Novo’s Wegovy shows stronger weight-loss effects in women than men: study

Novo Nordisk

Novo’s Wegovy shows stronger weight-loss effects in women than men: study

Published: Jun 24, 2024

By Tristan Manalac


Novo Nordisk’s blockbuster obesity treatment Wegovy (semaglutide) induced greater weight loss in women than in men with a common type of heart failure, according to research presented Sunday at the American Diabetes Association’s 2024 Scientific Sessions and published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

The findings come from Novo’s STEP-HFpEF program, which enrolled a total of 1,145 patients with obesity-related heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) across two trials. The studies were designed primarily to assess the effect of a 2.4-mg dose of semaglutide on health status, as assessed by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire Clinical Summary Score (KCCQ-CSS), and weight loss.

About half of the study sample were women, who at baseline had higher body mass index and C-reactive protein levels, as well as greater left ventricular ejection fraction. Heart failure symptoms were also worse in women at baseline than in men.

After 52 weeks of treatment, semaglutide induced significant weight loss in both sex subgroups, with men losing 10.2% of their body weight on average and women dropping 12.6% of their body weight.

Even when accounting for placebo comparators, semaglutide’s weight-loss benefits were still more pronounced in women, who saw an adjusted mean body weight reduction of 9.6%, compared to 7.2% in men. This gender effect was statistically significant, with a p-value 0.006 for the interaction.

In terms of cardiovascular endpoints, semaglutide was just as effective between the sexes, with KCCQ-CSS improving by 7.6 points in women and 7.5 points in men. Semaglutide also led to a significant improvement in six-minute walk distance, the magnitudes of which were not different between the sexes.

Senior author Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, in a statement said that understanding the sex-based differences in obesity and related HFpEF is “of great importance,” adding that STEP-HFpEF “sheds light on these differences and the consistent benefits of semaglutide for women and men.”

“Obesity and visceral adiposity are key drivers of HFpEF development and progression, and this may be even more amplified in women, who represent the majority of people with the disease, and bear a heavier burden of symptoms and physical limitations due to HFpEF,” Kosiborod said.

Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that induces the secretion of insulin from the pancreas in response to blood sugar levels. It is approved as Ozempic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and as Wegovy for chronic weight management. Novo Nordisk also recently secured a label expansion for Wegovy, allowing its use to lower the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke in adults with obesity and cardiovascular disease.

The Danish drugmaker is also positioning semaglutide as a potentially effective kidney drug, with results from the Phase III FLOW trial demonstrating a 20% reduction in death from any cause in type 2 diabetes patients with chronic kidney disease.

Source: BioSpace