

The CDMS is derived using a formula that takes into account a patient’s sex, age, race, BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and has previously been demonstrated to be a very accurate indicator of T2D risk.

The 10-year risk scores for T2D in STEP1 patients receiving semaglutide dropped by 61% (from 18.2% at week 0 to 7.1% at week 68).

Those who got a placebo saw their risk score drop by 13%, from 17.8% at week 0 to 15.6% at week 68.

Semaglutide resulted in a 17% decrease in body weight compared to a 3% decrease with the placebo, and the corresponding decrease in risk scores was 17%.

Participants with pre-diabetes had greater risk ratings at the beginning of the study than participants with normal blood sugar levels. But in both groups, semaglutide lowered the risk by a comparable amount.

The biggest drops in risk scores were observed in the STEP 4 individuals throughout the first 20 weeks (from 20.6% at week 0 to 11.4% at week 20). The risk score increased to 15.4% in those who switched to placebo while it increased to 7.7% in those who kept taking semaglutide.

This suggests that to maintain the decrease in the risk of T2D, semaglutide medication must be continued.

According to Dr. Garvey, semaglutide lowers future diabetes risk in obese patients by more than 60%; this percentage holds true whether the patient has prediabetes or normal blood sugar levels.

“Sustained treated 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.”

Image Credit: Getty

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