Scientists Discover New Life-Saving Benefit of Ozempic and Semaglutide

A nationwide examine in Sweden signifies that GLP1 agonists, corresponding to Ozempic, might decrease the danger of cirrhosis and liver most cancers in people with sort 2 diabetes and persistent liver illness, suggesting a brand new, efficient therapy choice for stopping extreme liver ailments.

A nationwide examine performed by the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, printed within the journal Gut, signifies that the use of Ozempic and related GLP1 agonists is linked to a decrease chance of cirrhosis and liver most cancers in people with sort 2 diabetes and persistent liver illness.

GLP1 agonists like Ozempic cut back blood sugar ranges and are primarily used to deal with sort 2 diabetes. However, because the drug additionally reduces urge for food, it’s now more and more used to deal with weight problems and has turn out to be a well-liked weight-loss drug.

Reduced threat of liver harm

Results from early medical trials additionally counsel that GLP1 agonists might cut back the danger of liver harm. Therefore, researchers at Karolinska Institutet included all folks in Sweden with persistent liver illness and sort 2 diabetes in a register-based examine. They then in contrast the danger of extreme liver harm in those that had been handled with GLP1 agonists and those that weren’t. The outcomes present that those that took the drug for a protracted interval of time had a decrease threat of later growing extra extreme types of liver illness corresponding to cirrhosis and liver most cancers.

According to the researchers, this means that GLP1 agonists may very well be an efficient therapy to keep away from extreme liver illness in folks with concurrent sort 2 diabetes.

“Fatty liver disease is estimated to affect up to one in five people in Sweden, many of whom have type 2 diabetes, and about one in twenty develop severe liver disease,” says first writer Axel Wester, assistant professor on the Department of Medicine, Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet. “Our findings are interesting because there are currently no approved drugs to reduce this risk.”

Many of the folks within the examine stopped taking GLP1 agonists, leading to a scarcity of protecting impact. However, those that continued taking their treatment over a ten-year interval had been half as more likely to develop extreme liver illness.

Need to be confirmed

“The results need to be confirmed in clinical trials, but it will take many years for these studies to be completed,” says Axel Wester. “Therefore, we use existing registry data to try to say something about the effect of the drugs before that.”

A limitation of the strategy is that it’s not potential to regulate for components for which there is no such thing as a knowledge, corresponding to blood exams to explain the severity of liver illness in additional element. However, the researchers have just lately constructed a brand new database known as HERALD the place they’ve entry to blood samples from sufferers in Region Stockholm.

“As a next step, we will investigate the effect of GLP1 agonists in this database,” says the examine’s final writer Hannes Hagström, advisor in hepatology on the Karolinska University Hospital and adjunct professor on the Department of Medicine, Huddinge, Karolinska Institutet. “If we get similar results, it would further strengthen the hypothesis that GLP1 agonists can be used to reduce the risk of severe liver disease.”

Reference: “Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists and risk of major adverse liver outcomes in patients with chronic liver disease and type 2 diabetes” by Axel Wester, Ying Shang, Emilie Toresson Grip, Anthony A Matthews and Hannes Hagström, 30 January 2024, Gut.
DOI: 10.1136/gutjnl-2023-330962

The analysis was primarily funded by Region Stockholm (CIMED), the Swedish Research Council and the Swedish Cancer Society. Hannes Hagström’s analysis group has obtained funding from Astra Zeneca, EchoSens, Gilead, Intercept, MSD, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer, though no industry-supported funding was obtained for this particular examine.

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