Wegovy users keep the weight off after four years, study finds

A four-year study found taking Wegovy helps people lose weight and keep it off - UnSplash +

The findings also highlight the long-term safety of the drug

While many consumers have turned to weight loss drugs recently, many questions about the medication still remain. Some of these questions include the long-term efficacy and safety of the drug

Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of the weight loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide), has been conducting an ongoing clinical trial – the SELECT trial, and the four-year results have just been released. 

According to the findings, participants were taking the drug for four years without any major adverse effects, and they continued to keep the weight off – and continued to lose weight. 

“Our long-term analysis of semaglutide establishes that clinically relevant weight loss can be sustained for up to four years in a geographically and racially diverse population of adults with overweight and obesity but not diabetes,” said research Professor Donna Ryan. 

The four-year results

The researchers followed over 17,600 adults who were either overweight or obese, from over 800 countries, involved in the study. For 40 months, the participants were either treated with 2.4 mg of semaglutide each week or given a placebo. 

Ultimately, the researchers found that participants who took the weight loss drug for four years maintained their weight loss. 

Those taking Wegovy lost an average of 10.2% of their body weight and 7.7 cm off their waists over four years. Comparatively, those in the placebo group lost 1.5% of their body weight and 1.3 cm off their waists. 

Lower body mass index

At the two-year mark, the researchers observed that 52% of participants taking Wegovy had moved into a lower BMI category. On the other hand, just 16% of those taking the placebo saw a significant reduction in their BMI. 

Additionally, 12% of Wegovy-takers were able to move into a healthy BMI category, compared with just 1.2% of those in the placebo group. 

The researchers found these statistics held up regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, geographic location, and baseline metabolic health. 

“This degree of weight loss in such a large and diverse population suggests that it may be possible to impact the public health burden of multiple obesity-related illnesses,” Ryan said. “While our trial focused on cardiovascular events, many other chronic diseases, including several types of cancer, osteoarthritis, and anxiety and depression would benefit from effective weight management.”

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