FDA approves weight-loss drug for treatment to reduce cardiac-related complications

doctor talking to a patient about healthy eating

Recently, weight-loss medications (also called anti-obesity medications) have been taking the world by storm with increasing popularity to help people shed weight. At the beginning of March, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new use for one of these medications. 

Wegovy (semaglutide) injection, an injectable weight-loss medication, was approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, including heart attack, stroke, and cardiac-related death, in adults with cardiovascular disease who are either obese or overweight, according to the FDA.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2022, 43% of adults ages 18 years old and over were overweight and 16% were living with obesity. There are many risk factors for heart disease, and obesity is one of them, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Obesity is expected to affect 50% of the US population by 2030.

In a study of a placebo-controlled double-blind trial of more than 17,600 participants, it was found that Wegovy significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular events. The results showed that 6.5% of participants who received Wegovy experienced a cardiovascular event, compared to 8% of participants who received the placebo. 

This study is a landmark trial showing evidence that weight loss would help prevent cardiovascular disease from happening in patients at risk. Such evidence has been lacking, and the results will help incentivize the medical community to address obesity as a disease, but also change the landscape for the management of obesity as a true medical condition. The hope is that insurance plans will recognize the importance of taking these medications to address not just weight loss but related complications.

This weight-centric mindset to assist patients with their weight-loss goals and associated conditions is apparent at The Valley Hospital’s Center for Bariatric Surgery and Weight-Loss Management. Our team works with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan – incorporating one or more weight-loss solutions, to help you meet your individual goals.

We realize that each patient's weight-loss needs and goals are different, which is why we offer several solutions. From medically managed weight loss using the latest FDA-approved medication and weight-loss clinics to leading-edge surgical options, including robotic-assisted sleeve gastroectomy and robotic-assisted modified duodenal switch, we offer our patients several treatment options so they can make the weight-loss choice that’s right for them. Through this personalized approach to care, we provide our patients with the tools to lose weight successfully, maintain their successes, and live healthier, fuller lives.

In addition to personalized treatment, our team partners with various clinical teams, including cardiology; primary care; and Valley Health LifeStyles, Valley’s medical fitness center, to offer education and resources to promote a weight-centric approach to care. This approach acknowledges a healthy weight, diet, and exercise as the basis for overall health. 

To learn more about the Center, please visit ValleyHealth.com/WeightLoss.

Naser E. Gharaibeh, MD

About the Author

Naser E. Gharaibeh, MD

Dr. Naser E. Gharaibeh serves as the Medical Director of Metabolic Medicine and Weight Loss Program.