Weight Loss Injections Could Improve Heart Failure Symptoms in Obese Patients, Study Finds

A recent study conducted by US researchers has revealed that weight loss injections might have the potential to alleviate the symptoms of heart failure in individuals struggling with obesity.

The researchers focused on semaglutide, a medication available under the brand names Ozempic or Wegovy, and its potential to treat a specific condition known as heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), commonly seen in overweight individuals.

HFpEF is characterized by the heart becoming overly rigid, which hinders its ability to fill properly.

This condition leads to various symptoms such as shortness of breath, swelling, and physical limitations, ultimately diminishing the patient’s overall quality of life.

Semaglutide, already recognized as a weight loss injection (often used by figures like celebrity X and entrepreneur Elon Musk), emerged as a potential treatment for this condition.

The study involved 529 participants, all with a body mass index exceeding 30, who were also experiencing symptoms of heart failure and physical limitations.

These participants were divided into two groups.

One group was administered a weekly dosage of 2.4 mg of Ozempic, while the other group received a placebo.

The researchers assessed changes in body weight and heart failure-related symptoms using the clinical summary score (CSS) derived from the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ).

This questionnaire evaluates how heart failure symptoms impact a patient’s daily activities and overall quality of life.

Additionally, the study monitored the participants’ ability to walk for six minutes.

The results indicated that individuals receiving Ozempic experienced a mean reduction in body weight of 13.3%, in contrast to the placebo group’s 2.6% reduction.

After 52 weeks, the participants on Ozempic displayed nearly double the improvement in the KCCQ-CSS score compared to the placebo group, signifying a significant reduction in symptoms.

Moreover, those administered with Ozempic were able to walk an additional 20.5 meters during the six-minute walking period compared to the placebo group.

Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, the principal investigator of the study, noted that Ozempic not only led to substantial improvements in symptoms, exercise capability, and physical limitations, but it also contributed to weight loss and fewer adverse events compared to the placebo.

Dr. Sonya Babu-Narayan, Associate Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation and a consultant cardiologist, highlighted the transformative impact of these findings on individuals struggling with heart failure.

She emphasized that the improvements observed in the study, such as increased walking capacity, could significantly enhance patients’ lives, especially those limited by heart failure.

Recent trial results also revealed that individuals on Ozempic exhibited a 20% lower incidence of heart attacks, strokes, or heart diseases compared to the placebo group.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has approved the use of Ozempic as an appetite suppressant, but with a recommendation for its administration through specialist services, primarily hospital-based.

Furthermore, a pilot scheme led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak aims to enhance access to specialized weight management services, exploring the safe prescription of such drugs by GPs and community or online support provided by the NHS.

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