Semaglutide Could Improve Weight Loss Efforts

Injectable semaglutide, incombination with lifestyle intervention, has been shown to improve weight loss efforts among patients with overweight who do not have diabetes, according to the results of a recent study.

In order to examine whether the addition of semaglutide, which is approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, could affect weight among patients without the disease, the researchers conducted a double-blind trial involving 1961 adults with body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or 27 or greater in individuals with one or more weight-related coexisting conditions. All participants did not have diabetes and were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to 68 weeks of treatment with either once-weekly 2.4 mg subcutaneous semaglutide or placebo. Both groups also underwent a lifestyle intervention.

Overall, the mean change in body weight over the course of the study was -14.9% and -2.4% in the semaglutide and placebo groups, respectively, and significantly more participants in the semaglutide group achieved weight reductions of 5% or more, 10% or more, and 15% or more than did those in the placebo group.

Changes in cardiometabolic risk factors and physical functioning were also significantly higher in the semaglutide group compared with the placebo group. The most common side effects were nausea and diarrhea.

“In participants with overweight or obesity, 2.4 mg of semaglutide once weekly plus lifestyle intervention was associated with sustained, clinically relevant reduction in body weight,” the researchers concluded.

—Michael Potts


Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, et al. Once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity. Published online February 10, 2021. NEJM. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2032183