SEMAGLUTIDE – WEGOVY – REDUCES KIDNEY DISEASE

A new study released by the makers of the weight loss medication Wegovy (Semaglutide) finds that it reduced the occurrence of kidney problems by 22% in the overweight and obese population studied. As reported to the  European Renal Congress in Stockholm, the Danish drug company Novo Nordisk lead researcher  Professor Helen  Colhoun of the University of Edinburgh said,  “By addressing key markers of kidney health, semaglutide…may contribute to a significant reduction in the risk of kidney-related complications, including chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.” The analysis, from a large study for which these substantial results emerged, had been completed last year.

https://www.reuters.com/business/healthcare-pharmaceuticals/wegovy-users-have-less-kidney-related-health-problems-analysis-novo-study-finds-2024-05-25/

This study followed the release this past March of another study that showed that when given to diabetic patients Ozempic (semaglutide) helped to prevent the onset of chronic kidney disease, a long established complication of diabetes. A company spokesperson further explained the data by saying that it  “demonstrates for the first time the benefits of semaglutide 2.4 mg in improving kidney function in people with cardiovascular disease and overweight or obesity, without diabetes, a high-risk population with increased need for kidney protection.”  The research data found that there was a significant reduction in the urinary albumin-to-creatine ratio (UACR), an mportant marker of kidney health, the. Regardless of kidney function at the start of the study, “no increased risk of acute kidney injury was associated with semaglutide”.

The analysis examined data from a large trial by Novo Nordisk called Select. Initial results from that were published in August. The 17,604-patient trial tested Wegovy not for weight loss or kidney function, but for its heart protective benefits for overweight and obese patients who had preexisting heart disease. The analysis just published on came right after the company presented detailed results of a separate late-stage trial which showed that the  diabetes drug Ozempic slowed the worsening of kidney dysfunction in patients with type 2 diabetes, lowering the risk of kidney failure, heart problems, stroke and death.

https://www.cnn.com/2024/05/24/health/ozempic-benefits-diabetic-kidney-disease/index.html

The latest data adds to growing body of medical evidence that drugs from the GLP-1 class, which suppress appetite by mimicking gut hormones, have medical benefits for conditions beyond type 2 diabetes and weight loss, their initial purposes. In the new analysis, semaglutide led to a slower decline in a certain measure of kidney function known as eGFR (estimated glomerular filtration rate), particularly in individuals with a pre-existing kidney impairment.

Health Benefits Linked to GLP-1 Medications

Reducing Heart Attack and  Stroke

The studies originally done on diabetic patients to obtain FDA approval of Semaglutide, showed that the study participants had lower incidence of cardiac events over the two year study period.              

A study from the New England Journal of Medicine showed that  Wegovy (semaglutide) reduced  the risk of cardiac death by 20%.  By logical extension it is hoped that those who already suffer from cardiac disease may benefit by lowering their risk of having a heart attack or a stroke in the future. In that case semaglutide  would be truly lifesaving.

GLP1-MEDICATIONS MAY REDUCE CANCER RISK

Approximately two thirds of  U.S. adults are overweight or have obesity. Obesity itself is a risk

factor for a wide variety of cancers including breast, liver, pancreatic, uterine, kidney, and gallbladder. cancers as well as colorectal cancer. It is as estimated by the National Institutes The National Institutes of of Health estimate that 4-8% of all cancers are obesity related.

And the NIH releases a statement saying, ”Weight-reducing  strategies in obesity-associated cancers are important interventions as a key component  of cancer care. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9857053/#:~:text=Obesity%20has%20been%20linked%20to,cancers%20are%20attributed%20to%20obesity.

Research published in JAMA Oncology showed that diabetics who took GLP-1 agonist medications had a 44% lower risk of Colorectal cancer compared with type 2 diabetics who took other diabetes medications. GLP1-Medication May Help PCOS Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is characterized by menstrual cycle irregularities, obesity, and fertility problems. They also tend to have excessive hair growth, and acne.

Metabolic abnormalities such as insulin  resistance are also a part of the spectrum of health problems associated with PCOS With the association to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes it seems clear that GLP1-medications originally developed for diabetes would help PCOS. Many gynecologic specialists are now prescribing GLP-1 meds for PCOS as an “off label” prescription.

ALCOHOL ADDICTION

GLP-1 medications reduce the desire for food. Another effect seen by those using these medications for weight loss is that they also decrease the desire alcohol. This has resulted  in addiction specialists turning to these medications to help with problem drinking as well as for other addictive substances. Dr Lorenzo Leggio, is the clinical director of the National

Institute of Drug Abuse. He says about these medications, “The mechanism in the brain that regulates overeating overlaps with those responsible for the development and maintenance of addiction, including alcohol disorder.”

GLP1 medications May LOWER DEMENTIA /ALZHEIMER’S RISK

The Alzheimer’s Association tells us that as diabetes increases the risk for heart disease, and damaging blood vessels and the entire circulatory system- that affects blood circulation to the brain.

This effect may play a role in development of various forms of dementia as well as Alzheimer’s Disease. The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s and Neurodegenerative Diseases at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio  is involved in ongoing studies to evaluate this, participating in two worldwide studies, regarding the use of semaglutide  to delay early-onset dementia.

Rose Ann Barajas, is the  Biggs Institute project coordinator. She says “It has been known for many years that Type 2 diabetes increases the risk for strokes and heart disease. Some studies suggest that diabetes also increases the risk for dementia.

“The entire research team takes heed of all the reasons why the eventual findings from the EVOKE studies may have a positive impact here.”

In summary, as the GLP-1 medications Semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) and Tirzepatide (Mounjaro and Zepbound) usage grows nationwide and throughout the world, evidence of their benefits beyond that  for diabetes and weight loss seems greater all the time !

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Medically reviewed by Dr. Henry C. Sobo, M.D

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