The type 2 diabetes drug semaglutide can help people lose weight loss, experience less hypoglycemia and achieve better HbA1c levels, according to a new study.
Semaglutide, developed by Novo Nordisk, is taken once a week and works by stimulating insulin, suppressing the secretion of glucagon and lowering appetite.
Last year Novo Nordisk submitted the drug to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for US and European approval in treating type 2 diabetes.
In a follow-up to an ongoing study researchers from MedStar Health Research Institute in the US pitted semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), against insulin glargine.
They wanted to find a way to achieve “optimum glycemic control” and did this by comparing the outcomes of both drugs.
The research was carried out across 196 sites in 14 countries and involved 8,000 adults with type 2 diabetes, all of whom were aged 18 or older and deemed to have poor blood sugar control with metformin either alone or in combination with a sulphonylurea.
They were randomly assigned to once-weekly semaglutide or insulin glargine for 30 weeks, with the study team monitoring their HbA1c levels and change in mean body weight.
Senior investigator Dr Vanita Aroda said: “Results from this post hoc analysis show that once-weekly semaglutide consistently lowered blood glucose and weight in people with type 2 diabetes regardless of their current oral antidiabetic therapy.”
Semaglutide was also associated with “fewer hypoglycemic episodes, and was well tolerated, with a safety profile similar to that of other GLP-1 receptor agonists.”
The results were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 99th Annual Meeting and Expo Florida and were also published in the Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology journal.