Study shows Wegovy eases heart-failure symptoms for patients with diabetes—helpful to Novo as it argues insurers should pay for it

Wegovy, the blockbuster weight-loss medication from Novo Nordisk A/S, eased heart-failure symptoms for patients with diabetes in the latest large trial to support use of the drug to treat health conditions linked to obesity.

Patients who took Wegovy reported less fatigue, less leg swelling, were less short of breath and were able to walk farther in six minutes than those who got a placebo, researchers reported on Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine. The Wegovy patients also reported fewer serious medical problems.

The study is the latest in a series of large trials Novo is running to prove that Wegovy can help people with a range of conditions from knee arthritis to cardiovascular disease. The Danish drugmaker is using the results to build its case that cost-conscious insurers should pay for the medicine, which has a list price of about $1,350 per month in the US.

The heart-failure study published Saturday is part of a pair of trials that looked at heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a condition that occurs when the lower chamber of the heart pumps less blood than the body needs. It affects about 3 million people in the US and as many as 32 million people around the world, with an annual mortality rate of about 15%, according to a review published last year in the medical journal JAMA.

Novo disclosed initial results of the heart-failure study when it reported fourth-quarter earnings in January. The study in people with diabetes follows on from a similar trial published last year of heart-failure patients who had obesity, but not diabetes. The company filed the results of both trials with US and European regulators in January.

— With assistance from Madison Mulle

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