Groundbreaking Ozempic Study Could Increase Access for People with Chronic Kidney Disease

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Richard Pratley, M.D. in TRI lab

AdventHealth researcher, Dr. Richard E. Pratley, is the senior author on this recently published New England Journal of Medicine paper, which is the first trial to examine kidney outcomes with a GLP-1 receptor agonist.

New research, conducted in part at AdventHealth, shows medicines like Ozempic can dramatically reduce the risk of serious illness in people with kidney disease.

“In the near future, this treatment could become one of the pillars of therapy for patients with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) and chronic kidney disease because of the powerful effects this study shows, not just on kidney progression, but on heart disease and mortality,” said Richard E. Pratley, MD, senior investigator at the AdventHealth Translational Research Institute. “This treatment positively affects multiple organs to decrease risk and this study confirms it’s a whole body, holistic type of treatment. It’s not just a medication focused on lowering blood sugar; it has other major benefits.”

Dr. Pratley believes this research supports Ozempic as a life-saving option for a new set of patients. He is the senior author on a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), which looks at the effects of Ozempic in persons with Type 2 diabetes patients with chronic kidney disease.

The trial, called FLOW, evaluated the efficacy and safety of semaglutide (Ozempic) given once weekly in people with T2D and chronic kidney disease from preventing:

  • Kidney failure
  • Substantial loss of kidney function
  • Death from kidney or cardiovascular causes

The groundbreaking study results show promising outcomes and Dr. Pratley is confident it will quickly obtain FDA approval, making Ozempic a life-saving option for a new set of patients for whom additional treatment options are badly needed.

“This research shows us where Ozempic’s strengths lie,” Dr. Pratley said. “Ozempic has demonstrated efficacy with many of the important complications associated with type 2 diabetes, including heart and kidney disease.”

The study results of over 3,500 participants who were followed for an average of 3.4 years showed:

  • 24% lower risk of kidney events worsening kidney function, transplant dialysis, kidney death and cardiovascular disease
  • 18% lower risk of major cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke, etc.)
  • 20% lower risk of death

“By sharing these insights with other physicians and clinicians through the NEJM, we hope our findings will eventually become the standard of whole person care globally to improve patient outcomes.”

This is the first study of its kind to examine a GLP-1 receptor agonist (semaglutide) and its effects on kidney outcomes, and with promising results, Dr. Pratley hopes to drive change in screening for kidney disease.

“There’s a big gap in the number of patients who have kidney disease and the number who are diagnosed,” said Dr. Pratley. “Screening needs to start happening with the primary care physician to identify kidney disease in its early stages because we now have treatments that can prevent disease progression.”

In addition to these new findings, there are also other potential benefits of Ozempic being explored, such as improving heart failure in patients and even secondary benefits like improving liver disease and sleep apnea.

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