The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved semaglutidea once-weekly glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. The drug, produced by Novo Nordisk and marketed as OZEMPIC®, is administered once weekly, on the same day each week, and can be taken any time of the day, with or without meals.
The approval of semaglutide is based on the results from a Phase 3a clinical trial program. In people with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide showed clinically meaningful and statistically significant reductions in A1c compared with placebo, sitagliptin and exenatide extended-release. As a secondary endpoint in the trials, treatment with semaglutide resulted in reductions in body weight. The most common adverse reactions reported in ≥5% of patients treated with semaglutide are: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and constipation.1
“The OZEMPIC approval builds on Novo Nordisk’s commitment to offering healthcare professionals a range of treatments that effectively addresses the complex needs of diabetes management and fits their patients’ lifestyles,” says Todd Hobbs, vice president and U.S. chief medical officer of Novo Nordisk. “We are grateful to the many adults with type 2 diabetes who participated in the studies, as well as the clinical trial investigators. Thanks to their collective contributions, Novo Nordisk is able to bring once-weekly OZEMPIC to the type 2 diabetes community.”
OZEMPIC is an injection approved for use in two therapeutic doses, 0.5 mg and 1 mg, and will be launched in the OZEMPIC® pre-filled pen.
The global Phase 3a clinical trial program for semaglutide comprised eight clinical trials involving more than 8,000 adults with type 2 diabetes, including a two-year cardiovascular outcomes trial that evaluated safety in adults with type 2 diabetes at high risk of cardiovascular events.
“Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition that affects more than 28 million people in the U.S., and despite advancements in treatment, some people with type 2 diabetes do not achieve their A1c goals,” says Helena Rodbard, MD, FACP, MACE, medical director, Endocrine and Metabolic Consultants, Rockville, MD, and past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. “The approval of semaglutide offers healthcare professionals an important new treatment option to help adults with type 2 diabetes meet their A1c goals.”
Novo Nordisk expects to launch OZEMPIC in the U.S. in Q1 2018, with a goal of ensuring broad insurance coverage and patient access to the product. OZEMPIC will be priced at parity to current market-leading weekly GLP-1 receptor agonists and will be offered with a savings card program to reduce co-pays for eligible commercially-insured patients. Additionally, as part of the access strategy, Novo Nordisk is working with appropriate health insurance providers to establish innovative contracting solutions.
Semaglutide is currently under review by the European Medicines Agency and the Japanese Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.