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The Doctors Discuss Game Changing Diet Drug Semaglutide

Diet Drug Semaglutide

It’s easy to see why weight loss medications often get a bad reputation. Both over-the-counter and prescription options have historically delivered disappointing results, often accompanied by unpleasing side effects. In some cases, these drugs have even proven to be dangerous, occasionally with fatal consequences. However, there’s a new player in the field – the diet drug Semaglutide, which has recently gained approval. Experts in obesity management are optimistic about Semaglutide. Unlike its predecessors, this drug shows promise in effectively aiding weight loss with a more favorable side effect profile. Is Semaglutide truly different from the rest? Those specializing in obesity treatment seem to think so.

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The FDA approved the diet drug Semaglutide in early June for the “chronic management of weight” among clinically obese adults. This is defined as having a BMI greater than 30. People who are overweight, with a BMI greater than 27, can also be eligible, as long as they have at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Diet Drug Semaglutide, which has been on the market for type 2 diabetes since 2017, is not entirely new. It’s a repurposed version of an older drug. The drug, administered as an injection once a week, is primarily used to lower blood sugar levels. However, a notable side effect of Semaglutide is weight loss, especially in patients who use the higher dose of 1 mg per week, as opposed to the 0.5-mg dose.

Wegovy, the weight loss brand, is now selling an even higher dose, 2.4mg, of semaglutide.

A third of those who took part in drug trials lost 20 percent their body weight

Novo Nordisk conducted several studies to determine the safety and effectiveness of the 2.4 mg dose before applying for FDA approval. In the largest study, a double-blind 68-week trial of almost 2,000 obese adults without diabetes, people who took semaglutide 2.4 mg weekly, in addition to participating a diet and exercising program, lost more weight than those taking placebo injections.

The semaglutide-treated half of the participants lost at least 15% of their bodyweight, and nearly one third of them were able lose 20%. The placebo group only lost about 2.4 per cent of its starting weight.

Jennifer L. Kirby M.D. Ph.D. is an associate professor at the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the University of Virginia Health System. She says, “The data are pretty impressive.” We have limited tools to treat obesity and overweight. “The addition of semaglutide to the arsenal is fantastic news.”

Why this drug is better than other Rx options

There are currently only a few FDA-approved drugs for weight loss. W. Timothy Garvey M.D. is the Butterworth Professor at University of Alabama at Birmingham, and director of UAB Diabetes Research Center. He says that none of these drugs work as well as semaglutide.

Garvey has conducted studies on semaglutide and other weight loss drugs.

Semaglutide is a medication that was initially used to treat type 2 diabetes. It mimics a hormone called GLP-1, which causes the body to produce insulin more after eating. This, in turn reduces blood glucose levels. These drugs can also cause weight loss as a side effect.

Most GLP-1 drugs cause modest weight loss — the average person loses 6 to 9 pounds. Semaglutide (Wegovy), 2.4 mg, is often used by those who lose more weight. If you start at 200 pounds, and the drug allows you to lose 15 percent of that weight, you will lose 30 pounds.

Semaglutide and the brain

Weight loss is possible because the drug suppresses appetite in the brain. Kirby, “diplomate” of American Board of Obesity Medicine, says that if you keep your appetite under control, you are more likely to choose less calorically-dense foods and eat less.

A very similar FDA-approved medication for weight loss is liraglutide, also known as Saxenda. It is manufactured by the same company and is also available under the brand name Victoza. Garvey states that, although both drugs are GLP-1s, the effectiveness of liraglutide (Saxenda) is only half as good as semaglutide’s 2.4mg dose.

Other prescription weight loss medications on the market that act on the central nervous system to suppress appetite (though by a different mechanism than GLP-1 drugs) include bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave) and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia). Orlistat, also known as Xenical (also sold over-the-counter as Alli), is the only FDA approved weight loss medication that does not suppress appetite. It works by decreasing fat absorption from food.

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Experts and published studies have concluded that Wegovy is the most effective drug.

It’s not a magic pill, but a “game changer”.

Garvey calls the approval of semaglutide as a weight loss drug a “game changer,” but he is quick to warn that it’s not a quick fix. It helps patients stick to a low-calorie diet, but it is not a miracle pill. “You still need to be aware of your lifestyle and maintain physical activity,” says he. It makes it easier for obese and overweight people to maintain the necessary diet and exercise for weight loss.

Garvey says, “It is not their fault.” The disease mechanism (obesity) makes them feel more hungry, so even if the person manages to lose weight they will usually gain it back.

Slowly increase your dose to avoid side effects

Kirby says that side effects are usually mild. However, many first-time users report experiencing nausea. Others may also experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or stomach pain. Semaglutide is prescribed at a low dose to avoid or minimize such problems.

Semaglutide comes with a warning that the drug has been linked to a rare thyroid cancer. However, this effect was only reported in animal studies (not human ones). Anyone with a past history of thyroid cancer, a rare form, should avoid taking the drug. People with a rare condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) should also avoid the drug.

Garvey cautions that adults of any age should consult with their doctor before beginning any weight loss program. This is because if you have osteoporosis or thinning of the bones, weight loss can worsen these problems.

The Current Price of the Drug is Bad News

The cost is likely the most significant downside for many people using the diet drug Semaglutide, known as Wegovy, as a weight loss aid. Medicare does not cover obesity medications, nor do most private health insurance policies. Kirby notes, “It is interesting that Medicare will cover bariatric surgeries.” Patients wishing to use a weight-loss drug such as diet drug Semaglutide will likely have to pay between $1,200 and $1,300 per month for the duration of their treatment, which could be lifelong.

Kirby and other obesity experts hope to change this by supporting the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act. She points out that the Act would require Medicare to cover medications for overweight and obesity, likely leading to better coverage in the commercial market for treatments like diet drug Semaglutide.

Kirby highlights that obesity and being overweight can exacerbate over 200 conditions, including joint diseases, heart diseases, and various cancers. “I work with overweight patients who have struggled for years. They’ve often been told to simply eat less and exercise more. However, these interventions alone yield modest results for the majority. The rest need additional help.”

For more guidance on taking the medication, REVO combines the power of Semaglutide with a holistic approach to wellness. Our unique mission is to guide and support you on your path to lasting health and wellness. At the core of our approach is the transformative potential of Semaglutide, complemented by a suite of services including IV therapy, advanced skincare, and expert permanent makeup. We are committed to providing a comprehensive wellness experience that not only assists in achieving weight loss goals but also rejuvenates overall well-being. Our mission is to help you look, feel, and live your best, inside and out.

Contact us to Schedule an Appointment.

Location: St Petersburg, FL 33701

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