The global study involved 1,210 Type 2 diabetes patients at 149 sites around the world. They resided in 12 countries in North America, Europe, South America, the Middle East, South Africa and Asia.
Participants’ present treatment did not result in adequate blood sugar management through various means. They included diet and exercise, or glucose-lowering medicines, such as metformin, used to manage the disease.
Over 25% of patients involved could lose more than 15% of their body weight. That weight loss was much greater than what’s been seen with any other medication given to diabetes patients. On average, study participants were able to lose almost 22 pounds.
“These results are exciting and represent a new era in weight management in people with type 2 diabetes – they mark a real paradigm shift in our ability to treat obesity, the results bring us closer to what we see with more invasive surgery,” lead author Melanie Davies, professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester and the co-director of the Leicester Diabetes Centre, said in a statement.
“It is also really encouraging that along with the weight loss we saw real improvements in general health, with significant improvement in physical functioning scores, blood pressure and blood glucose control,” she added.
The worldwide study comes weeks after the results of another one by scientists at University College London. In that study, a third of participants who took Semaglutide lost at least 20% or more of their body weight.
“No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss — this really is a gamechanger. For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery,” said Rachel Batterham, professor of obesity, diabetes and endocrinology who leads the Centre for Obesity Research at UCL and the UCLH Centre for Weight Management.