Weight-loss drugs like Wegovy can improve symptoms in heart failure patients, a new clinical trial shows.

Both men and women showed improved heart function after a year on semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, researchers report.

Women tended to lose more weight than men, on average about 9.6% of their body weight compared with 7.2% in men.

However, both genders experienced similar improvements regarding their heart health, researchers found. This could mean the drug might have heart benefits above and beyond helping people lose weight.

The results shed light on “the consistent benefits of semaglutide for women and men,” said senior researcher Dr. Mikhail Kosiborod, a cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo.

For the clinical trial, researchers randomly assigned 1,145 people with heart failure to take either semaglutide or a placebo for a year.

Heart failure occurs when the heart starts to pump less efficiently, slowing the delivery of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

This results in fatigue and shortness of breath, making everyday activities like walking or carrying groceries very difficult for some, according to the American Heart Association.

But people on semaglutide experienced improvement in both their heart failure symptoms and the physical limitations the condition placed upon them, trial results show.

They also had lower blood pressure and a smaller waist circumference after a year on the drug, as well as less inflammation, researchers said.

The findings were published June 23 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and presented simultaneously at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart failure.

SOURCE: American College of Cardiology, news release, June 23, 2024