My post yesterday on weight loss drugs had a lot of comments on social media. However, when I communicated more with people, they went silent. It seems they don’t understand some basics about these drugs or who is responsible for sharing the complete information. So here it goes.
1ne: These drugs should be used with diet and exercise. Wegovy’s label says, “The safety and efficacy of WEGOVY for chronic weight management (weight loss and maintenance) in conjunction with a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity were studied in three 68-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials and one 68-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo withdrawal trial.”
2wo: At higher does the majority of people taking these drugs experienced side effects. In clinical trials, 73% of adults taking the highest dose of Wegovy reported gastrointestinal issues. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation. People’s experiences taking Ozempic and its sister drug, Wegovy, can vary widely — from substantial weight loss and minimal discomfort on one end of the spectrum to extreme effects on the other.
3hree: Patients who stop taking the drugs often regain the weight. Like many drugs, the effects of semaglutide stop when patients go off of it, so some people regain their weight. Experts said they consider Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong medications.
4our: We need to find out the possible side effects of long-term usage. As the drugs become more popular, drug companies will be required to report adverse side effects to the FDA, but long-term use will take time.
5ive: Most insurers will not cover these drugs unless you have type 2 diabetes or are pre-diabetic. These drugs can cost $1000 out-of-pocket per month.
6ix: People say the popular weight-loss drug semaglutide makes it hard to stomach their favorite foods. Patients anticipated semaglutide would decrease their appetite, but it seems to have hijacked their taste buds in some cases.
7even: According to the CDC, the number one cause of obesity is caused by overeating and moving too little. These drugs treat the condition and do nothing to change the behavior of obesity.
Essentially patients have to determine if the risks of side effects are worth using the drug for life. Is it the end of obesity? Hardly. Until our healthcare system, including insurers and employers, communicate the dangers of obesity to people, we will continue to be an obese society. Different approaches need to be explored, from company reimbursements for using health clubs to lower health insurance premiums for patients who lose weight. I would also like to see mandatory meetings with a nutritionist as part of the program.
The bottom line: These drugs work at the highest dosages and come with side effects. Go ahead if you’re willing to take a chance and have the money. Do your research first and work closely with your doctor on usage and possible side-effects.