According to a CDC report, over 42% of Americans are obese as they have a BMI of 30 or above. Obesity and excess weight might also increase the risks of type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and stroke.

A drug, semaglutide used to treat diabetes, helped people with obesity or excess weight reduce an average of 10 to 15 percent of their body weight in just 16 months. 

A new study suggests that if the medicine was shot once a week, it increases insulin production and suppresses appetite. 

Robert Kushner mentioned that many people who deal with diabetes or high blood pressure tend to improve when at least 10% of weight loss is reached. 

FDA reviews it as a chronic weight management drug. It would be marked as the fifth prescription weight loss drug on the U.S. market if it got approved. 

The Study

The study was conducted between the fall of 2019 and the spring of 2020 at 129 locations in 16 countries across Asia, North America, South America, and Europe.

The study included 1,961 people with obesity and excess weight with a body mass index(BMI) of 30 or above (or) with a body mass index of 27 or above with at least one weight-related problem. 

No participants had type-2 diabetes at the beginning of the trial, but they had prediabetes or high blood sugar levels. 

Two-thirds of the trial participants were given 2.4 mg of semaglutide, and the rest were given a placebo every week. The trial lasted for 68 weeks. 

Participants were also given regular counseling sessions and were advised to do at least 150 minutes of physical activities. Food scales were also given to their mark progress. 


  • On average, people who took the drug lost 33.7 pounds(15.3 kg), and those in the placebo group lost just 5.7 pounds(2.6 kg). 
  • One-third of the participants lost 20% of their baseline weight which is about 46 pounds. This result is almost similar to the individuals who have bariatric surgery(a weight loss surgery). 
  • Along with the weight loss, the participants noticed better physical functioning and reduction in waist circumstance, blood sugar, and blood pressure, which are all the risk factors of heart disease and diabetes. 
  • About three-quarters of the people who took part in the study had side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation. 

Conclusion of the Study

  • Other chronic weight management drugs available on the market have helped people to only lose about 6% to 11% of their body weight so that semaglutide can be near twice as effective. 
  • Semaglutide available in the market can only be taken at a lower dose than used in the study. Novo Nordisk has now filed for approval from the U.S Food and Drug Administration(FDA) to aid weight loss. As per the research, using a weekly shot of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide is recommended for safety and effectiveness. 
  • Novo Nordisk, the drugmaker, has filed for FDA approval to use a 2.4-milligram dose for weight management. The research team tested the safety and effectiveness of having a weekly shot of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide, combined with diet and exercise.
  • Robert Kushner, one of the study authors, describes semaglutide to be one of the most effective interventions for obesity and weight management compared to other existing drugs. He also mentions that the medication might be approved for weight loss and maintenance, but it should be considered in the same way we use other chronic health issues such as diabetes or hypertension. 
  • Semaglutide, sold under the brand names Ozempic and Rybelsus, has helped most people with obesity and excess weight lose about 10 percent of weight and half of them to reduce at least 15 percent of weight.

Semaglutide might not be effective because, for all, 

  • Most of the participants were white, which does not reflect the US population.
  • The study did not talk about the long-term efficacy of sustained weight loss.


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Ashley completed her degree with nutrition as her major. She loves sharing her knowledge with others and playing with words. After struggling for almost a year to find a job that could make her feel lively, she ended up as a freelance writer. Ashley writes health-related blogs and articles. She makes sure that her works always stand unique and are useful for everyone. Ashley is also a YouTuber who shares health-related videos. She knows the value of the right information and how it can be beneficial to others. Therefore, her only motto is to provide accurate information. If Ashley sounds like that neighbor who you can ask for health tips, take a look at her works.