Ozempic’s Semaglutide Drug May Protect Kidneys, Study Finds

Top line

Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss shot semaglutide, the ingredient inside its popular drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, may also help protect the kidneys, according to new research, a finding that bolsters the growing public health argument for the drug amid continued concerns about costs and supply shortages. .

Key facts

The findings come from an analysis of data from the years-long Select trial of semaglutide.

Select, funded by Novo, is Wegovy’s largest clinical trial and includes a group of 17,604 overweight or obese adult participants aged 45 years and older from 41 countries.

There were 22% fewer people with kidney-related problems among the cohort of nearly 9,000 people who received weekly injections of semaglutide compared with the group that received a placebo, the researchers found, a relative incidence of 1.8% and the 2.2%, respectively.

The researchers considered a variety of kidney problems, including death from kidney causes, a significant decline in kidney function, initiation of chronic renal replacement therapy, and the development or persistence of macroalbuminuria (elevated levels of the protein albumin in the urine). ).

Semaglutide’s ability to address this latter condition, the development of macroalbuminuria, is likely a key factor in reducing the chance of kidney-related complications, the researchers said.

Patients taking semaglutide also showed notably smaller declines in a key metric of kidney function called estimated glomerular filtration rate, which was particularly pronounced among those with low baseline readings indicative of deterioration, the researchers said, suggesting the drug may Help protect people with pre-existing kidney failure.

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Tangent

Kidney injury has been reported as a possible side effect of taking semaglutide and is listed as a potential risk on the Food and Drug Administration drug label. However, in this latest trial, researchers said they did not find an increased risk of acute kidney injury related to semaglutide treatment. This held regardless of baseline kidney function, the researchers added.

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Novo Nordisk last year ended a separate trial of the drug to treat kidney disease much earlier than expected due to positive results. The trial, called FLOW, found a 24% reduction in kidney disease-related events among patients taking semaglutide compared to placebo. Both obesity and diabetes contribute to kidney damage, and the success of weight-loss drugs, as well as early data suggesting broader kidney benefits, have weighed on stocks of dialysis companies.

Key background

The results add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that the health benefits of popular weight-loss injections extend far beyond obesity, a condition itself known to have a wide-ranging impact. in the mind and body. In addition to obesity and diabetes, the disease initially treated with GLP-1 drugs like semaglutide, Wegovy now includes cardiovascular benefits on its label. Many other conditions are also being explored, including sleep apnea, addiction, anxiety, Parkinson’s, and fatty liver disease. The data that market leaders Novo and Eli Lilly (which produces tirzepatide, marketed as Mounjaro and Zepbound) can otherwise generate is critical to helping them maintain an advantage over their competitors as they race to bring their first products to market and bolster the market. public. health case so that the authorities delay financing the medicines.

Other readings

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