"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

New diabetes drugs: Your best shot at weight reduction?

A weekly injection that produces dramatic weight reduction without serious uncomfortable side effects almost sounds too good to be true. But several drugs originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes will help people lose as much as 20 percent of their body weight, greater than other anti-obesity drugs. Known as incretin mimetics, additionally they improve blood pressure and levels of cholesterol.

Not surprisingly, these drugs are in high demand, especially semaglutide (for a listing of those drugs and their brand names, see “Anti-Diabetes and Anti-Obesity Drugs”). Due to this, certain formulations are lacking. That's just one in all the issues facing people hoping to take these drugs, that are expensive — about $1,000 to $1,500 a month — and never covered by Medicare for obesity (although some private Insurers cover them). Who is a great candidate for these drugs, and what else should people find out about them?

Anti-diabetic and anti-obesity drugs

The venomous lizard often known as the Gila Monster has the unique ability to take care of stable blood sugar levels even after not eating for long periods of time. The venom of this colourful creature inspired the event of exenatide (Byetta), the primary in a category of medicine often known as incretin mimetics.

Today, there are simpler drugs that mimic an incretin called GLP-1. These injectable drugs include dulaglutide (Trulicity), liraglutide (Victoza), and semaglutide (Ozempic); The latter can also be available as a pill called Rybelsus. Liraglutide and semaglutide are also marketed in approved formulations for weight reduction under the names Saxenda and Wegovy, respectively.

The latest addition to this drug family combines GLP-1 and one other incretin mimic, GIP. Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) was approved in May 2022 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and has been tagged for accelerated review for approval to treat obesity, expected sometime in 2023.

Overlapping risks

Other anti-obesity drugs help people lose only 5% to eight% of their body weight. But incretin mimics, that are much like hormones made naturally by the gut and brain, have multiple effects. They prime the pancreas to release insulin when blood sugar gets too high, slow stomach emptying, and goal brain receptors involved in curbing appetite.

The latest, terceptide and semaglutide, can result in significant weight reduction and also can lower HbA1c levels (a three-month average measurement of blood sugar) by as much as two percentage points. “Studies also show that semaglutide and liraglutide, an older drug, can reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke in people with obesity and diabetes,” says Dr. Upwin. . She adds that trials are currently underway to see if semaglutide reduces heart-related risks in people without diabetes who're chubby or obese.

Who can consider these drugs?

People with diabetes who're chubby are good candidates for semaglutide or tirzapatide, especially those at high risk for heart disease, says Dr. Upwin. For people without diabetes, the official criteria for prescribing the drug are the identical as for all other anti-obesity drugs: a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or a BMI of 27 or higher and at the very least one weight-related . A health problem, equivalent to hypertension or high cholesterol. (See the calculator at /bmi-calculator to estimate your BMI.)

Taking these drugs involves injecting yourself within the abdomen or thigh using a pen-like device with a tiny needle concerning the size of a human hair. Side effects equivalent to nausea, diarrhea, and constipation are common. But they rarely last every week or more, especially in the event you start low and increase the dose slowly under the guidance of an experienced physician, says Dr. Upwin.

If you stop taking the drugs, you might be prone to gain weight again. But it's much like in the event you're taking blood pressure medication and stop – your blood pressure will go up. “Obesity is a disease, and we need to treat it as one,” says Dr. Upwin.

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