Wegovy helps reduce heart failure symptoms in obese people, study says

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A selection of injector pens for the Wegovy weight loss drug are shown in this photo illustration in Chicago, Illinois, March 31, 2023.

Jim Vondruska | Reuters

Wegovy, the popular weight loss drug from Novo Nordisk, significantly reduced symptoms of a common type of heart failure in patients with obesity, according to a late-stage clinical trial released Friday. Wegovy, the popular weight loss drug from

Novo Nordisk

, significantly reduced symptoms of a common type of heart failure in patients with obesity, according to a late-stage clinical trial released Friday. The results were also a lower blood pressure, and a reduction in inflammation. These are two important indicators of heart health. The results are yet another addition to Wegovy’s growing list. This could lead to increased use of the medication and coverage by insurance companies. These results complement Novo Nordisk’s groundbreaking trial data released earlier in the month. It found that Wegovy reduced the risk of serious cardiac problems by 20%.

Martin Lange, Novo Nordisk’s head of development said, “We are looking forward to working with the clinical community to realise this potential in the coming months.” He was referring the benefits of both trials for heart health. The new study, which involved 529 obese people, focused on a condition called preserved ejection ratio (HFpEF), which occurs when the lower chamber of the heart pumps less blood than is needed by the body. The study published in New England Journal of Medicine found that Wegovy improved symptoms of HFpEF by nearly 17 points on a scale of 100.

By comparison, patients who received a placebo had a 9-point improvement.

Wegovy also led to improvements in physical limitations: Patients who took the drug were able to walk further in six minutes than those in the placebo group.

Those who were on Wegovy lost 13% of their weight over the course the year long trial, compared to 2.6% of those on placebo. More patients quit taking Wegovy due to gastrointestinal problems, which is common with other weight-loss drugs. CNBC Health & Sciences

Read CNBC’s latest health coverage. These drugs are GLP-1 agonists. They mimic the hormone that is produced in your gut to suppress appetite. But Novo Nordisk has been struggling with supply issues that have caused shortages of these drugs. There have been reports of people who experienced suicidal or self-harming thoughts after taking Wegovy, and other weight-loss drugs. This raises questions about unintended side effects and potential life-threatening consequences.