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Semaglutide Injection Reduces Liver Fat by 31% in HIV Patients with Liver Disease, NIH Study Finds

Weekly Injection of Semaglutide Demonstrates Promising Results in HIV Patients with Liver Disease

Weekly Injection of Semaglutide Demonstrates Promising Results in HIV Patients with Liver Disease

A groundbreaking mid-stage study funded by the National Institutes of Health has revealed that a weekly injection of semaglutide could herald a potential breakthrough in the treatment of metabolic dysfunction-associated steatotic liver disease (MASLD) in patients with HIV. This study marks the first of its kind to explore the effects of semaglutide in HIV patients suffering from liver disease.

A Safe and Effective Treatment

The trial, conducted with the support of the National Institutes of Health, was unveiled at the prestigious Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Denver, Colorado on Monday. Intriguingly, the study demonstrated that semaglutide helped reduce liver fat by an impressive 31% in participants, with an even more remarkable 29% of patients achieving a complete resolution of MASLD as liver fat reached an ideal level of 5% or less.

Positive Impact on HIV Patients

Individuals involved in the study were adult patients with demonstrated undetectable levels of HIV in their blood, thanks to antiretroviral therapy (ART) suppressing their viral load. The remarkable findings of this research offer hope for a better quality of life for HIV patients suffering from liver disease.

A Promising Drug

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Novo Nordisk’s renowned weight loss drug Wegovy and diabetes treatment Ozempic, showcased its potential yet again. Novo, the pharmaceutical company, is excited to explore semaglutide’s potential further as it is currently undergoing a separate late-stage trial for patients with the same condition.

New Insights into Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Steatotic Liver Disease

Previously recognized as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, MASLD involves the accumulation of excess fat in the liver due to non-alcohol-related causes. This liver condition, not associated with alcohol consumption or viral hepatitis, poses a significant health threat worldwide. However, with the introduction of semaglutide, a glimmer of hope emerges for those affected by MASLD.

Potential Limitations

During the clinical trial, 49 patients were subjected to data analysis, out of whom 40 were utilizing ART containing drugs known as integrase strand transfer inhibitors. While effective in suppressing HIV, these medications have been linked to weight gain in some patients. However, the groundbreaking results of this study demonstrate a remarkable reduction in liver fat, further solidifying semaglutide’s potential to tackle liver disease in HIV patients.

Comparative Trials Highlights

Lilly, another leading pharmaceutical company, conducted a mid-stage trial for its diabetes drug Mounjaro, utilizing the active ingredient tirzepatide. Impressively, this trial demonstrated its potential by aiding up to 74% of patients in achieving the absence of a severe form of fatty liver disease. It is worth mentioning that Lilly’s trial involved patients not suffering from HIV, providing a broader spectrum of understanding for medical experts.

Promising Future for HIV Patients with Liver Disease

While the trial conducted by Lilly highlights the potential in patients without HIV, marking a significant achievement, Novo’s ongoing research presents a beacon of hope for people living with both HIV and MASLD. Semaglutide’s effectiveness and tolerable safety profile position it as a strong contender in the race to combat this devastating liver condition. As Novo continues its late-stage trial, the results hold the potential to transform the lives of HIV patients worldwide.

About the Author

Written by Sriparna Roy in Bengaluru.

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