Wegovy Users Maintain Weight Loss Over Four Years, Novo Nordisk Study Reveals

Wegovy Users Maintain Weight Loss Over Four Years | Healthcare 360 Magazine


Patients using Novo Nordisk’s obesity treatment Wegovy have maintained an average weight loss of 10% over four years, according to new data. This finding may strengthen the Danish drugmaker’s position in convincing insurers and governments to cover the cost of the effective but expensive drug. The long-term data was presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy, following substantial results from a previous large study published last year.

Semaglutide’s Sustained Impact

“This is the longest study we’ve conducted so far of semaglutide for weight loss,” said Martin Holst Lange, Novo Nordisk’s head of development, referring to the active ingredient in Wegovy and the diabetes drug Ozempic. “We see that once the majority of the weight loss is accrued, you don’t go back and start to increase in weight if you stay on the drug,” he added.

The new data could potentially convince insurers and governments to reimburse Wegovy, which costs between $200 and $2,000 per month in the ten countries where it has been launched. Following the announcement, Novo Nordisk’s shares rose by 1.1% at 0936 GMT, although analysts attributed the rise more to strong data from a late-stage trial of the company’s hemophilia A drug.

Market Opportunities

Markus Manns, a portfolio manager at Union Investment and a Novo Nordisk shareholder, noted that the new data “unlocks another $2 billion opportunity” for the company. Wegovy was the first GLP-1 agonist medication for obesity, originally developed for diabetes. Eli Lilly’s rival drug Zepbound, launched in the United States in December, also belongs to this newer generation of medicines. Both companies have struggled to meet the high demand for these treatments.

The 17,604-patient trial tested Wegovy for its heart protective benefits in overweight and obese patients with preexisting heart disease but without diabetes. Participants were not required to track their diet and exercise as it was not an obesity study. Patients in the trial, called Select, lost nearly 10% of their total body weight after 65 weeks on Wegovy. This weight loss was sustained year-on-year, reaching 10.2% after about four years.

Broader Health Impacts

A new analysis from the Select study revealed that the heart protective benefits of Wegovy were observed regardless of patients’ weight before starting the drug or how much weight they lost. “We now also understand that while body weight loss is important, it’s not the only thing driving the cardiovascular benefit of semaglutide treatment,” Lange explained.

The Select study found that Wegovy reduced the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as strokes, by 20% in overweight or obese individuals with a history of heart disease. This finding sent Novo Nordisk’s shares soaring by 13% to record highs when it was first released in August. Researchers are continuing to investigate the mechanisms behind the cardiovascular protection provided by semaglutide.

Expanding Research about Wegovy Users weight loss

Wegovy and its competitor Zepbound are being tested for various medical uses, including reducing heart attack risk, and treating sleep apnea and kidney disease. The weight loss observed in the heart trial was slightly less than the average 15% weight loss seen in earlier Wegovy obesity studies before the drug’s US launch in June 2021.

As Novo Nordisk continues to present compelling evidence of Wegovy’s long-term benefits, the company aims to solidify its case for broader insurance coverage, potentially transforming the landscape of obesity treatment.

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