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The GLP-1 receptor agonist semaglutide, commonly used to treat type 2 diabetes and aid weight loss, is being explored for its potential to treat other health conditions. Recent research presented at a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology found that semaglutide may reduce the need for and dose of loop diuretics in people with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Semaglutide provided a positive impact on symptoms, physical limitations, and body weight of individuals with HFpEF, regardless of their use of diuretics.

Two trials, “Semaglutide in Patients with Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction and Obesity” and “Semaglutide in Patients with Obesity-Related Heart Failure and Type 2 Diabetes,” were combined to analyze the effects of semaglutide on 1,145 study participants with an average age of 70. Results showed that participants who took semaglutide improved their quality of life scores. Those taking loop diuretics experienced a 17% decrease in their diuretic dose after 52 weeks of treatment. The medication also helped participants lose weight, with those not taking diuretics losing an average of 8.8% of their starting weight.

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a specific type of heart failure in which the heart muscles stiffen and cannot properly fill with blood. Current treatment options for HFpEF include medications such as SGLT2 inhibitors and loop diuretics to manage fluid buildup. Lifestyle changes such as reduced salt intake, increased physical activity, and weight loss can also be beneficial for people with HFpEF. Researchers have found that semaglutide medications that promote weight loss can improve heart conditions, such as heart failure, in individuals with HFpEF.

The study findings suggest that semaglutide may have disease-modifying effects in people with HFpEF, leading to better long-term clinical outcomes. It is believed that reducing the need for loop diuretics and helping individuals lose weight can positively impact the symptoms and physical limitations associated with HFpEF. Further research is needed to explore the potential independent benefits of semaglutide on heart-related conditions like heart failure and coronary artery disease, beyond its effects on weight loss.

Medical experts emphasize the importance of conducting additional studies to evaluate bigger endpoints such as frequency of hospitalization and mortality in HFpEF patients treated with semaglutide. Moving forward, researchers hope to determine if the benefits of semaglutide on heart conditions are independent of weight loss, potentially broadening the indications for the use of this medication beyond type 2 diabetes and weight management. Studies investigating the long-term effects of semaglutide on heart health may provide valuable insights for improving treatment outcomes for individuals with HFpEF.

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