Wegovy Helps Improve Symptoms in Heart Failure Patients

Wegovy Helps Improve Symptoms in Heart Failure Patients

(HealthDay News) — Weight-loss drugs like Wegovy can improve symptoms in heart failure patients, a new clinical trial shows.

Both men and women showed improved heart function after a year on semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, researchers report.

Women tended to lose more weight than men, on average about 9.6% of their body weight compared with 7.2% in men.

However, both genders experienced similar improvements regarding their heart health, researchers found. This could mean the drug might have heart benefits above and beyond helping people lose weight.

The results shed light on “the consistent benefits of semaglutide for women and men,” said senior researcher Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

For the clinical trial, researchers randomly assigned 1,145 people with heart failure to take either semaglutide or a placebo for a year.

Heart failure occurs when the heart starts to pump less efficiently, slowing the delivery of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

This results in fatigue and shortness of breath, making everyday activities like walking or carrying groceries very difficult for some, according to the American Heart Association.

But people on semaglutide experienced improvement in both their heart failure symptoms and the physical limitations the condition placed upon them, trial results show.

They also had lower blood pressure and a smaller waist circumference after a year on the drug, as well as less inflammation, researchers said.

The findings were published June 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented simultaneously at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

What is Wegovy?

Wegovy, as previously reported by BDOPro, is a new FDA-approved medication that’s a game-changer for obese patients struggling with weight and health problems. It works like a natural hormone (GLP-1) that helps regulate blood sugar, insulin, and feeling full. By mimicking GLP-1, Wegovy influences how the body controls appetite and manages energy. While Wegovy might be pricier than typical weight loss approaches, the potential long-term health benefits and reduced healthcare costs from obesity complications could make it worthwhile for certain patients.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure occurs when the heart weakens and struggles to pump blood effectively. This can lead to shortness of breath, fatigue, and swollen legs. Black Americans are disproportionately affected by heart failure, experiencing it at a younger age and with worse outcomes. High blood pressure, a major risk factor, is more common in Black communities. Research is ongoing to address these issues and improve heart failure treatment for Black Americans.

What is semaglutide?

As previously reported by BDOPro, Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is a natural hormone produced in the gut that regulates blood sugar levels. Semaglutide mimics the effects of GLP-1, making it primarily used for treating type 2 diabetes. It’s available as both an injectable and a daily oral medication.

How can Wegovy help with weight loss in Black Americans?

The US obesity crisis is severe, with 70% of adults overweight or obese, raising their risk of diabetes and heart problems. The burden is even heavier for Black Americans, with half classified as obese, the highest rate of any race/ethnicity.

A new hope comes from drugs like Wegovy and Ozempic, medications that mimic a natural gut hormone (GLP-1) that tells your brain you’re full. This curbs appetite and slows digestion, leading to weight loss. While effective for both diabetes and obesity (under the brand name Wegovy), Ozempic can cause nausea and requires dietary adjustments.

However, these drugs are expensive (over $1,000/month) and often not covered by insurance. Efforts are underway to make similar medications more accessible. It’s also important to note that Ozempic isn’t suitable for everyone, with certain health conditions precluding its use.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart failure.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, June 23, 2024

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