People with type 2 diabetes treated with oral semaglutide saw significant improvements in weight loss and blood sugar levels, results from a clinical setting show.

The Italian study assessed the effects of oral semaglutide on glycaemic control, body weight and tolerability on patients at two diabetes centres.

They found that patients with type 2 diabetes starting oral semaglutide showed significant HbA1c – average blood sugar levels – and weight improvements after six months, especially those with a recent diabetes diagnosis.

They reported: “Approximately 25% achieved HbA1c levels less than or equal to 7%, and more than 5% weight loss.

“The therapy also improved cardiovascular risk factors despite a 20.8% discontinuation rate due to gastrointestinal side effects.”

The study included 192 patients with type 2 diabetes who were prescribed oral semaglutide between September 2021 and December 2022.

The group’s average age was 76, with an average diabetes duration of nine years.

Oral semaglutide was prescribed with a four-week dose-escalation regimen, starting at 3mg, followed by 7mg, and increasing to 14 mg if it was well tolerated.

At six months’ follow-up, the team looked at the results from 180 of the patients. The average change to HbA1c was −0.68%, while the average weight loss was 2.63 kg.

They reported: “A clinically significant improvement in HbA1c and body weight (even at the 7mg dose) was achieved mainly in patients with a more recent diabetes diagnosis, supporting the use of oral semaglutide in the early phase of the disease.

“An effective strategy for achieving glycaemic and body weight targets may be titrating the dosage up to 14 mg, provided it is well tolerated.

“Adequate nutritional counselling and therapy management advice may be able to improve treatment adherence, thereby amplifying the benefits associated with oral semaglutide therapy.”

The team found that 40 patients stopped taking the medication, with gastrointestinal side effects being the main reason. No severe hypoglycaemic episodes were reported.

Read more in Journal of Clinical Medicine.

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