What to know about weight loss drugs

What to learn about weight reduction medicine

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The most important well being and vitamin story of 2023 was arguably the exploding recognition of prescription medicines to deal with weight problems, a power illness that impacts greater than 4 in 10 U.S. adults.

Well being & Vitamin Letter spoke to Richard D. Siegel, co-director of the Diabetes and Lipid Middle and a physician on the Weight and Wellness Middle at Tufts Medical Middle and an affiliate professor at Tufts College College of Drugs, to get knowledgeable info and recommendation on weight reduction medicine.

Well being & Vitamin Letter: Two medicines have grow to be widespread choices for the remedy of weight problems. What are these medicine?

Richard Siegel: Each Ozempic and Wegovy (that are made by the identical producer) comprise the lively ingredient semaglutide. Wegovy supplies the next dose. Each are delivered by self-injection.

Semaglutide mimics a naturally occurring hormone referred to as GLP-1 that’s launched within the intestine after we eat. GLP-1 prompts the physique to supply extra insulin and has actions within the urge for food pathway within the mind. The doses of those medicines are a lot greater than what the intestine makes naturally. They appear to scale back cravings and boring the need to eat.

In a trial revealed in 2021, adults with weight problems taking semaglutide misplaced a median of virtually 15 % of their physique weight in about one-and-a-half years. The placebo group misplaced a median of lower than two-and-a-half %. The one software we’ve that results in higher weight reduction is bariatric surgical procedure.

Are these medicine secure?

Ozempic has been used to deal with kind 2 diabetes since 2017, so we’ve quite a lot of information exhibiting this class of medication is secure, not less than at decrease doses.

The most typical unintended effects are nausea and constipation. This can be a results of the drug slowing down the digestive tract. There could also be some danger for a situation referred to as gastroparesis, which is sluggish abdomen emptying, however this appears to be very uncommon. The bundle insert additionally mentions danger of gallbladder or kidney issues, pancreatitis, elevated coronary heart fee, and, in sufferers with kind 2 diabetes, elevated danger of low blood sugar and adjustments in imaginative and prescient.

Lots of people are taking Wegovy and Ozempic now. Which means we’re gathering quite a lot of extra real-world details about unintended effects and security.

Do folks taking these medicine have to make way of life adjustments, too?

The best way I consider weight reduction medicines, basically, is as helpers to the approach to life change method. I like to recommend beginning with self-monitoring, dietary adjustments, and growing exercise. If that’s unsuccessful, we talk about including “helpers” like surgical procedure, meal alternative plans, and drugs.

You possibly can doubtless drop pounds on semaglutide medicines with out altering your weight-reduction plan and exercise behaviors, however these way of life adjustments will make the remedy simpler. Additionally, we do not know if weight reduction could have the identical well being advantages if one doesn’t change their behaviors.

Do you need to take it without end?

In a single trial of Wegovy, folks regained about two-thirds of the load misplaced inside a 12 months of stopping the drug. Way of life adjustments will help preserve weight reduction, however it’s uncommon to take care of all weight reduction when you cease any weight reduction treatment.

Who ought to think about taking these medicine?

Wegovy is accepted to be used by adults and kids aged 12 years and older with weight problems and adults who’re chubby and have weight-related medical issues like kind 2 diabetes, hypertension, and/or sleep apnea. It’s meant for use together with calorie discount and elevated bodily exercise. Ozempic just isn’t formally accepted for weight reduction, however many docs prescribe it anyway. This is called “off-label” prescribing and is completely authorized.

I really feel strongly that these medicines ought to solely be taken whereas working with a weight administration group or a registered dietitian.

Individuals trying to drop pounds ought to meet with their main care supplier or specialists at a weight reduction clinic and develop a personalised, complete plan for weight reduction and upkeep.

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Tufts College


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Q&A: What to learn about weight reduction medicine (2023, December 14)
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