According to a recent study, a new drug Semaglutide is a game-changer for its ability to battle obesity by cutting down bodyweight up to 20 per cent.
The study published in the New England Journal for Medicine found that the drug acts by hijacking the body's appetite system in the brain, leading to reduced hunger and calorie intake. In short, the drug suppresses the appetite of the person.
Semaglutide is a drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes since it increases the production of insulin in the body, thereby lowering the blood sugar level.
The 63-week long international trial conducted by a team from University College London (UCL) included about 2000 adults from 16 countries who were either overweight or had obesity. They were asked to take a 2.4mg dose of Semaglutide weekly through under-the-skin injections. The participants were also provided face-to-face and phone counselling sessions from registered dieticians every four weeks to give them guidance in behavioural strategies, motivate them to increase physical activities, etc.
The results revealed that one third (35 per cent) of people who took the new drug lost more than one-fifth of their total body weight. The average participant in the trial lost about 15.3 kg.
"The findings of this study represent a major breakthrough in improving the health of people with obesity. Three quarters (75 per cent) of people who received Semaglutide 2.4mg lost more than 10 per cent of their body weight and more than one-third lost more than 20 per cent," said Rachel Batterham, principal author of the study and professor of 'Obesity, Diabetes and Endocrinology' at University College London.
Professor Batterham also added that previously weight loss was possible only through weight-loss surgery. "No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss; this really is a game-changer. This drug could have major implications for UK health policy for years to come," she said.
Those who had taken Semaglutide also saw significant reductions in risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as waist circumference, blood fats, blood sugar and blood pressure. An improvement in their overall quality of life was reported.
With evidence from this study, Semaglutide has now been submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for regulatory approval to be used to treat obesity.