CNN – The diabetes and weight loss drug semaglutide significantly reduced symptoms and improved quality of life in people with obesity and the most common form of heart failure in a clinical trial, potentially expanding the already wildly popular drug’s use beyond diabetes and weight loss and offering a new treatment option where few are available.
The study of 529 patients, funded by drugmaker Novo Nordisk, found that a 2.4-milligram weekly dose of semaglutide, sold as Wegovy for weight loss, led to an improvement of 17 points on a 100-point scale that’s used to assess symptoms of a condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.
By comparison, participants who got a placebo had a 9-point improvement. The study was published Friday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
In real terms, that difference means Wegovy helped people with heart failure have less shortness of breath, fatigue, trouble exerting themselves and swelling, as well as better exercise function and quality of life, all part of a scale known as the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire clinical summary score, said Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, cardiologist and vice president for research at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, Missouri, who led the trial.
“This is the largest treatment benefit we’ve ever seen for that endpoint in this patient population with any drug,” Kosiborod told CNN ahead of the European Society of Cardiology meeting in Amsterdam, where the results are being presented.
There are 64 million people globally living with heart failure, Novo Nordisk said in a statement about the trial results. It’s a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs.
Preserved ejection fraction means the heart can pump normally but is too stiff to fill properly. This type of heart failure accounts for more than half of all cases in the US and is increasing in prevalence, according to Kosiborod and his co-authors …