In a new study from Tel Aviv University, researchers found obesity drug semaglutide has similar effectiveness across different age groups with regard to weight loss (under 40 years, 40-60 years, and 60 years and over).
However, when looking at percentage body fat and lean body mass changes, semaglutide was found to have a more pronounced effect in patients aged under 50 years.
Semaglutide was originally developed for and is also used to treat type 2 diabetes. However, its effects on weight loss led researchers to study its effect on weight loss in people living with obesity but without type 2 diabetes.
It is currently not approved for obesity anywhere in the world, however, new drug applications are under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and other health agencies across the world.
Weight loss is often accompanied by loss of lean body mass, which can negatively impact physical functioning and/or resting energy expenditure. Bodyweight loss and body composition changes (fat mass vs lean mass) may differ by age.
In the study, the team tested the tolerability and effect of semaglutide 2.4 mg on weight loss and body composition according to age.
Adults without type 2 diabetes were assigned to a once-weekly injection of semaglutide 2.4 mg or placebo, both plus lifestyle intervention, for 68 weeks.
The team found that change in body weight (%) was greater for semaglutide than for placebo and was consistent across age groups: 40 years and under mean weight loss 15.2% semaglutide group versus 2.3% placebo; 40-60 years 14.6kg semaglutide versus 2.5kg placebo; and 60 years and over 14.7kg semaglutide versus 2.4kg placebo.
The changes in lean: fat mass ratio were found to be more pronounced in those patients under 50 years—the authors suggest the metabolic effects of aging could be behind this difference.
The safety of semaglutide was generally consistent across age groups. Gut disorders were the most commonly reported adverse events across all age groups.
The team says the treatment with semaglutide reduced percentage body fat mass and increased percentage lean body mass in all subjects, which was more pronounced in those aged under 50 years. Semaglutide was generally well tolerated irrespective of age.
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The study was presented at European Congress on Obesity. One author of the study is Dr. Dror Dicker.
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