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The latest research from Novo Nordisk suggests that their weight loss injection semaglutide, found in the popular drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, may also have potential kidney-protecting benefits. The findings come from the Select trial, a study funded by Novo that included over 17,000 overweight or obese adults from 41 countries. The results showed a 22% reduction in kidney-related problems among those taking semaglutide compared to a placebo. This included a decrease in the onset of macroalbuminuria, a condition associated with kidney complications.

One of the key findings from the study was the significant improvement in the estimated glomerular filtration rate, a key metric of kidney function, particularly among those with baseline kidney impairments. This suggests that semaglutide may not only help prevent kidney issues but also protect those with pre-existing conditions. Despite potential concerns over kidney injury as a side effect of semaglutide, the researchers found no increased risk of acute kidney injury in their latest trial.

Novo Nordisk had previously ended a trial looking at kidney disease early due to positive results, showing a 24% decrease in kidney-related events among patients on semaglutide versus placebo. Both obesity and diabetes are risk factors for kidney damage, making the kidney-protecting benefits of weight loss drugs like semaglutide significant. These findings have also impacted shares in dialysis companies, as the success of these drugs could potentially reduce the need for kidney-related treatments.

The results of this study add to the growing evidence that weight loss injections like semaglutide have benefits beyond just managing obesity and diabetes. The inclusion of cardiovascular benefits on the label of Wegovy and ongoing research into other conditions such as sleep apnea, addiction, and anxiety show the potential of these drugs for improving overall health. Market leaders like Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, with their respective drugs semaglutide and tirzepatide, are racing to bring these products to market and provide more evidence of their wide-ranging health benefits.

As more studies like the Select trial show the potential kidney-protecting benefits of weight loss injections, the public health case for these drugs continues to grow. Authorities may need to reconsider funding for these medications given the positive impact they could have on a wide range of health conditions beyond just obesity and diabetes. Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide and other similar drugs are paving the way for a new approach to treating a variety of health issues, with potential benefits that extend far beyond just weight loss.

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