‘Saving kidneys, hearts and lives’: Diabetes drug found to reduce risk of kidney disease and death

A popular diabetes medication has been found to prevent kidney failure and reduce deaths in people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease.

Antidiabetic medication semaglutide, more widely known by brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, significantly reduces the risk of kidney failure, substantial loss of kidney function and death from kidney or cardiovascular causes, an international clinical trial led by UNSW Sydney researchers has shown.

The trial involving more than 3500 participants with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease from 28 countries – including Australia, the USA and China – found a small weekly dose of semaglutide reduced the risk of major kidney events by 24 per cent.

The risk of cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke was also 18 per cent lower for those on semaglutide, which was given to half of the participants in the placebo-controlled trial, while risk of death from any cause was 20 per cent lower, says the study findings published in The New England Journal of Medicine today.

Lead study author and Scientia Professor Vlado Perkovic, Provost at UNSW Sydney, said the benefits of semaglutide for those with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease were greater than expected.

“We would be saving kidneys, hearts and lives in this population by making this drug available to them and that’s quite extraordinary for one treatment to be able to do,” Prof. Perkovic, a nephrologist, said.

/Public Release. View in full here.