The FDA has approved an obesity drug that can help people drop their weight by 15 percent.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new version of a well-known diabetes medicine that can also be used as a weight-loss drug. The drug, Wegovy, is a higher-dose version of Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug semaglutide. The FDA has approved the drug as a treatment for long-term weight management.
As a part of its process of approval, the company funded studies in which participants took Wegovy. Some had an average weight loss of 15 percent or 34 pounds. Others took the drug consistently for 14 months before plateauing. Most people lost on average six pounds.
“With existing drugs, you’re going to get maybe 5% to 10% weight reduction, sometimes not even that,” said Dr. Harold Bays, medical director of the Louisville Metabolic and Atherosclerosis Research Center. However, the drug does have a side effect; the drug could trigger the development of a thyroid tumor. Those who have a family history of thyroid and endocrine tumors should avoid taking the drug. Other more common side effects were gastrointestinal problems, including nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
More than one in three adults are obese. Bays says that just dropping 5 percent of one’s weight will result in health benefits, including more energy, lower blood pressure, blood sugar, and lower cholesterol levels.