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Wegovy-Maker Presents Results of Its Longest Study Conducted So Far on Weight Loss — Here's What to Know The company's data showed that the drugs were effective over multiple years, even if there are still unknowns.

By Sherin Shibu

Key Takeaways

  • Novo Nordisk is the drugmaker behind Ozempic and Wegovy.
  • The company showed for the first time that obesity patients without diabetes maintained a 10% average weight loss over four years after taking Wegovy.
  • At least 25,000 people in the U.S. start Wegovy each week, per Novo.

Novo Nordisk, the company behind Ozempic and Wegovy, published a new analysis of the longest study it has conducted so far through the lens of long-term weight loss.

The 17,604-person study, published in Nature Medicine and presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Venice, Italy on Tuesday, showed for the first time that obesity patients without diabetes maintained a 10% average weight loss over four years after taking Wegovy.

"We see that once the majority of the weight loss is accrued, you don't go back and start to increase in weight if you stay on the drug," Martin Holst Lange, Novo's development head, told Reuters in an interview.

The findings show that Wegovy is effective in the long term, over multiple years, provided patients stay on it.

Related: Novo Nordisk Is Worth More Than Denmark's GDP Thanks to America's Ozempic and Wegovy Craze

An additional analysis released Tuesday based on the same data showed that Wegovy had benefits for the heart, regardless of how much weight study participants lost while taking it.

Wegovy reduced the risk of stroke by 20% in overweight or obese people with a history of heart disease.

Researchers don't precisely know how Wegovy's active ingredient, semaglutide, protects the heart, and are conducting studies to understand it.

"We now also understand that while we know that body weight loss is important, it's not the only thing driving the cardiovascular benefit of semaglutide treatment," Lange told Reuters on Tuesday.

Related: These U.S. Health Insurers Will Now Cover Wegovy, the Wildly Popular $1,349 Weight-Loss Drug

The news could add to Novo's case to have its weight loss drugs be more broadly covered by insurance companies in countries like the U.S. and the U.K.

Still, there were downsides to taking Wegovy recorded in the report — about 17% of those who took the drug left the study early because of stomach-related issues like nausea.

Novo has made Wegovy available in 10 countries so far, including the U.S., Norway, Japan, and Spain, since releasing the drug in 2021. Prices start at $200 and can reach almost $2,000 per month, depending on the country.

In the U.S., Ozempic goes for about $936 a month out of pocket while Wegovy sells for about $1,350 a month.

Costco created a program in April that gives members direct access to Ozempic and Wegovy when appropriate, though the medication cost falls directly on customers or health insurance.

Related: Costco Announces Ozempic, Wegovy Prescriptions and New Weight Loss Program

Novo said earlier this month that at least 25,000 people in the U.S. start Wegovy per week.
Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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