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GLP-1 Analogue Semaglutide Appears Promising in Phase 2 Study



Readers may by now be familiar with the GLP-1 analogue liraglutide, which has now been approved at the 3 mg dose (Saxenda(R)) for long-term obesity treatment in a growing number of countries.

Now, Novo Nordisk, the maker of liraglutide, announced preliminary results from their long-acting GLP-1 analogue semaglutide, suggesting a rather remarkable ~14% weight loss in a one-year double-blind placebo controlled dose-finding study.

According to the company’s press release,

In the trial, 957 people with obesity were randomised to treatment with doses of semaglutide between 0.05 to 0.4 mg/day or placebo. Liraglutide 3.0 mg/day was included for comparison. Approximately 100 people were included in each active treatment arm in combination with diet and exercise. All people in the trial were treated for 52 weeks followed by a 7-week follow-up period.

Furthermore,

From a mean baseline weight of around 111 kg and a body mass index of approximately 39 kg/m2, a weight loss up to 17.8 kg was observed after 52 weeks of treatment with semaglutide. This corresponded to an estimated 13.8% weight loss compared to the weight loss of 2.3% achieved by diet, exercise and placebo alone, with all treatment arms adjusted for people discontinuing treatment in the study. The results from the liraglutide 3.0 mg treatment arm were broadly in line with previously reported data.

Side effects were mainly reported as gastro-intestinal, as expected from this class of hormone analogues.

Clearly, if borne out by the final publication and confirmed in larger and longer studies, semaglutide may well prove to be even more effective than liraglutide.

It may be worth noting, that the ~14% weight loss reported in this trial comes very close to the mean ~15% weight loss seen with adjustable gastric banding, a bariatric surgical technique that is now increasingly seen as obsolete due to long-term complications and loss of effectiveness.

I’m guessing it’s now on to Phase 3 for this promising anti-obesity drug.

@DrSharma
Edmonton, AB

Disclaimer: I have received speaking and consulting honoraria from Novo Nordisk, the maker of liraglutide and semaglutide

1 Comment

  1. This looks absolutely amazing Dr. Sharma. Thank you for sharing.

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