Semaglutide is a relatively new drug, originally developed to increase insulin secretion as a treatment for type 2 diabetics. It was approved by the FDA as a treatment for diabetes in late 2017.
The drug works by mimicking the actions of a naturally-occurring hormone called GLP-1. As well as influencing blood sugar levels, GLP-1 has been found to play a role in suppressing appetite. The hormone is produced by intestinal cells helping tell the brain when we have eaten enough food.
Several large recently completed Phase 3 trials testing the drug as a weight-loss treatment saw average reductions of 15.3 kg (33.7 lb) after 68 weeks. This made the drug more effective than any other currently available weight-loss medication.