May 24, 2024

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Novo Nordisk’s Weight Loss Drug: Can Reduce Symptoms of Heart Failure in Obese Patients

Positive News for Novo Nordisk’s Weight Loss Drug: Can Reduce Symptoms of Heart Failure in Obese Patients


Positive News for Novo Nordisk’s Weight Loss Drug: Can Reduce Symptoms of Heart Failure in Obese Patients.

Novo Nordisk’s flagship weight loss drug, Wegovy, has been found to alleviate symptoms of heart failure in obese patients, according to a late-stage trial, enhancing the drug’s potential benefits. According to research published on Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine, a weekly dose can alleviate patients’ ailments, including shortness of breath, fatigue, leg swelling, and irregular heart rhythms.


Positive News for Novo Nordisk's Weight Loss Drug: Can Reduce Symptoms of Heart Failure in Obese Patients


Eugene Yang, a cardiac expert at the University of Washington and chairman of the American College of Cardiology’s Committee on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, described Novo Nordisk’s research as “very important.” Yang stated, “As cardiologists, we want people to feel better. Having patients who can walk farther is beneficial, and weight loss and optimizing other risk factors are beneficial.”


Obese individuals are typically at a higher risk of heart failure because the heart pumps less blood than required for the body. In the United States, an estimated 2.5 million people suffer from this condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), with over 80% of them also being obese. It is most common among the elderly and can be chronic and deadly.


Novo Nordisk had previously shared some results of its heart failure research in its company report earlier this month. Another trial indicated that Wegovy reduced the risk of heart attacks and strokes in patients. According to analyst Michael Shah, both of these studies are significant as Novo Nordisk is seeking broad reimbursement and insurance coverage for Wegovy, which could cost over $10,000 per year.


Martin Lange, Novo Nordisk’s head of research and development, stated that the company is awaiting the results of Wegovy’s study in type 2 diabetes patients with heart failure, expected to be released in the fourth quarter. Lange said that if these results are positive, the pharmaceutical company plans to seek an expansion of its treatment label, including for heart failure and obesity.


Shah noted that this would give Wegovy an advantage in competition with Eli Lilly’s weight loss drug Mounjaro. Mounjaro is expected to receive U.S. approval for the treatment of obesity this year and is also in late-stage research for heart failure treatment, although Lilly is unlikely to disclose these results before mid-2024.


Novo Nordisk’s study recruited 529 patients from March 2021 to March 2022, with a median age of 69. Over half were female, and two-thirds were severely obese, mostly Caucasian. About two-thirds of them had limitations in physical activity due to heart failure, while the rest faced greater difficulties in daily activities. Patients treated with Wegovy showed significant improvements in symptoms and physical limitations. Their blood pressure and inflammation were also lower compared to those who received a placebo, two important markers of heart health.


The study did not directly measure outcomes such as hospitalization and mortality, nor did any treatment show an increase in the long-term survival rate of heart failure patients observed in the study. Sadiya Khan, a cardiovascular epidemiologist at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, said, “Understanding whether semaglutide [Wegovy] can change this is really important.”


This research was also presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s annual congress in Amsterdam. The study revealed that treated patients had an average weight loss of approximately 31 pounds, which accounted for 13.3% of their body weight.


Other drugs can help reduce the chances of hospitalization for heart failure patients. AstraZeneca’s diabetes drug Farxiga received extended approval earlier this year, and Novartis’s heart failure drug Entresto was approved for use in treating adult chronic heart failure. Eli Lilly’s diabetes treatment Jardiance was approved for treating heart failure in type 2 diabetes patients. Khan pointed out, “We shouldn’t categorize certain drugs as diabetes drugs, heart drugs, or kidney drugs. Clearly, there are multiple benefits for obese individuals who have all of these conditions.”





Positive News for Novo Nordisk’s Weight Loss Drug: Can Reduce Symptoms of Heart Failure in Obese Patients

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