New research on semaglutide and empagliflozin appear on this year’s list of most-read diabetes articles.
In 2021, the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RA) semaglutide was the focus of 3 of the 5 most popular diabetes news stories reported on AJMC.com, the website of The American Journal of Managed Care® (AJMC®). Rounding out the list was a story on clinical factors that can predict patients’ response to glucose-lowering therapies and reported results of the EMPEROR-Preserved trial assessing empagliflozin in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).
5. Predictors of Response to Glucose-Lowering Therapies
An article published in April 2021 highlighted research that was published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation. Using a nationwide database from Japan, researchers found the combination of disease duration/age at diagnosis and glycated hemoglobin (A1C)/serum C-peptide reactivity ratios constituted a collective risk factor predicting response to diabetes medications.
4. Trial Is First to Show Positive Results in HFpEF
In July 2021, a statement from the makers of empagliflozin—a sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor—revealed for the first time that a clinical trial showed a therapy can cut the risk of hospitalization and cardiovascular death in patients with HFpEF. The drug’s creators, Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim, would go on to present final results of EMPEROR-Preserved at the 2021 European Society of Cardiology Meeting.
3. Semaglutide and Lifestyle Intervention Cut Body Weight
Findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine in February 2021 showed that once-weekly treatment with semaglutide, in addition to lifestyle intervention, among individuals with overweight or obesity was associated with sustained, clinically relevant reductions in body weight. After 68 weeks, these patients had a mean change in bodyweight of –14.9% compared with –2.4% in the placebo group.
2. FDA Approves Semaglutide for Weight Loss When Used With Diet, Exercise
Marking the first time a drug has been approved for chronic weight management in adults with general obesity or overweigh since 2014, semaglutide is indicated for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 kg/m2 or greater who have at least 1 weight-related condition. These can include type 2 diabetes (T2D), high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. The drug can also be used among patients with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater without weight-related comorbidities.
1. Oral Semaglutide Combo vs Injectable Insulin
In April 2021, a literature review of randomized clinical trials revealed that oral semaglutide plus basal insulin is as effective as or superior to the injectable version as treatment for T2D. The combination was also linked with similar risks of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea compared with all other types of GLP-1 RAs, but led to superior results in weight reduction among patients.