Semaglutide, the compound in the blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, dramatically reduced the risk of kidney complications, heart issues and death in people with Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease in a major clinical trial, the results of which were published Friday.

The findings could transform how doctors treat some of the sickest patients with chronic kidney disease, which affects more than 1 in 7 adults in the United States but has no cure.

"Those of us who really care about kidney patients spent our whole careers wanting something better," said Dr. Katherine Tuttle, a professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine and an author of the study. "And this is as good as it gets."

The research was presented at a European Renal Association meeting in Stockholm on Friday and simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The trial, funded by Ozempic-maker Novo Nordisk, was so successful that the company stopped it early.

Dr. Martin Holst Lange, Novo Nordisk's executive vice president of development, said the company would ask the Food and Drug Administration to update Ozempic's label to say it can also be used to reduce the progression of chronic kidney disease or complications in people with Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes is a leading cause of chronic kidney disease. In advanced stages, the kidneys are so damaged that they cannot properly filter blood, which can exacerbate high blood pressure and raise the risk of heart disease and stroke, said Dr. Subramaniam Pennathur, chief of the nephrology division at Michigan Medicine.

The study included 3,533 people with kidney disease and Type 2 diabetes, about half of whom took a weekly injection of semaglutide, and half of whom took a weekly placebo shot. Researchers followed up with participants after a median period of around 3 1/2 years and found that those who took semaglutide had a 24% lower likelihood of having a major kidney disease event, like losing at least half of their kidney function, or needing dialysis or a kidney transplant. People who received semaglutide were much less likely to die from cardiovascular issues, or from any cause at all, and had slower rates of kidney decline.

If the FDA approves the new use, it could drive even more demand for Ozempic, which has faced recurrent shortages.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.