A study has found a link between obesity and weekly usage of semaglutide. Semaglutide is widely used for the treatment of diabetes. It acts like human glucagon-like peptide-1 in that it increases insulin secretion.
“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 study, which has been published in The New England Journal of Medicine, says.
As per the 2021 study, a total of 1961 participants with a body mass index of more than 30, without having diabetes, were assigned to 68 weeks of treatment with once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide or placebo, plus lifestyle intervention.
It found that more participants in the semaglutide group than in the placebo group achieved weight reductions of 5% or more. In the semaglutide group, the weight dropped by more than 15 kg and in the placebo group it was 2.6 kg.
On the side effects of the trial, the study reveals that, “Nausea and diarrhea were the most common adverse events with semaglutide; they were typically transient and mild-to-moderate in severity and subsided with time. More participants in the semaglutide group than in the placebo group discontinued treatment owing to gastrointestinal events.”
“Weight loss with semaglutide was accompanied by greater improvements than placebo with respect to cardiometabolic risk factors, including reductions in waist circumference, blood pressure, glycated hemoglobin levels, and lipid levels; a greater decrease from baseline in C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation; and a greater proportion of participants with normoglycemia,” it adds.
Lifestyle interventions plus weekly semaglutide are helpful for reducing obesity in adults without diabetes, the study confirms from the 68 week treatment. “Our trial showed that among adults with overweight or obesity (without diabetes), once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide plus lifestyle intervention was associated with substantial, sustained, clinically relevant mean weight loss of 14.9%, with 86% of participants attaining at least 5% weight loss,” the study concludes.
Cases of obesity and overweight have been increasing. As per the data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975. WHO defines overweight and obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Body mass index or the BMI is commonly used to tell if a person is overweight or not.
A person whose BMI is more than or equal to 25 is overweight and a person whose BMI is greater than 30 is said to be obese.
Overweight and obesity are linked to more deaths worldwide than underweight, says WHO report.
In India, orlistat and liraglutide medications are recommended for treating obesity. While Orlistat is a pancreatic lipase inhibitor, taken before meals and associated with weight loss of up to 10% of initial weight over one year in study settings, as per a study, Liraglutide is a GLP-1 agonist used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (brand name Victoza) and its use is associated with weight loss in these patients.
In 2020, oral semaglutide was approved by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI).
Various surgical methods like bariatric surgery are also available for treating obesity.
Lifestyle habits majorly affect the BMI of an individual. In order to cut down the chances of getting overweight or obese, one should limit energy intake from total fats and sugars, increase consumption of fruit and vegetables, as well as legumes, whole grains and nuts; and engage in regular physical activity which should be atleast 60 minutes a day for children and 150 minutes spread through the week for adults.
Many studies have also associated higher risk of COVID with obese people.