Novo Nordisk weight loss drug shows good results in a 68-week trial

Novo Nordisk weight loss drug shows good results in a 68-week trial

March 24, 2021 Off By Dino Mustafić

Novo Nordisk’s new results from the STEP phase 3a clinical trial programme showed weight loss with investigational treatment of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg versus placebo.

In the STEP 4 trial, study participants who reached the maintenance dose of semaglutide 2.4 mg during a 20-week run-in period were randomised to either continue treatment with semaglutide 2.4 mg or switch to placebo for 48 weeks. The full results of the STEP 4 trial were presented today at the virtual Endocrine Society (ENDO) 2021 Annual Meeting and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“For people with obesity, maintaining weight loss in the long term is challenging as both physiological and hormonal changes that occur following an initial weight loss can lead to weight regain. These changes, known as metabolic adaptation, result in lasting increased levels of hunger and desire to eat while reducing energy expenditure,” said Dr Domenica Rubino, lead investigator of the STEP 4 trial and Director of Washington Center for Weight Management and Research. “Like any other chronic disease, obesity requires a long-term, individualised approach to care, inclusive of medication and lifestyle components.”

Following the 20-week run-in period, people who continued treatment with semaglutide 2.4 mg for an additional 48 weeks continued to lose weight with a statistically significant additional mean weight loss of 7.9% from week 20 to week 68. People who were switched to placebo following the 20-week run-in period regained 6.9% of their body weight from week 20 to 68.  People who stayed on semaglutide 2.4 mg throughout the entire 68-week trial achieved a total weight loss of 17.4%. Both treatment groups followed a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity programme throughout the study.

“Obesity is a chronic disease that requires ongoing management and the results from STEP 4 trial strengthens the evidence around the potential of semaglutide 2.4 mg to transform the medical management of obesity,” said Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president, Development at Novo Nordisk. “Millions of people living with obesity are in need of additional treatment options to help them lose weight and keep it off. The results from STEP 4 show that to sustain weight loss it is important to maintain treatment and that semaglutide 2.4 mg has the potential to offer sustained weight loss of more than 17% after 68 weeks of treatment.”

The company said that the semaglutide 2.4 mg safety profile is in line with observations seen previously with GLP-1 receptor agonists. It is generally well-tolerated, and the most common adverse events among people treated with semaglutide 2.4 mg were gastrointestinal events.