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article imageNew obesity drug can cut weight down by 20 percent

By Tim Sandle     Feb 23, 2021 in Science
A new anti-obesity drug is set to be released. The results have been described as a 'gamechanger'. The new medication is appears to be capable of cutting body weight down by up to 20 percent.
Globally, obesity continues to rise. Here obesity is defined as having a body mass index of 30 or more. This is due an increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars together with a decline in physical inactivity due to the increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work. These factors are helping to push a start rise in the proportion of the population who are at risk from ill-health as a direct result of excessive weight.
The new drug in question, arising from the British led research, is a semaglutide. This form of medication has a history in being used to treat type II diabetes. The medication functions by overtaking the human body's own appetite regulating system in the brain. This results in the feelings of hunger dropping off.
The drug was developed and tested at University College London, as well as at other medical centers and universities. It was fund that one third (35 percent) of users who were given the new drug lost more than one-fifth (greater than or equal to 20 percent) of their total body weight.
For the trial, 1,961 people classed as overweight or with obesity were enrolled (average weight 105 kilogram or 16.5 stone and with a typical body mass index of 38). The assessments were run through 16 countries. To evaluate the effect of the drugs, the patients were given a 2.4mg dose of semaglutide or a placebo. This was administered weekly via a subcutaneous injection.
The study participants experienced some side-effects from the treatment, including nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting, and constipation, according to The Scotsman newspaper. Furthermore, patients did engage in some physical activity, which introduces a variable.
According to lead researcher, Rachel Batterham, such developments are also important in the coronavirus era: "The impact of obesity on health has been brought into sharp focus by COVID-19 where obesity markedly increases the risk of dying from the virus."
The research has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, where the paper is titled "Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity."
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