Obesity has long been a health problem in developed nations, but its rise in low-and middle-income countries in the recent decades has led to wider concern among the global community. But, a new drug now holds the potential of treating obesity with greater effectiveness than any other previous treatment available in the market. Semaglutide, a Type 2 diabetes drug, is being used to suppress obesity and has produced promising results, which scientists say could mark the beginning of a "new era".
The trial result of the new drug was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicines, which shows the drug to be effective against obesity. A higher dose of Semaglutide can help people reduce 15 kilograms of weight in 15 months, the trial showed. Researchers from the Northwestern University in Chicago tested Semaglutide on almost 2,000 adults for 15 months and the results showed that the drug helped participants reduce an average of 15 kilograms from their body weight.
The drug works by creating an illusion inside a person's brain that will make them eat less than their usual daily intake of food. During the study, scientists gave the drug to 1,961 people with a body-mass index of 30 or greater, who did not have diabetes. Scientists gave the drug in two groups - one received Semaglutide and the other got the placebo. After the end of the study, scientists concluded that the group which received Semaglutide saw a greater reduction of weight than the group receiving placebo.
Some adverse events among the participants were also recorded such as nausea and diarrhea. More participants in the Semaglutide group than in the placebo group discontinued treatment owing to gastrointestinal events, the study said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2016, there were 1.9 billion adults who were overweight across the world, of which 650 million were obese. Overall, about 13% of the world’s adult population (11% of men and 15% of women) were obese in 2016. As per WHO, the number of overweight population has increased in Africa and Asia, with almost half of the children under 5 who were overweight or obese in 2019 living in Asia.