Diabetes Drug Patients Use For Weight Loss May Have Heart Benefits

Studies show that semaglutide lowers the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke for Type 2 diabetes patients.

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A certain class of drugs has become a popular drug to lose weight but researchers have found it might have potential heart benefits as well.

Known by their brand names like Ozempic and Wegovy, these approved treatments for type 2 diabetes patients have made headlines recently for their effectiveness at treating obesity and helping people with or without diabetes lose weight.

Dr. Darren McGuire, a professor in UT Southwestern’s Department of Internal Medicine and member of the Division of Cardiology has been a part of ongoing research that shows the drugs reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke.

"It's really flipped the world of type two diabetes upside down. We're using these drugs as one of the very first-line therapies and then for patients with diabetes who actually have cardiovascular disease," said Dr. McGuire.

While in clinical trials, the drug reduced a type two diabetic's heart attack and stroke risk on average by 14 percent, according to McGuire, by stabilizing plaque in the arteries.

The class of drugs, called GLP-1 RAs, contain a key ingredient called semaglutide, which is commonly being used off-label by non-diabetics looking to lose weight.

While expensive, McGuire said for the right patient, it should be the first line of defense when it comes to heart health.

"Especially when these drugs become generic, it is a real possibility that we will expand their use into patients at high risk, both for cardiovascular disease and for the development of diabetes," he said.

You can read more about the research here.

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