Top 5 Most-Read Non–COVID-19 Articles of 2021

Although the pandemic continued to rule health care headlines, a few other stories were noteworthy in 2021 for the AJMC.com audience, including articles about a wider indication for the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist semaglutide and the heart failure drug Entresto.

Although the pandemic continued to rule health care headlines, a few other stories were noteworthy in 2021 for the AJMC.com audience, including articles about a wider indication for the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist semaglutide and the heart failure drug Entresto.

Here are the 5 most-viewed pieces of non–COVID-19 content during 2021.

5. FDA Clears Semaglutide for Weight Loss When Used With Diet, Exercise

In June, the FDA approved semaglutide as a weight management drug in adults with certain comorbidities when used in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity. For this indication, the 2.4-mg once-weekly injection is known as Wegovy.

Semaglutide works by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1 that targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite and food intake. As a 1-mg injection, the drug is sold as Ozempic and was first approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes in 2017.

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4. Cannabis Shown to Relieve Parkinson Disease Symptoms

Patients with Parkinson disease (PD) reported cannabis to be effective at reducing symptom severity, according to results of a survey on community perceptions of cannabis use. Researchers said that this is the largest study analyzing the view of patients on cannabis therapy in PD.

The story, published in January, said the results also showed a lack of knowledge on the different types and administration routes among patients.

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3. Oral Semaglutide Equal to or Better Than Injectable in Combo With Insulin, Study Says

When used with basal insulin, oral semaglutide is as effective or better than the injectable version in treating type 2 diabetes while providing similar tolerability, according to a study published in March. Researchers performed a literature review of 7 randomized clinical trials to compare efficacy and safety outcomes of 14 mg once daily of oral semaglutide against doses of the injectable version as well as 4 other injectable versions of GLP-1 receptor agonists after approximately 26 weeks.

Oral semaglutide was associated with significantly greater reductions in hemoglobin A1c than all other types of GLP-1 receptor agonists but the differences with its own injectable version (0.5 mg and 1 mg) were not statistically significant.

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2. Entresto Wins First FDA Nod in Hard-to-Treat Type of Heart Failure

Early in 2021, the FDA granted Entresto, a combination of sacubitril and valsartan, an indication to treat patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, the first approved therapy time for this population. The approval could offer a new treatment choice for up to 2 million people with chronic heart failure.

A 2020 review found that the number of people in the United States with heart failure is expected to reach 8.5 million by 2030, and that 30% to 40% will require hospitalization at current rates.

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1. FDA Clears First Daytime Treatment Device for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In February, the FDA cleared a prescription tongue muscle stimulation device that claims to reduce mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and snoring. The device, called eXciteOSA, is approved through the de novo regulatory pathway for people 18 years and older. Compared with prior devices used at nighttime for the treatment of OSA, such as continuous positive airway pressure therapy, eXciteOSA would be the first device to improve tongue muscle function while awake, which over time can prevent the tongue from collapsing backward and obstructing the airway during sleep.

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