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Survodutide Shows Promising Weight Loss and Cardiometabolic Benefits

Clinical trial participants taking survodutide for obesity experienced up to 19% in weight loss over 46 weeks in the latest research presented at the 2023 EASD Conference in Hamburg, Germany.

An investigational, not yet approved medication called survodutide – a GLP-1/glucagon dual receptor agonist – led to significant weight loss in a clinical trial for people living with obesity. 

Survodutide is a once-weekly injectable medication being developed by Zealand and Boehringer Ingelheim for obesity as well as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a type of liver disease

The phase 2 study included 387 adults living with overweight or obesity who did not have diabetes. At baseline, average age was about 49 years with a body mass index (BMI) of 37. Over 46 weeks, survodutide led to weight loss of up to 19%. Survodutide also led to improvements in cardiometabolic health, such as reduced blood pressure and waist circumference.

What were the key findings? 

At the end of the trial, all survodutide doses (0.6 mg, 2.4 mg, 3.6 mg, and 4.8 mg) led to significant body weight loss compared to placebo.

Weight loss ranged from approximately 16 pounds for the lowest dose of survodutide to 43 pounds for the highest dose. Lead trial investigator Dr. Carel le Roux from the University College Dublin in the United Kingdom noted that the weight loss didn’t appear to plateau at the end of the study, which suggests that patients could see additional weight loss in longer studies. 

Along with chronic weight management, Le Roux also described improvements in heart health: 

  • Participants on the highest dose of survodutide saw an average reduction in waist circumference of approximately six inches. To put this in perspective, this weight reduction amounts to about “four beltholes,” le Roux said. 

  • Participants on survodutide doses of 2.4 mg or greater saw substantial reductions in blood pressure, which could indicate benefits for cardiovascular risk factors.

Overall, le Roux said survodutide was reasonably well-tolerated. As with other incretin-based therapies, the most common adverse effects of survodutide are gastrointestinal. As with any drug treatment, there can be a risk for allergic reactions.

What do these results mean? 

The new data suggests that survodutide is a promising investigational treatment to lose weight, with weight loss similar to other dual agonist medications like Mounjaro (tirzepatide).

Based on these strong results, survodutide is now being investigated in phase 3 trials for obesity and for people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. In another phase 2 clinical trial in people with type 2 diabetes, survodutide was shown to improve A1C by up to 1.88 percentage points after 16 weeks in the group receiving the highest dose (1.8 mg), injected twice a week.

The reductions in blood pressure in this initial trial also suggest that survodutide may benefit heart health and prevent cardiovascular disease in the long term, as Wegovy (semaglutide) recently demonstrated. These findings are important in the context of overall well-being beyond a number on a scale. 

“It’s not just weight loss, but really health gain that we should think about,” le Roux said.

With the success of survodutide, tirzepatide, retatrutide, and other incretin-based therapies, people with obesity will have more options to choose from to achieve weight loss.

Ultimately, researchers envision a future for obesity treatment similar to that for hypertension (high blood pressure) or high cholesterol, where patients and providers can choose from a variety of different treatments to reach their ideal body weight. 

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