Some doctors are warning against using a type 2 diabetes drug for weight loss after it helped some patients shed a few pounds.
The diabetes treatment, sold under the name Ozempic, was approved by the FDA in 2017 to help lower blood sugar, but many patients prescribed the drug reported weight loss as a positive side effect. Fox 35 Orlando.
People with diabetes have expressed interest in using the drug for weight loss after reports of its benefits surfaced on the social media platform TikTok.
“You definitely reduce your appetite and you feel full all the time and you don’t crave sugar as much because it’s not high or low,” Dr. Richard Lehman, a sports orthopedic surgeon, told Fox 35.
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In 2021, the drug was approved by the FDA under the name Wegovy to help obese patients lose weight. Those seeking treatment had to have at least one weight-related BMI greater than 27 or a BMI greater than 30.
According to the FDA, the largest clinical trial showed that people who took Wegovy lost an average of 13 percent of their initial body weight.
The FDA’s findings have left people wanting a quick way to shed a few pounds, prompting doctors to prescribe the drug “off-label,” which means using it for something other than what it’s approved for.
“It’s as close to magical weight loss as we have,” said Lehman, who prescribed the drug to his athletes to help them shed a few pounds. you don’t eat and exercise, you have to follow the regime.”
Doctors warn that the benefits may be short-lived, especially if the patient has a poor diet, lack of exercise or lack of health education.
“They’re given something and they’re promised it’s going to work. And sometimes it does because they believe it. But what happens after the fact? You can’t do drugs for the rest of your life,” Florida said. Jeremy Avner, co-owner of Nuvia Medical Weight Loss Clinic in Lake Mary, IN.
The Avner clinic prescribes the drug to some of its patients.
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One patient, who remained anonymous, told Fox 35 that he gets injections once a week and has lost 20 pounds in eight weeks. According to him, he has never tried anything so effective.
“I have to buy new clothes and everyone is coming to my place of work saying how great I am,” she said.
Dr. Ben Kaplan, a primary care physician at Orlando Health who treats patients with diabetes and obesity, said the drug is designed to help high-risk patients with weight loss. He points out that this group isn’t for people looking to drop a pound here and there.
“Patients who take these drugs off-label for misuse, say recreationally, are doing so at their own risk,” Kaplan said, calling it a “buyer beware scenario.”
Other side effects include pancreatitis, gastrointestinal problems, and gallbladder problems, among others.
“I’m definitely in favor of sitting down with a dietitian, an exercise physiologist in patients who want to lose weight and doing the right thing. And if they fail that initial therapy, then you discuss medication. can help with weight loss,” Kaplan said.
If taken once or twice a week, the price of the injection can be in the middle 500 and 700 dollars per visit, According to Lehman.
After all, the price varies from clinic to clinic. Insurance can reduce costs for those who qualify for the drug.