At the recent Endocrine Society meeting, an update to the STEP Trial was presented. This trial explores the potential benefits of semaglutide in helping people with and without diabetes lose weight.
Here, we will take a look at the results of this trial and its implications for those looking to shed some pounds.
What is the STEP Trial?
The STEP Trial is a four-part study that looks into the effects of semaglutide on weight loss. It included adults aged 18 or older with a BMI of 30 or above (or 27 or above if they had a weight-related pre-existing condition).
The study evaluated 2.4 mg doses of semaglutide in combination with lifestyle modification interventions.
Results from STEP One
STEP One’s results, which were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that 2.4 mg doses of semaglutide led to 14.9 percent weight loss from 232 pounds at baseline after 68 weeks compared to only 2.4 percent observed in placebo groups during this period.
Additionally, 86 percent participants who received semaglutide achieved 5 percent or more weight loss while only 32 percent in placebo group could reach this milestone.
Absolute weight loss was 15.3 kilograms (34 pounds) among those without diabetes compared to 2.6 kilograms (5.7 pounds) among placebo group members respectively.
Gastrointestinal side effects are commonly associated GLP-1 receptor agonists like semaglutide and 4.5 percent dropped out due to GI problems in comparison to 0.8 percent in the placebo group.
Implications of Results
The results from STEP also showed a 3.5 percent reduction in total fat mass and a two percent reduction in visceral fat. However, a ten percent decrease in total lean body mass was also observed.
Fortunately, this was mitigated by an improved ratio of lean body mass to fat mass. These findings reiterate the importance of physical activity and lifestyle change for any weight loss program to be successful.
Moreover, it was found that female participants achieved higher percentage weight loss compared to male participants which is encouraging considering many weight loss interventions work better for men than women. Additionally, those with lower body weights at baseline lost more weight than those with higher weights at baseline.
The results of the STEP Trial are promising and we can expect to hear more about this over the coming year. However, before semaglutide can be used as a treatment option for weight loss, it must receive FDA approval and be covered by insurance companies’ policies first.
Until then, it is important to remember that although medications can help with losing unwanted pounds, physical activity and lifestyle modifications are equally essential for better health outcomes overall.