April 24, 2024

It seems like there is always a need for safe and efficient weight loss treatments. However, more than a year after receiving FDA clearance in 2021, semaglutide, the newest anti-obesity drug, is still generating headlines.

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Initially intended exclusively as a diabetic treatment, the injectable medicine is the first since Saxenda (2014) to be licensed for the treatment of chronic weight control in the 70% of adult Americans who are obese or overweight. Semaglutide injections are an excellent weight-loss method, according to ongoing research. It also emphasizes how important it is to treat obesity as a chronic metabolic disease rather than putting people’s health in the hands of willpower and lifestyle modifications. Semaglutide is not a magic medication, though. And not everybody should use it.

The UCLA Weight Management Program’s associate director and physician nutritionist Vijaya Surampudi, MD, states, “It is important to remember that obesity is heterogeneous, chronic, and complex.” “Obesity has no known treatment. It needs individualized care that lasts a lifetime.

What you should know about semaglutide is as follows:

Describe semaglutide.

Semaglutide is a member of a group of drugs called GLP-1 agonists, or glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. It functions similarly to the GLP-1 hormone, which the stomach releases after eating.

GLP-1 has a function that includes encouraging the body to create more insulin, which lowers blood sugar (glucose). Because of this, doctors have been treating Type 2 diabetes with semaglutide for more than 15 years.

Higher doses of GLP-1, however, also affect the brain regions that control hunger and let you know when you’re full. For those who are obese or overweight, it can result in considerable weight loss when combined with diet and exercise, as well as a decreased risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

Injections of semaglutide for weight reduction

Semaglutide is currently solely authorized for use in weight reduction under the Wegovy brand. Subcutaneous (under the skin) self-injections of 2.4 milligrams are the usual weekly dosage for weight reduction.

But medical experts are coming up with strategies to control the demand as interest in semaglutide for weight reduction keeps rising. Many prescribe off-label (using a medicine that is FDA-approved for a different cause) other brands of semaglutide, such Ozempic and Rybelsus.

According to Dr. Surampudi, “many people use semaglutide off-label to help manage weight.” “There is currently a shortage for people who need this medication to help manage their diabetes because the demand has grown so high.”

How well does semaglutide work in non-diabetics to help them lose weight?

Numerous anti-obesity drugs have been developed that aid in appetite suppression and weight loss. Semaglutide, however, operates at a higher level.

In a preliminary trial including 2,000 obese adults, those who used semaglutide in addition to a diet and exercise regimen were compared to those who made the same lifestyle adjustments without taking semaglutide. Almost a third of the semaglutide-using participants dropped 20% of their body weight after 68 weeks, while half of them lost 15%. Individuals who just made lifestyle adjustments had a 2.4% weight loss.

Since then, more research has produced findings that are comparable. However, they have also shown that when people stop taking semaglutide, they usually gain back the weight they lost.

“Dietary and exercise modifications will always be the cornerstones of managing obesity,” said Dr. Surampudi. In addition, anti-obesity drugs are a useful tool that can be used based on an individual’s clinical background.