The demand quickly exceeded supply after the FDA approved once-weekly semaglutide injections. Semaglutide’s study results were enough to warrant plenty of hype for obesity treatment. The drug got a PR boost from Marc Andreessen, who called semaglutide a “silver bullet” and “miracle drug” for suppressing appetite. Unfortunately, the hype is going to exceed reality.
Twitter is filled with angry people who can’t get Wegovy due to product shortages. There are also several physicians chiming in with their concerns over the long-term use of the drug. Taking an injection is more accessible than getting exercise, but they should read the product label more carefully.
Wegovy can indeed help patients lose weight, but it requires that users adhere to a diet and exercise. How many people will use the drug thinking they can eat what they want and not get exercise?
One person on a message board complained that she had diarrhea all night after taking Wegovy. Another said he tried Wegovy and only lost a couple of pounds.
I reached out to some physicians to ask their opinion, and it varied. Some were happy for any product that would help patients lose weight others were worried about the long-term use of the drug. When I asked if patients understood that the drug was meant to be used with diet and exercise, the majority said “no.”
The potential for Wegovy in helping patients lose weight is exciting, but the more people who go on the drug, the higher the side effects are going to be. The medical community has been searching for the “holy grail” of weight loss for a long time when its always been right in front of us: diet and exercise.
Wegovy can be a blockbuster, but I am concerned about long-term use and patient outcomes. I wish Novartis were more forthcoming that this drug is not a miracle product and that it requires patients to stay on the drug and requires adherence to a diet with exercise.