FLOW: Semaglutide for Diabetes and Kidney Disease

Dr. Tashko breaks down the FLOW trial results, showcasing semaglutide's kidney and heart benefits in type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Findings were published in NEJM in May 2024.

May 2024 NEJM

Background – Diabetes Specialist in the State of Maryland

As a diabetologist with extensive clinical and research experience, I place a strong emphasis on keeping current with the latest advancements. My goal is to provide our community with the highest standard of care, utilizing personalized and integrative approaches.

Conveniently located in Rockville, my practice offers virtual and in-person services, extending support to nearby areas such as Chevy Chase, Bethesda, North Bethesda, Potomac, North Potomac, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Frederick, Silver Spring, Northern Virginia, Howard County, Anne Arundel, and the Eastern Shore of Maryland, ensuring comprehensive care.

Here, I provide a brief summary of the FLOW study on semaglutide’s effects in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. This study highlights the benefits of semaglutide in reducing the risks of kidney failure, cardiovascular events, and death. We will delve into the key findings and results published in the New England Journal of Medicine in May 2024.

Semaglutide Shows Promise for Type 2 Diabetes and Chronic Kidney Disease Patients

People with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease face a double threat: their kidneys are already struggling, and diabetes throws another punch, increasing the risk of kidney failure, heart issues, and even death. However, a recent study offers encouraging news.

This research explored the effects of semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy) medication on this high-risk group. Overall 3,500 participants were randomly assigned to receive either 1.0 mg weekly semaglutide injections or a placebo (inactive treatment). After 3.5 years of follow-up, the results were impressive:

  • Kidney Protection: Semaglutide offered a 24% reduction in the risk of major kidney problems, such as needing dialysis or a transplant. This translates to a significant number of people potentially avoiding these serious interventions.
  • Slower Kidney Decline: The study also showed a slower decline in kidney function in the semaglutide group. This means their kidneys held onto their filtering abilities for longer.
  • Heart Health Boost: The good news doesn’t stop at the kidneys. Semaglutide also showed an 18% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and strokes, offering an additional layer of protection.
  • Improved Overall Survival: Perhaps the most encouraging finding is the 20% decrease in the risk of death from any cause in the semaglutide group. This suggests a potential overall improvement in health and longevity for these patients.

Interestingly, semaglutide was also well-tolerated, with fewer side effects reported compared to the placebo.

Summary

The FLOW study offers hope for people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Semaglutide shows promise as a new treatment option, potentially improving kidney function, reducing cardiovascular risks, and even extending lifespans.

Dr. Tashko