Rapid Rx Quiz: Semaglutide

Mary L. Windle, PharmD


January 20, 2022

A recent systematic literature review summarized the latest evidence on weight-lowering drugs. Researchers examined data from 143 clinical trials, with a total of 49,801 participants, that assessed the proportion of patients who achieved at least a 5% weight reduction on different medications compared with lifestyle interventions. Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, had larger benefits than other drugs with a similar risk for adverse events for both likelihood of weight loss of 5% or more (odds ratio, 9.82; 95% CI, 7.09-13.61) and percentage body weight change (mean difference, 11.41; 95% CI, 12.54 to -10.27).

Phentermine-topiramate was found to be potentially the most effective drug for weight loss of all the available medications for treatment of overweight and obesity, followed by GLP-1 receptor agonists, including semaglutide. However, odds of discontinuation due to adverse events were greater for both liraglutide and phentermine-topiramate than semaglutide; that factor itself was found to produce the largest likelihood of a weight reduction of 5% or more relative to lifestyle interventions among three GLP-1 receptor agonists (semaglutide, liraglutide, and exenatide).

Semaglutide also delivered better results than lifestyle interventions, phentermine-topiramate, and other medications for participants who were significantly more likely to experience at least a 10% weight loss. Mean weight change from baseline was greatest with semaglutide.

Learn more about semaglutide for weight management.


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