How did Ozempic and Wegovy become popular for weight loss?

Drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy that cause weight loss seem to be everywhere. and, lack of medicine Their explosive popularity has fueled further speculation as to who might be getting them.

these types of drugs — Semaglutide sold under the brand names Ozempic and Ozempic Wegobyalong with tirzepatide marketed as Munjaro, and liraglutide known as Saxenda — all work the same. And they’re very effective: One doctor told his CBS News that these drugs can help people lose about 15% of their body weight.

Struggling with Weight — 73.6% of US Adults Age 20+ is considered Overweight or obese, it may seem like a miracle drug. Here’s what doctors have to say about them:

Who are they for and how do they work?

The drug semaglutide works by mimicking an intestinal hormone called GLP1 (glucagon-like peptide hormone), and “improves the action of the intestinal hormone to enhance communication between the gut and the brain, leading to a feeling of satiety. It also helps reduce appetite,” says Dr. Amanda Velázquez, of the Cedars-Sinai Center for Weight Management and Metabolic Health in Los Angeles. “Overall, you’re telling your body that the lower settings are fine.”

Ozempic and Mounjaro, which have slightly different mechanisms, are FDA-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and Saxenda and Wegovy are FDA-approved for weight loss. Also, insurance companies usually look for certain criteria before approving payment for these drugs.

Velasquez said he will prescribe these drugs to patients with a BMI of 27 to 30 and classified as obese, as well as those with weight-related medical conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.

Alternatively, patients with a BMI of 30 or higher who are classified as obese would be eligible for weight-loss drugs, she said.

However, these drugs may have side effects such as nausea and constipation. Some speculate that these are factors in weight loss, but Velázquez said, “That’s not what this drug is about.”

“The goal is to keep someone from eating,” she told CBS News. It’s about being able to feel.

Velasquez says patients should practice a healthy lifestyle in combination with the medication.

Holly Lofton, M.D., an obesity medicine specialist at NYU Langone, said she prescribes these drugs to people who aren’t technically obese or overweight. Overweight or obese – a practice known as off-label prescribing.

“We still track patients and make sure they have a lifestyle plan and follow up,” she said. I’m not telling you to do your best.”

Lofton said he wouldn’t give Ozempic or Wegovy patients with a normal BMI. But in addition to BMI, she also considered factors such as race and comorbidities.

“Suppose you have a patient of Asian descent who has a BMI of 25, and whose BMI is technically overweight for an Asian patient, and who has a fatty liver. You may have comorbidities, even if they aren’t listed,” she said.

Lofton said he wouldn’t prescribe these drugs to anyone with a history of thyroid cancer or pancreatitis — studies found they may increase the risk of thyroid cancer in rodents. thyroid cancer.

Velázquez said it was not yet known how the drug would affect people who are not considered overweight or obese.

How effective are they?

Velázquez said the main driver of demand is that these drugs are highly effective. “That’s what really gets attention and interest,” she said. “Providers are more interested in trying this because they are seeing significant changes in their patients’ health. There is more demand because they can see the benefits.”

Dr. Alex Foxman of Achive Health and Weight Loss, a Beverly Hills medical institution that specializes in weight loss programs, has seen firsthand how effective these drugs are.

“I’m 51. A year ago I was 190 pounds. This puts me on a BMI of 27. This is just overweight.”Diet and exercise. “I took semaglutide a year ago and in three and a half months she lost 30 pounds.”

“It was probably one of the most effective and amazing experiences as a doctor or as a person,” he said. “It reduced my appetite. I felt full faster.” There are some side effects, but overall, I’ve maintained a healthy program, kept exercising, and kept at it, and I’ve been able to maintain my weight for seven months.”

Foxman said that because obesity is a vanity problem rather than just a medical problem, people may turn to these drugs for a “quick solution.” No,” he said. “These drugs are tools, and in order for them to be successful they need to be used as tools alongside other programs and services that are medically supervised.”

As an expert in obesity medicine, Velázquez prescribes these drugs “every day.”

Velázquez doesn’t think patients have to “prove” themselves by trying to diet or exercise before being prescribed a weight-loss drug. If is out of control, you can’t have proof that you’re cutting carbs before administering the medication.”

What about patients who are neither obese nor diabetic?

Foxman said doctors, including himself, sometimes do what’s known as off-label prescribing.

“The majority of patients who come to us today are not considered morbidly obese or obese. Many of them are not diabetic. I need to,” Foxman told CBS News.

According to Foxman, diabetics are more likely to get insurance approval to get Ozempic. “But we talk very openly about people who don’t qualify for it. We explain to them that we don’t lie or deceive insurance companies or medical insurers about their health, so if they’re not diabetic, we’re not going to do it.” , so it writes, and if it’s not approved, it will cost you $1,300 or $1,000 a month for the drug.”

Why are these drugs in short supply?

The high demand for these drugs, combined with some doctors prescribing them off label, probably contributes to another rumour. shortage.

Velazquez said he had anecdotally heard that some doctors were prescribing the drug to patients who weren’t qualified but could afford it without insurance.

“Nevertheless, I think there are multiple factors as to why the demand is so high,” she said. Maybe not, but that’s a minority of patients.”

The same pharmaceutical company makes Ozempic and Wegovy, but Ozempic is approved for diabetes and can help you lose weight, while Wegovy has a higher dose and is only approved for weight loss. When Wegovy’s shortages began, providers began prescribing him Ozempic, Lofton said.

But, according to Velázquez, supply chain issues have played a role as well as popularity. “Demand has exceeded expectations these pharmaceutical companies could have imagined.”

Obesity affects about 40% of Americans, and diabetes affects about 11%, Lofton said. “It really isn’t fair to say that obese people are stealing these drugs from people with diabetes.”

She said people looking for these drugs should do so from a doctor.Not a medical spa or hair salon, as she heard. , and the two should be prescribed by a physician who believes the side effects can be treated.”

Still, there are things to consider before asking your doctor about a prescription.

Foxman said these drugs are very powerful and that patient use must be monitored by a doctor. “They are prescribing without considering filling out the right forms. I think doctors are reprimanded and stripped of their licenses, or they lose their licenses. Be careful.”

“Patients who think they can just inject themselves and do well are going to fail,” he said.

A representative for Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, said in a statement to CBS News that some healthcare providers may be prescribing Ozempic to patients looking to lose weight. The company said it was aware of it.

“Novo Nordisk does not promote, suggest or encourage off-label use of our medicines and is committed to full compliance with all applicable US laws and regulations in promoting our products. “We believe that health care providers assess a patient’s individual needs and determine the appropriate medication for that particular patient.”

When will the shortage be resolved?

A representative for Novo Nordisk told CBS News on Thursday that the company is “on track to have all Wegovy dosage strengths available by the end of the year, with a broader commercial relaunch expected to begin next year. ‘ said.

They are asking health care providers to refrain from admitting new patients to Wegovy until it is confirmed to be widely available in pharmacies.

As for Ozempic, Novo Nordisk said several dosages are available. Supply chain disruptions impacting Ozempic’s 0.25 mg and 0.5 mg doses are still “due to an incredible combination of demand coupled with overall global supply constraints,” however, Ozempic’s 1 mg. and 2 mg doses are now available for patients across the United States.

Products will continue to be manufactured and shipped, but there will be delays for patients in some parts of the country. Novo Nordisk advised that “people interested in continuing treatment should contact their healthcare provider.” How did Ozempic and Wegovy become popular for weight loss?

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