Regulators stated on Friday that a new version of a prominent diabetes medicine will be made available in the US market as a weight loss treatment. in an announcement, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA approves obesity drug Wegovy. It is Novo Nordisk's diabetes drug Semaglutide in higher dosage form for long-term weight management.

First approved drug for adult chronic weight management since 2014

The US Food and Drug Administration approved Wegovy (Semaglutide) injection (2.4 mg once weekly) for overweight or obese adults with at least one weight-related condition such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. It is recommended to use it alongside a diminished calorie diet and increased physical activity. 

The drug is used by injecting it under the skin. It is notable in that it is the first approved drug for chronic weight management in individuals with generally obese or overweight adults since 2014.

Obesity is a condition that affects almost 70% of American adults. According to the drug creator, they expect to launch Wegovy in the US later in June 2021.

Participants in company-funded studies who took Wegovy had an average weight loss of 15%, or around 34 pounds (15.3 kilograms). Their weight steadily reduced for 14 months before plateauing. 

In a comparison group given a placebo, the average weight loss was around 2.5%, or just under 6 pounds, reported AP.

One of the participants, Lisa Robillard, of Alexandria, Virginia, never attempted to control her weight with medications until she contributed to a clinical trial for a new use of the diabetes drug Semaglutide. She lost 63 pounds in 68 weeks.

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Robillard, via USA Today, said that the trial was an eye-opening experience. Likening it to a light that went up, she realized that her weight issues were a physical issue. 

John Sharretts, M.D., deputy director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research praised the approval because it allows individuals with weight issues another option for treatment. He added, "The FDA remains committed to facilitating the development and approval of additional safe and effective therapies for adults with obesity or overweight," reported FDA.

As FDA approves obesity drug, it is considered a great win for Novo. Novo has witnessed its core insulin business suffer from a competitive market, prompting it to turn toward newer obesity and diabetes drugs to revive growth. Its revenue growth is currently driven by the sales of its newer GLP-1 products. Such products imitate an intestinal hormone that lowers appetite, stimulates insulin production, and increases feelings of fullness in patients.

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