Obesity is a medical condition that involves excessive accumulation of fat in a person’s body and though there have been many procedures like bariatric surgery, liposuction, diets, and physical workouts, nothing has come closer to the effectiveness of a new drug called ‘semaglutide’.
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Northwestern University in Chicago tested semaglutide, a drug that is being sold as Type 2 diabetes treatment, at a much higher dose as an anti-obesity medication.
The study involved 1,961 participants with a body mass index of 30 or more who did not have diabetes and randomly assigned them, in a 2:1 ratio, to 68 weeks of treatment with once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide (at a dose of 2.4 mg) or placebo, plus lifestyle intervention. After 68 weeks, it was found that those who got the drug, observed a 15 percent loss of their body weight on average as compared to the 2.4 percent of those receiving the placebo. Semaglutide is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring hormone that acts on appetite centers in the brain and in the gut, producing feelings of full appetite. Through this drug, a person will not feel hungry frequently and will curb the intake of excess calories.
Dr. Clifford Rosen of Maine Medical Center Research Institute said in an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine that the study gives hope to obesity patients and she thinks that it has a huge potential for weight loss. Unlike other weight loss drugs in the past, semaglutide has shown marginal gastrointestinal symptoms among the participants. This is what sets this drug apart from other weight loss drugs in the market, its effectiveness and minimal side effects. However, it is reported that once a person starts taking semaglutide, they may have to continue its dosage lifelong to prevent the risk of a relapse. Another setback of this drug is its price. The lower dose of semaglutide, which is marketed by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is sold for $1000 on an average in the US.