ADA 2019—Efficacy of semaglutide on HbA1c and weight loss

  • Clinical Essentials
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The following is the transcript from an onsite interview with Dr. Neil Skolnik and Dr. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Vanita Aroda at the 79th American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions held June 7-11, 2019 in San Francisco, California. The transcript has been edited for clarity.


Neil Skolnik, MD: I’m Dr. Neil Skolnik, and we’re here at the 79th American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions, and again, have the privilege of interviewing Dr. Vanita Aroda, who is the Director of Diabetes Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Welcome, Dr. Aroda. Will you go over the information that you presented on semaglutide today?


Vanita R. Aroda, MD: Sure, I had a poster today looking at a pooled analysis of semaglutide across the phase 3 clinical trial program. We looked at subcutaneous semaglutide at doses of 0.5 mg once a week or 1 mg once a week, compared to active comparators or placebo. We found that HbA1c reductions were about 1.4%-1.8% and body weight reductions were about 4-6 kg with semaglutide.

In this pooled analysis, we looked at achievement of a clinical composite of both an HbA1c reduction of ≥1% and a body weight loss of ≥5%, because we felt that those were stringent clinical targets. We found that 30%-50% of patients who were given semaglutide throughout the program achieved these targets much greater than the comparators. The question that we asked in the poster was, does a patient’s baseline HbA1c level and body weight impact the likelihood of achieving these clinical targets? And, in a nutshell, it didn’t. Achieving that composite was equally spread across the different baseline categories.


Skolnik: That’s surprising that if you enter with a lower HbA1c, you’ll still see a robust decrease in blood sugars.


Aroda: Well, you bring up a good point. Those results were the composite, but then we broke it down and looked at just the people who achieved at least an HbA1c reduction of ≥1%, and a greater number of those patients had a higher baseline HbA1c.


Skolnik: That makes sense.


Aroda: It does.


Skolnik: When we talk about a 6-kg weight loss, that’s over 10 lbs! That’s something our patients notice, and the HbA1c reduction is robust as well.


Aroda: In these trials, it’s been distinguishing that weight loss wasn’t even part of the intervention. We gave everyone common lifestyle modifications, but the primary endpoint was to look at the HbA1c reduction. So, this is the additional benefit.


Skolnik: Fantastic. Dr. Aroda, thank you for joining us. I’m Neil Skolnik for Univadis at the 79th American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions.


Neil Skolnik, MD is a Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Sidney Kimmel Medical College, Thomas Jefferson University, and Associate Director of the Family Medicine Residency Program at Abington-Jefferson Health.

Vanita R. Aroda, MD is a Director of Diabetes Clinical Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital.