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Novo Nordisk's diabetes treatment helps reduce weight in obese patients

Novo Nordisk A/S said its treatment semaglutide helped reduce weight in obese patients.

The Danish company is studying the medicine as a treatment for obesity in adult patients. Semaglutide is already approved in the U.S. and EU as a non-insulin medicine called Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes.

In a phase 2 trial, which lasted 52 weeks and enrolled 957 adult non-diabetic obese patients, those that received semaglutide lost up to 13.8% of their body weight, more than those treated with a placebo, who lost 2.3% of their body weight.

More specifically, 83% of people treated with semaglutide lost greater than or equal to 5% of their body weight, compared to 23% with placebo and 66% with liraglutide, and 65% lost greater than or equal to 10%, compared to 10% with placebo and 34% with liraglutide.

Liraglutide is an injectable drug developed by Novo Nordisk for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. More recently, it was approved for adults who are obese or overweight with at least one weight-related condition, such as hypertension or heart disease.

Semaglutide induces weight loss by reducing hunger, increasing feelings of fullness and helping people eat less. It is an analog of the human glucagon-like peptide hormone.

Novo Nordisk said it will now investigate semaglutide as a treatment for obesity in a phase 3 trial known as Step. It will also be studied in a separate late-stage trial called Select as a treatment for heart diseases in people who are overweight or obese.