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A new study shows semaglutide 2.4 mg (Wegovy), a weekly injected prescription medication for overweight adults, may prevent major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) such as cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack or non-fatal stroke.

Novo Nordisk released the results of the significant clinical trial called SELECT. The trail studied the effects of Wegovy on people with cardiovascular disease, who were overweight or obese, and did not have diabetes. The double-blinded trial followed 17,604 adults aged 45 or older for up to five years.

UNC site Principal Investigator John Buse, MD, PhD, Cassandra Donahue, research coordinator, and Julie Uehling, research coordinator, enrolled and examined 34 participants over several years. The recently released results showed those treated with Wegovy had a 20% lower risk of experiencing a MACE compared to the placebo group.

“While these results are only a preliminary press release primarily intended to minimize rumors in financial markets, the SELECT trial changes weight loss therapy from something that many people want to something with clear cut benefits on “hard” outcomes like heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death,” Dr. Buse said. “That is a first for any weight loss treatment trial to date and should change the conversation about weight loss to one focused on the health benefits and not cosmetic changes.”

All three components of MACE – cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack and non-fatal stroke – contributed to the overall reduction in risk seen with Wegovy. With currently no approved medications that effectively manage weight and reduce cardiovascular risks, Wegovy is expected to make a large impact.

Novo Nordisk announced their plans to seek regulatory approvals to expand the use of semaglutide 2.4 mg (marketed as Wegovy®) in the US and the EU based on these positive results. The detailed findings from the trial will be presented at a scientific conference later in the year.