Effect of Oral Semaglutide Compared With Placebo and Subcutaneous Semaglutide on Glycemic Control in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes: A Randomized Clinical Trial

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Abstract

Importance

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists are effective therapies for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and are all currently available as an injection.

Objectives

To compare the effects of oral semaglutide with placebo (primary) and open-label subcutaneous semaglutide (secondary) on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Design, Setting, and Patients

Phase 2, randomized, parallel-group, dosage-finding, 26-week trial with 5-week follow-up at 100 sites (hospital clinics, general practices, and clinical research centers) in 14 countries conducted between December 2013 and December 2014. Of 1106 participants assessed, 632 with type 2 diabetes and insufficient glycemic control using diet and exercise alone or a stable dose of metformin were randomized. Randomization was stratified by metformin use.

Interventions

Once-daily oral semaglutide of 2.5 mg (n = 70), 5 mg (n = 70), 10 mg (n = 70), 20 mg (n = 70), 40-mg 4-week dose escalation (standard escalation; n = 71), 40-mg 8-week dose escalation (slow escalation; n = 70), 40-mg 2-week dose escalation (fast escalation, n = 70), oral placebo (n = 71; double-blind) or once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide of 1.0 mg (n = 70) for 26 weeks.

Main Outcomes and Measures

The primary end point was change in hemoglobing A1c (HbA1c) from baseline to week 26. Secondary end points included change from baseline in body weight and adverse events.

Results

Baseline characteristics were comparable across treatment groups. Of the 632 randomized patients (mean age, 57.1 years [SD, 10.6]; men, 395 (62.7%); diabetes duration, 6.3 years [SD, 5.2]; body weight, 92.3 kg [SD, 16.8]; BMI, 31.7 [SD, 4.3]), 583 (92%) completed the trial. Mean change in HbA1c level from baseline to week 26 decreased with oral semaglutide (dosage-dependent range, −0.7% to −1.9%) and subcutaneous semaglutide (−1.9%) and placebo (−0.3%); oral semaglutide reductions were significant vs placebo (dosage-dependent estimated treatment difference [ETD] range for oral semaglutide vs placebo, –0.4% to –1.6%; P = .01 for 2.5 mg, <.001 for all other dosages). Reductions in body weight were greater with oral semaglutide (dosage-dependent range, −2.1 kg to −6.9 kg) and subcutaneous semaglutide (−6.4 kg) vs placebo (−1.2 kg), and significant for oral semaglutide dosages of 10 mg or more vs placebo (dosage-dependent ETD range, –0.9 to –5.7 kg; P < .001). Adverse events were reported by 63% to 86% (371 of 490 patients) in the oral semaglutide groups, 81% (56 of 69 patients) in the subcutaneous semaglutide group, and 68% (48 of 71 patients) in the placebo group; mild to moderate gastrointestinal events were most common.

Conclusions and Relevance

Among patients with type 2 diabetes, oral semaglutide resulted in better glycemic control than placebo over 26 weeks. These findings support phase 3 studies to assess longer-term and clinical outcomes, as well as safety.

Trial Registration

clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01923181

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