The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a new drug called semaglutide for the treatment of obesity. As per the experts, nearly 70 percent of people in the US are dealing with the condition. The drug has been developed by Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk. The officials of the company have said that they have been looking forward to launching this drug that will be sold under the brand name Wegovy in the US by the end of June 2021. The approval of the drug has come as a big win for the company that has been struggling to keep its core insulin business afloat. The company has been facing tough competition in the market that has prompted it to focus on newer diabetes and obesity drugs to revive its growth. The officials of the company have said that the revenue growth of the firm has been relying on the sales of its brand new GLP-1 products that mimic an intestinal hormone, which triggers insulin production. They have said that GLP-1 products can suppress appetite and shoot up the feeling of fullness in patients. Many health experts have said that semaglutide might be a game-changer in the fight against the crisis of obesity in the country.
Health experts have said that semaglutide is an injectables medicine that has been proved to be effective in the treatment of patients who are dealing with chronic obesity. An obesity medicine specialist and trial investigator of the drug, Robert F. Kushner has said that the medicine has been able to cause an average of 15 percent weight loss that has not been seen earlier. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that at present around 42 percent of adults in the US are dealing with obesity. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) at or above 30, said the experts. Dr. John Sharretts has said that with the approval of the drug, people who are dealing with obesity or are overweight will have a beneficial treatment that can be included in their weight management program. Dr. John Sharretts is the deputy director of the Division of Diabetes Lipid Disorders and Obesity in the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA. Semaglutide has been authorized by the FDA in 2019 for treating type 2 diabetes at a lower dose that is currently being sold under the brand name of Ozempic. Experts have said that at a higher dose of 2.4 mg, the drug works on the center region of the brain to cut down appetite. It leads to potentially major weight loss when it is incorporated with higher physical activity and counseling sessions with dieticians to keep up a reduced diet. As per the experts, the drug specifically targets patients who have BMI above 30 or those with BMI above 27 who are also dealing with at least one weight-linked comorbidity.
The randomized and controlled phase 3 clinical trial of the drug has been conducted by experts from Northwestern University in Chicago. Experts have evaluated the effect of the drug on weight loss in 2000 people across 16 countries. Health experts have said that semaglutide is a complete exemplar shift from other obesity drugs as it targets the gut s opposed to the brain. In the study, participants have been given semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks. The authors of the study have said that on average more than half of those who have been given the drug have been able to lose nearly 15 percent of their body weight. More than a third of them have been able to lose 20 percent of their body weight. Robert F. Kushner has said that existing obesity treatments are able to trigger 6 to 12 percent of weight loss. One of the authors of the study, Dr. Sriram Machineni has said that for a person who weighs 200 or 250 pounds, losing 50 pounds is a landmark improvement. Dr. Sriram Machineni is also the director of the medical Weight Clinic at the University of North Carolina. Obesity has become a huge matter of concern as it has been linked to a number of health issues such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and cancer as well. The metabolic implications of obesity have been quite prevalent in the recent COVID19 pandemic keeping people with obesity at a greater risk of severe COVID19, hospitalization, and mortality. A recent study has shown that by 2030, nearly 1 in 2 people in the US will be dealing with obesity. The findings of phase 3 clinical trial of semaglutide have been released in the New England Journal of Medicine.