New Study Finds Semaglutide Reduces Heart Attack and Stroke Risk by 20%

Novo Nordisk's SELECT Study

In a large clinical trial called SELECT involving over 17,000 participants, semaglutide was found to lower the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and cardiovascular death by 20% compared to placebo. Participants were middle-aged or older adults with overweight/obesity and established cardiovascular disease, but no prior diabetes.

Over the course of up to 5 years, those receiving weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg injections had significantly fewer adverse cardiovascular outcomes. The reduction was seen in all three components of the main endpoint – cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attacks, and nonfatal strokes.

Semaglutide Already Approved for Diabetes and Obesity

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist originally developed by Novo Nordisk to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps lower blood sugar by stimulating insulin production and reducing appetite.

In recent years, semaglutide was also approved for chronic weight management under the brand name Wegovy. Clinical trials have shown it leads to an average weight loss of 15% in people with obesity.

The drug’s ability to promote weight loss is believed to be through effects on appetite regulation in the brain. By controlling hunger and cravings, semaglutide makes it easier for people to maintain a reduced calorie diet.

Cardiovascular Benefits Likely Due to Weight Loss

The cardiovascular benefits demonstrated in the SELECT trial are likely due to semaglutide’s weight loss effects. Excess weight is a major risk factor for heart disease. Even modest weight reductions can improve cardiovascular health.

Possible mechanisms for cardiovascular protection include:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cholesterol/lipid levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Decreasing strain on the heart

While more research is needed, the findings suggest semaglutide could play an important preventive role in higher-risk patients with obesity, diabetes, and heart conditions.

Next Steps for Regulatory Approval

Based on these positive results, Novo Nordisk plans to file for label expansions for semaglutide as a cardiovascular protective agent.

If approved by regulatory bodies like the FDA, semaglutide would become the first anti-obesity medication proven to also lower rates of major adverse heart events.

The detailed study results are expected to be presented later in 2023 at a major scientific conference. Wider adoption will depend on long-term safety monitoring and semaglutide becoming more accessible/affordable.

Nonetheless, this study represents a major breakthrough in demonstrating semaglutide’s extensive health benefits beyond just weight loss. Ask your doctor if adding semaglutide could be appropriate to reduce your cardiovascular risk.

The Takeaway on Semaglutide

This promising research indicates semaglutide may confer cardiovascular protection beyond just weight loss and diabetes treatment. However, more data is still needed on long-term efficacy and safety with prolonged use.

Talk to your doctor about whether adding semaglutide could be appropriate if you have obesity and cardiovascular risk factors. But not everyone may be a suitable candidate.

At Southwest Family Medical, we offer an expertly managed semaglutide weight loss program. Our board-certified providers can determine if this new medication may help you lose weight while optimizing your overall health.

Southwest Family Medical

Southwest Family Medical Doctors and Staff


(480) 404-1776


2919 S Ellsworth Rd #103-B
Mesa, AZ 85212

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