Effects of Semaglutide on Stroke Subtypes in Type 2 Diabetes: Post Hoc Analysis of the Randomized SUSTAIN 6 and PIONEER 6

Stroke. 2022 Sep;53(9):2749-2757. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.037775. Epub 2022 May 18.


Background: GLP-1 RA (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists), including semaglutide, may reduce stroke risk in people with type 2 diabetes. This post hoc analysis examined the subcutaneous and oral semaglutide effects, versus placebo, on stroke and its subtypes in people with type 2 diabetes at high cardiovascular risk.

Methods: SUSTAIN 6 (Trial to Evaluate Cardiovascular and Other Long-Term Outcomes With Semaglutide in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes) and PIONEER 6 (Peptide Innovation for Early Diabetes Treatment) were randomized cardiovascular outcome trials of subcutaneous and oral semaglutide in people with type 2 diabetes at high cardiovascular risk, respectively. Time to first stroke and stroke subtypes were analyzed using a Cox proportional hazards model stratified by trial with pooled treatment as a factor. The impact of prior stroke, prior myocardial infarction or stroke, age, sex, systolic blood pressure, estimated glomerular filtration rate, and prior atrial fibrillation on treatment effects was assessed using interaction P values. Risk of major adverse cardiovascular event was analyzed according to prior stroke.

Results: A total of 106/6480 participants had a stroke (1.0 event/100 patient-years of observation [PYO]). Semaglutide reduced incidence of any stroke versus placebo (0.8 versus 1.1 events/100 PYO; hazard ratio, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.46-1.00]; P=0.048), driven by significant reductions in risk of small-vessel occlusion (0.3 versus 0.7 events/100 PYO; hazard ratio, 0.51 [95% CI, 0.29-0.89]; P=0.017). Hazard ratios for risk of any stroke with semaglutide versus placebo were 0.60 (95% CI, 0.37-0.99; 0.5 versus 0.9 events/100 PYO) and 0.89 (95% CI, 0.47-1.69; 2.7 versus 3.0 events/100 PYO) in those without and with prior stroke, respectively. Except for prior atrial fibrillation (Pinteraction=0.025), no significant interactions were observed between treatment effects on risk of any stroke and subgroups investigated, or between treatment effects on risk of major adverse cardiovascular event and prior stroke (Pinteraction >0.05 for all).

Conclusions: Semaglutide reduced incidence of any first stroke during the trials versus placebo in people with type 2 diabetes at high cardiovascular risk, primarily driven by small-vessel occlusion prevention. Semaglutide treatment, versus placebo, lowered the risk of stroke irrespective of prior stroke at baseline.

Registration: URL: https://www.

Clinicaltrials: gov; Unique identifier: NCT01720446 and NCT02692716.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation; blood pressure; myocardial infarction; peptides; prevalence.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / epidemiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / adverse effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Stroke* / drug therapy
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Stroke* / prevention & control


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • semaglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01720446
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02692716