Novo Nordisk's Semaglutide's Multi-Beneficial Effects: Weight Loss, Improved Metabolic Markers, Liver Fat Reduction in HIV-Related Liver Disease

The weekly injection of semaglutide has proven to be both safe and effective, reducing liver fat in individuals with HIV and fatty liver disease, as unveiled by data from a mid-stage study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health

Semaglutide is the key ingredient in Novo Nordisk A/S’s NVO popular drugs, including Wegovy for weight loss and Ozempic for diabetes.

Tuesday, Novo Nordisk’s FLOW kidney outcomes trial demonstrated a statistically significant and superior reduction in kidney disease progression and cardiovascular and kidney death of 24% for people treated with semaglutide 1.0 mg compared to placebo.

The findings were disclosed at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, marking the first trial to showcase the impact of semaglutide on HIV patients with Metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD).

Formerly recognized as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, MASLD is characterized by the accumulation of excess fat in the liver unrelated to alcohol consumption or viral hepatitis. 

The study included adult patients with suppressed viral loads through antiretroviral therapy (ART).

The data showed an average 31% reduction in liver fat. 29% of participants experienced a complete resolution of MASLD, witnessing their liver fat plummet to 5% or less of overall liver content.

The patients also experienced weight loss, reduced fasting blood sugar levels, and fasting triglycerides (a type of fat in the blood), consistent with effects observed in studies of semaglutide in people without HIV.

Of the 49 patients scrutinized in the data analysis, 40 were undergoing ART regimens featuring integrase strand transfer inhibitors. While effective in suppressing HIV, these inhibitors have been associated with weight gain in some cases.

MASLD also is associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic disorders. It is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S. and a leading reason for liver transplantation. An estimated 30-40% of people with HIV experience MASLD, slightly higher than the average among people without HIV.

Price Action: NVO shares are up 0.01% at $124.66 on the last check Wednesday.

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