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Cardiovascular outcome trials in obesity: A review

John P.H. Wilding, Stephan Jacob
Obesity reviews 2021 v.22 no.1 pp. e13112
bariatric surgery, blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, drug therapy, glucagon-like peptide 1, glucose, lifestyle, lipids, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, obesity, weight loss
Obesity is a global epidemic associated with over 200 health complications and a significant risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD), partly by increasing classical risk factors such as lipid and glucose levels and blood pressure. Weight loss through lifestyle interventions, pharmacotherapy and/or bariatric surgery improves CV risk factors. Cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs) of anti‐obesity medications aim to evaluate the CV safety and benefits of pharmacotherapy. Many CVOTs in obesity have either failed to demonstrate a CV benefit or have been terminated prematurely because of safety issues, prompting regulatory agencies to define new requirements (based on those for CVOTs in type 2 diabetes [T2D]). CVOTs of glucagon‐like peptide‐1 receptor agonists (GLP‐1RAs) in T2D have demonstrated that some GLP‐1RAs reduce CV risk and may help inform future CVOTs in obesity, given the approval of liraglutide 3.0 mg for obesity. In this review, the evidence for the link between obesity and CVD is considered in the context of studies showing that weight loss improves markers of CV risk and risk of adverse CV events. The review also examines the CVOTs in obesity that have been conducted to date and those under way, such as the SELECT trial with subcutaneous semaglutide of 2.4 mg.