FDA-Approved Weight Loss Medication a Game Changer?
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The FDA has approved a new weight loss medication that is making headlines, but is this new drug finally a solution for the 70 percent of Americans who are overweight?
The weekly injection, which mimics a hormone that regulates appetite and food intake, is designed to help people feel full faster. During a 68-week study, 33 percent of participants lost over 20 percent of their body weight. The FDA says the injection needs to be used while also reducing calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
"I think it is going to be a game-changer," Dr. Sachar says, sharing it has been approved for anyone who is obese (which is defined as a BMI over 30). She says the hormone our body produces to inform us to stop eating when we are full only lasts for seconds, but the drug lasts an entire week. She says those who have a lower BMI, but are still considered overweight, and also have health issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, or fatty liver may also qualify. The medication has been approved for long-term use and could be used for the rest of someone's life.
Dr. Sachar notes, "There is no magic pill," and says patients using the injection also need to be motivated to eat healthy foods and incorporate more exercise into their life. The gastroenterologist has been using this medication in her practice and thus far has seen good results.
As for side effects and possible risks, nausea and gastrointestinal issues are the most common for this medication. Additionally, if your insurance does not cover this medication it could cost up to $1400 dollars a month.