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FDA Approves Obesity Drug That Helps People Lose Weight by 15%



by Linda A. Johnson

FDA Approves Obesity Drug That Helps People Lose Weight by 15%

This image, provided by Novo Nordisk on Friday, June 4, 2021, shows a package of injectable pens for the company’s semaglutide drug called Wegovy. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said that this new version of a popular diabetes drug could be sold as a weight loss drug in the United States Credit: Novo Nordisk via AP

Regulators said Friday that a new version of a popular diabetes drug could be marketed as a weight loss drug in the United States

The Food and Drug Administration has approved Wegovy, a version with higher doses of the diabetes drug Novo Nordisk, semaglutide, for long-term weight management.

In company-funded studies, participants taking Wegovy had an average weight loss of 15%, about 34 pounds (15.3 kilograms). Participants lost weight steadily for 14 months before the plateau. In a comparison group that received fake photos, the average weight loss was about 2.5% or just under 6 pounds.

“With existing drugs, you’ll get maybe 5% to 10% weight loss, sometimes not even that,” said Dr. Harold Bays, medical director of the Research Center for Metabolism and Atherosclerosis in Louisville. Bays, who is also the chief scientific director of the Obesity Medicine Association, helped conduct research on the drug.

In the United States, more than 100 million adults – about 1 in 3 – are obese.

Losing as much as 5% of a person’s weight can bring health benefits such as improved energy, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol, but that amount often does not satisfy patients who are focused on weight loss, Bays said.

Bays said Wegovy appears to be far safer than earlier obesity drugs, which have “ignited” due to safety issues. The most common side effects with Wegovy are gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. These usually go away, but cause about 5% of study participants to stop taking it.

The drug carries a potential risk for a type of thyroid tumor, so it should not be taken by people with a personal or family history of certain thyroid and endocrine tumors. Wegovy also has a risk of depression and inflammation of the pancreas.

Wegovy (pronounced wee-GOH’-vee) is a synthesized version of the intestinal hormone that limits appetite. Patients inject it weekly under their skin. Like other weight loss medications, it should be used in conjunction with exercise, a healthy diet and other steps such as keeping a food diary.

The Danish company did not disclose the price of Wegovy, but said it would be similar to the price of its Saxenda, a daily weight loss drug injected that now typically costs more than $ 1,300 a month without insurance.

Dr. Archana Sadhu, head of the diabetes program at Houston Methodist Hospital, said Wegovy’s usefulness “depends on the cost.” She noted that patients’ health insurance plans sometimes do not cover weight loss treatment, putting expensive drugs out of reach.

FDA Approves Obesity Drug That Helps People Lose Weight by 15%

This image, provided by Novo Nordisk on Friday, June 4, 2021, shows an injectable pen for the company’s semaglutide drug, called Wegovy. On Friday, the Food and Drug Administration said that this new version of a popular diabetes drug could be sold as a weight loss drug in the United States Credit: Novo Nordisk via AP

Sadhu, who has no connection to Novo Nordisk, plans to replace Wegovy’s patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. This makes patients feel full earlier and increases the secretion of insulin from the pancreas to control blood sugar, she said. Then patients are more likely to be motivated to exercise and eat healthier, she added.

Wegovy is based on a trend in which manufacturers of relatively new diabetes drugs are testing them to treat other conditions common in diabetics. For example, Novo Nordisk’s popular diabetes drugs Jardiance and Victoza have already been approved to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and death in heart disease.

Philander Panel, 49, of Largo, Maryland, joined a study of patients after cycles of weight loss and weight recovery. She said she received Wegovy, trained several times a week and lost 65 pounds in 16 months.

“It helped curb my appetite and helped me feel full faster,” Panel said. Make me the right way.

Shortly after she completed the study and stopped receiving Wegovy, she regained about half her weight. Since then, she has lost much of it, started exercising and bought home exercise equipment. She is considering returning to Wegovy once he is approved.

Novo Nordisk is also developing a version of the pill.


The drug saxenda helps to lose weight, but you should also exercise


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Quote: FDA Approves Obesity Drug That Helps People Lose Weight by 15% (2021, June 4), extracted on June 5, 2021 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-fda -obesity-drug-people-weight.html

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