Why has semaglutide been in the news so much lately?
Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist used mainly in treating type 2 diabetes, is the subject of increasing interest in scientific research due to its promising applications in treating various pathological conditions and those mentioned above.
However, in parallel with these developments, concerns have arisen about the adverse effects associated with its use.
Let’s look at them together.
1. Efficacy in Weight Loss
Semaglutide has shown remarkable properties in promoting weight loss and has been approved by the FDA for treating obesity. However, some patients report gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea, raising concerns about the tolerability of this therapy.
The trials will continue to assess the cardiovascular and metabolic risks associated with long-term use of the drug to balance the benefits and potential harms.
2. Reducing Cardiovascular Risk
A recent study published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine showed that in heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction and obesity, treatment with semaglutide (2.4 mg) led to greater reductions in symptoms, physical limitations, and weight loss than placebo.
While there is evidence of a reduction in cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients treated with semaglutide, the long-term effects in subjects with other comorbidities must be clarified. Future research is needed to define better the magnitude of the benefits achieved.
3. Applications in cognitive decline due to neurodegeneration
Researchers are investigating the use of semaglutide in treating Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Early studies have shown that it may help slow disease progression and improve cognitive function.
4. Potential in Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD): The new evidence
NAFLD is closely associated with insulin resistance, obesity and type 2 diabetes, with potentially serious consequences such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and cirrhosis.
Semaglutide, known for its role in improving insulin sensitivity and promoting weight loss, is emerging as a potential treatment for NAFLD.
Initial preclinical and clinical studies have suggested that semaglutide may reduce fat accumulation in the liver, attenuate inflammation and improve liver fibrosis associated with NAFLD. These effects appear to be mediated by several mechanisms, including reduced systemic inflammation and improved lipid metabolism.
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