A new study has found that Semaglutide, an anti-diabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, can also help obese people lose weight.

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Obesity is a disorder or complex disease involving excessive body fat that increases a person’s risk of health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.

It often results from taking in more calories than are burned by exercise and normal daily activities.

In the clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, experts at Northwestern University in Chicago tested Semaglutide at a much higher dose as an anti-obesity medication.

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The trial involved 1,961 adults who were either overweight or obese with an average weight of 105kg/16.5 stone and a body mass index of 38kg/m2.

The research took place at 129 locations in 16 countries across Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

During the 15-month trial, some participants took a 2.4mg dose of the drug once-a-week via an injection under the skin while others got a dummy injection — with both groups placed on lifestyle advice.

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The results showed that participants lost an average of 15kg on Semaglutide compared with 2.6kg without the drug.

Also, 32% of those who took the drug lost a fifth of their body weight compared to the 2% of those who didn’t.

The drug works by hijacking the body’s appetite levels and mimicking a hormone – called GLP1 – that is released after eating a filling meal.

Scientists believe the results could mark a “new era” in treating obesity with even more therapies on the horizon.

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Rachel Batterham, one of the UK researchers, said losing weight would reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and severe COVID-19.

“This is a game-changer in the amount of weight loss it causes. I have spent the last 20 years doing obesity research, up until now we’ve not had an effective treatment for obesity apart from bariatric surgery,” she told BBC.

It is understood that evidence from the study has been submitted for regulatory approval as a treatment for obesity to the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), the European Medicines Agency (EMA), and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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