Losing Weight With Drugs

in STEMGeeks4 days ago

It’s just a few days since the FDA approved a Danish medicine meant for weight loss. It’s called Wegovy and was originally a substance for treating diabetes. But it works miracles for weight loss.


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Image by Michal Jarmoluk from Pixabay

Wegovy requires you to use it once a week in form of an injection and it is meant for people with a BMI of more than 27 kg/m2 or higher. At the same time, the obese have to have at least one more problem with their health such as high blood pressure, type II diabetes, or high cholesterol. And for patients with a BMI of 30kg/m2 or higher, there is no requirement of an additional health problem. As it tends to be with weight-loss drugs, you still have to go on a low-calorie diet and increase your physical activity.

Obesity and being overweight is a problem mostly in industrialized countries. About 70 % of adult Americans are obese or overweight. Here in the Czech Republic, every second person is overweight, and every fourth suffers from obesity. And many health issues come with weighing too much that can cause you to die early. Things like cardiac diseases, strokes, diabetes, and increased risk of certain types of cancer.

Wegovy’s trick to success is replicating how the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP) functions. This hormone targets parts of the brain that regulate appetite and thus lower the amount of consumed food. And to reduce side-effects such as stomach problems the doses of the drug are being lowered over 16 – 20 weeks to just 2.4 mg per week.

Results of four studies performed on more than 2,600 patients and an additional 1500 who got the placebo tell us that this drug should finally work. And BTW – this is the first weight loss drug that was approved by the FDA since 2014. The only true problem with the drug is its price which is estimated to be around 1,300 USD per month.

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I'm always skeptic with all the things promising spectacular weight loss. But this one seems different to me: the fact that it targets curbing the appetite (and not magically burn fat) makes it much more credible. And I would imagine that it could also lead to better long term results: after 20 weeks of eating less, it might just become a new lifestyle, allowing the person to keep the lost weight off.