The Truth Behind Prescription Drugs Promising Weight Loss: What You Need to Know

by Joshua Brown
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Obesity is becoming an increasingly frequent issue, both around the globe and specifically in the United States. According to medical professionals, over 40% of U.S adults and around 20% of children have it, making it a long-lasting problem that is difficult to treat.

Recently, the rates of this disease have increased a lot. This is because of the combination of genes that makes people more prone to gaining weight quickly, the cheap and easy access to unhealthy processed snacks, and lack of places that offer healthy food and activities in some communities.

Obesity causes tons of health risks that could cause you to get really sick or even die, like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and joint problems. Scientists have been looking for medicine that helps people lose weight but the results aren’t so good and sometimes it can be dangerous. In the last couple years though, there have been drugs created to help those with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels and end up reducing their weight in the process.

In 2017, Ozempic was an approved drug by Novo Nordisk to help people with diabetes. But recently because of videos posted on TikTok, it’s become popular to use the medicine for weight loss instead. Now there’s an even stronger version of it called Wegovy. It can be used for helping adults and kids age 12 and up lose weight.

Eli Lilly and Co. have created a new drug called tirzepatide, which could become the strongest obesity drug available on the market. People who take it can potentially lose more than 30-50 pounds over time. It is already being used to treat type 2 diabetes under the name Mounjaro, and now it’s being examined to be allowed for weight loss too. Recent trials showed positive results, and so far that has been announced on Thursday.

People with diabetes can lose up to 16% of their body weight (about 34 pounds) if they use the drug tirzepatide. Similarly, people without diabetes can lose almost 22% of their body weight (nearly 50 pounds) if they take the highest dose of the same drug.

Prescription medications like Tirzepatide can help people lose weight by targeting the causes that contribute to being overweight. Here’s a breakdown of these new drugs and how they work. WHAT ARE THESE NEW WEIGHT LOSS DRUGS?

These drugs, which often get attention in the media, are part of a special class called GLP-1 Medications. Two versions of this same drug exist: Ozempic and Wegovy and they’re called Semaglutide.

Tirzepatide is a medicine used to treat diabetes. It works by targeting a hormone called GLP-1, but also affects another hormone called GIP which makes the medicine more effective. The drug was approved in May 2022 and must be taken as an injection once per week. People using this drug are encouraged to eat healthily, reduce calorie intake and exercise regularly.

How Obesity Drugs Help Control Appetite and Promote Weight Loss

Special drugs work like hormones, which are chemicals that our bodies make mostly in the gut. Hormones help us manage sugar levels. They tell our pancreas to produce insulin, which helps control the amount of sugar that is released from our livers. People who are overweight or have obesity aren’t able to respond properly to insulin, though.

Obesity drugs work to reduce appetite by making people feel more full and satisfied. They do this by lowering blood sugar levels and slowing down digestion, as well as working on signals in the brain which control hunger. As a result of feeling fuller for longer periods of time, people naturally eat less, leading to weight loss.

Amazing Results With Tirzepatide

Adults who took Wegovy lost around 35 pounds, which is 15% of their body weight. Teenagers (adolescents) taking the same medicine saw about 16% of their body weight gone.

Recently, a science experiment was conducted on 900 people who were either overweight or obese and had diabetes. The study used the drug tirzepatide. People that received dosages of this drug lost up to 16% of their body weight which equaled 34 pounds! However, those who received dummy injections only lost 3% of their body weight, which is 7 pounds.

An earlier trial of tirzepatide showed that people lost body weight between 35 and 52 pounds, depending on the dose they took. The drugs are helpful over a few months and can make you lose weight while also improving health problems related to obesity like high blood sugar levels and heart or metabolic diseases.

However, if people who take the drugs stop, they’ll put the weight back on that they previously lost and the health issues will return.

Beat the Odds

Research shows that only one third of people in a weight-loss program which involves only eating less and exercising can successfully lose 5% or more body weight, according to Dr. Louis Aronne. It can be difficult to drop pounds due to the way our bodies respond when we eat less; hunger hormones kick in and act to keep our body mass from decreasing.

Tummy Troubles and More

You may have some short-term tummy problems like feeling sick, throwing up, being constipated or having an upset stomach when you take these medicines. But there could be worse issues too like inflammation of your pancreas, kidneys and gallbladder or bad eye problems. People with a certain type of thyroid cancer or genetic endocrine disorder shouldn’t take them because it’s still unknown if they make thyroid troubles (including cancer) worse.

“Unaffordable Weight Loss Medications

The two new drugs for reducing weight, Wegovy and Mounjaro, can be quite costly, costing around $1000-$1300 each month. For those with private insurance companies that are willing to provide coverage, you may have to pay just a small portion of the bill. Sadly, many insurance providers don’t offer these medications or have limits into how much they can cover. Medicare also doesn’t pay for these drugs in most cases. Medicaid and Tricare (a military insurer) might offer some help if you ask before buying the medication.

The Big Big News Health and Science Department has just been given some help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP will be responsible for all of the information we can get from this new support.

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