Cardiometabolic risk factors efficacy of semaglutide in the STEP program

Postgrad Med. 2022 Jan;134(sup1):18-27. doi: 10.1080/00325481.2022.2147325.


People with overweight or obesity often suffer from associated cardiometabolic diseases and comorbidities. Current therapies for obesity include lifestyle intervention, bariatric surgery, and pharmacotherapy. The magnitude of weight loss achieved with these therapies can determine the level of improvement in various comorbidities. Once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of obesity. This article reviews data from the global phase 3 Semaglutide Treatment Effect in People with obesity (STEP) program, comparing the efficacy of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg versus placebo for weight loss and improvements in cardiometabolic parameters across the STEP 1 to 5 trials. In STEP 1 to 3 and STEP 5, semaglutide led to greater reductions from baseline versus placebo in body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, systolic blood pressure (SBP), and diastolic blood pressure, as well as positive changes in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), C-reactive protein, and lipid levels. In STEP 4, all participants had a 20-week run-in period on semaglutide before either continuing on semaglutide or switching to placebo at week 20 in a 2:1 ratio for 48 weeks. At week 68, continued semaglutide led to further reductions from week 20 in HbA1c, improvements in lipid profile, and stabilization of SBP. Overall, across the STEP trials, treatment with semaglutide 2.4 mg versus placebo improved cardiometabolic risk factors associated with obesity, illustrating an effective treatment option for people with overweight (and associated comorbidities) or obesity.

Keywords: Semaglutide 2.4 mg; anti-obesity medication; cardiometabolic parameters; obesity; overweight; weight loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiometabolic Risk Factors
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Lipids
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Overweight
  • Weight Loss


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • semaglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Lipids