Is Semaglutide the Breakthrough Treatment for Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease?

There has been much excitement surrounding the results of the SELECT cardiovascular outcomes trial (CVOT) presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity, with many calling semaglutide the “new statin.” In the SELECT CVOT, participants with overweight or obesity, established cardiovascular disease, and no history of type 2 diabetes were given semaglutide at a weekly dose of 2.4 mg. The treatment led to a significant 20% relative risk reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events. Importantly, this trial focused on secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, and the benefits of semaglutide were seen regardless of baseline weight or weight lost during the trial.

Much of the attention has been on the 20% relative risk reduction figure, but it is essential to consider the absolute risk reduction as well. The number needed to treat (NNT) with semaglutide was 67 over 34 months to prevent one major adverse cardiovascular event, which is higher than what has been observed with statins in similar trials.

Comparing the effectiveness of semaglutide with statins in secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, it is evident that statins have lower NNTs. While the benefits of semaglutide in preventing cardiovascular disease in individuals with overweight or obesity are promising, more research is needed to fully understand its impact. In contrast, we have extensive evidence supporting the benefits of statins in both primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.

When considering the cost-effectiveness of semaglutide for cardiovascular risk reduction, further studies are required to assess its economic viability compared to statins. Additionally, while statins are known to have various pleiotropic effects beyond cholesterol-lowering, semaglutide offers significant weight loss benefits that can improve overall health and quality of life.

In conclusion, while semaglutide represents a significant advance in the treatment of obesity and related conditions, it is not a replacement for statins in the management of cardiovascular disease. Statins remain the cornerstone of CVD prevention, and the benefits of semaglutide should be viewed as complementary rather than a substitute.

**Dr. Kevin Fernando:**
Dr. Kevin Fernando is a renowned healthcare professional known for his work in diabetes and medical education. He has been recognized with fellowships from prestigious medical institutions for his contributions to the field. Dr. Fernando is actively engaged on social media platforms, sharing valuable insights on type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk management. His dedication to improving patient outcomes and simplifying complex medical information has made him a respected figure in the medical community.