Press release

Oral Semaglutide Reduces Occurrence of Major Cardiac Events in People with Type 2 Diabetes With High Cardiovascular Risk

June 11, 2019 | San Francisco, California

Results of the PIONEER 6 trial indicate oral semaglutide is safe for patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D) at high cardiovascular (CV) risk, according to results announced at the symposium titled “Oral Semaglutide—The PIONEER Program Trials” today at the American Diabetes Association’s® (ADA) 79th Scientific Sessions® at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco. Oral semaglutide reduced cardiovascular death and all-cause mortality by nearly 50 percent, based on median follow up of 15.9 months.

PIONEER 6 was conducted across 21 countries and included 3,183 participants who were randomized to receive either a 14 mg dose of semaglutide (n=1591) once daily, or placebo (n=1592). The mean age of participants was 66 years, with 85 percent ≥50 or older with established CVD or CKD (n=2695), and 15 percent ≥60 with CV risk factors only (n=488). The study’s primary endpoint was time to first major adverse cardiac event (MACE), including CV death, nonfatal myocardial infarction or non-fatal stroke. Nearly all participants (n=3172) completed the trial—99.7% in the semaglutide arm (n=1586) and 99.6% in the placebo arm (n=1586). The cardiovascular results were based on 137 MACEs over just under 16 months of follow-up.

“By eliminating the barrier of an injection, oral semaglutide has the potential for widespread use in the treatment of type 2 diabetes including in high-risk patients with cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease,” said lead investigator Mansoor Husain, MD, director of the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute; executive director of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research; and professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. “Although the number of events was somewhat small during this relatively short follow-up period, the participants randomized to receive oral semaglutide had about a 50% reduction in cardiovascular-related death and all-cause mortality.”

In addition to PIONEER 6, other trials within the PIONEER program have studied the effects of oral semaglutide, a tablet version of current glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist medication. These trials include oral semaglutide up to 14mg once daily as initial therapy of diabetes, in various combinations with oral or injected glucose-lowering agents, and compared to other medications (sitagliptin, empagliflozin and liraglutide) or placebo, and stratified to include populations with additional risk such as patients with chronic kidney disease and those at high risk for cardiovascular disease. The results have demonstrated that the efficacy, safety and tolerability of oral semaglutide is statistically significant. In the head-to-head trials with the oral glucose lowering agents tested, oral semaglutide was significantly better with regards to A1C reduction at the conclusion of the trial.

“Oral semaglutide is currently under review by the FDA, the EMA and Health Canada,” said chief investigator John Buse, MD, PhD, Verne S. Caviness Distinguished Professor, chief of the division of endocrinology, director of the NC Translational and Clinical Sciences Institute, and the executive associate dean of clinical research at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. “If approved, oral semaglutide will be the first oral formulation of a GLP-1 receptor agonist in a tablet. GLP-1 receptor agonists are arguably the most powerful class of glucose lowering drugs in the setting of type 2 diabetes and also are associated with weight loss and evidence of cardiovascular benefit. We hope that the availability of an oral formulation of a GLP-1 receptor agonist will increase the range of providers and patients who will feel comfortable with prescribing and taking GLP-1s.”

To speak with Dr. Husain or Dr. Buse, please contact the ADA Press Office on-site at San Francisco’s Moscone Convention Center on June 7-11, by phone at 415-978-3606 or by email at

The American Diabetes Association’s 79th Scientific Sessions, the world’s largest scientific meeting focused on diabetes research, prevention and care, is being held June 7-11, 2019, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California. Nearly 15,000 leading physicians, scientists, health care professionals and industry representatives from around the world have convened at the Scientific Sessions to unveil cutting-edge research, treatment recommendations and advances toward a cure for diabetes. During the five-day meeting, attendees receive exclusive access to more than 850 presentations and 2,000 original research presentations, participate in provocative and engaging exchanges with leading diabetes experts, and can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME) or Continuing Education (CE) credits for educational sessions. The program is grouped into eight thematic areas: Acute and Chronic Complications; Behavioral Medicine, Clinical Nutrition, Education and Exercise; Clinical Diabetes/Therapeutics; Epidemiology/Genetics; Immunology/Transplantation; Insulin Action/Molecular Metabolism; Integrated Physiology/Obesity; and Islet Biology/Insulin Secretion. Gretchen Youssef, MS, RDN, CDE, President of Health Care and Education, delivered her address, “It’s All About Access!,” on Saturday, June 8, and Louis H. Philipson, MD, PhD, FACP, President of Medicine and Science, delivered his lecture, “Precision Medicine—Addressing the Many Faces of Diabetes,” on Sunday, June 9. Join the Scientific Sessions conversation on social media using #ADA2019.

# # #

, About the American Diabetes Association

Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. Nearly 115 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For nearly 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).