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The ‘game changer’ in the growing obesity to diabetes crisis

obesity

Obesity has become a major public health crisis, linked to multiple diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Its metabolic implications were evident during the coronavirus pandemic, placing people with obesity at greater risk of severe illness, hospitalization, and death.

Obesity to diabetes

A new weight-loss treatment is being heralded by some health experts as “groundbreaking,” and a potential “game-changer” in the growing epidemic of obesity.

Semaglutide, an injectable drug made by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, was approved Friday by the Food and Drug Administration, for patients struggling with chronic obesity.

“We don’t use those terms lightly,” Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine professor Dr. Robert F. Kushner, an obesity medicine specialist and trial investigator for the drug, told ABC News. “I’ve been involved in the field for 40 years. The reason we think that way, it results in the amount of weight loss of an average of 15% or more, which we have not seen before.”

Currently, 42.4% of all adults in the U.S. suffer from obesity, defined as having a body mass index at or above 30, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Today’s approval offers adults with obesity or overweight a beneficial new treatment option to incorporate into a weight management program,” John Sharretts, deputy director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a statement.

Semaglutide was approved in 2019 by the FDA to treat Type 2 diabetes, sold under the brand name Ozempic, albeit at a lower dose. At the higher dose of 2.4 mg, the drug acts on centers in the brain to reduce appetite, leading to potentially significant weight loss when combined with increased physical activity, and counseling sessions with nutritionists to maintain a reduced-calorie diet.

Obesity to diabetes and BMI

The drug targets patients with a BMI over 30, or a BMI over 27 with at least one weight-related comorbidity.

Ozempic® is an injectable, noninsulin medicine used:

  • Along with staying active and eating healthy, to improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.
  • To reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.
  • A once-weekly medicine for adults with type 2 diabetes used to improve blood sugar, along with diet and exercise, and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.

While Ozempic® Is Not for Weight Loss, You May Also Lose Some Weight

Ozempic® is not a weight-loss drug. It is a medicine for adults with type 2 diabetes that, along with staying active and eating healthy, may improve blood sugar.

  • People who weighed an average of 198 pounds and took the 0.5 mg dose of Ozempic®, on average, lost 9 pounds.
  • People who weighed an average of 197 pounds and took the 100 mg dose of the leading branded pill, on average, lost 4 pounds.

The research - obesity to diabetes

For 68 weeks, participants injected themselves weekly with either semaglutide or a placebo. On average, over half of those who received the drug itself lost nearly 15% of their body weight, and over a third achieved a weight loss of at least 20% of their weight.

Update Jan-2022

The Israel Health Ministry announced it would expand its so-called subsidized “drug basket” that allows Israelis to pay for medicine and health technologies.

A committee submitted a list of 135 recommended medications and treatments for 2022, worth $175.5 million.

New subsidized medications include artificial pancreases for children with diabetes, genetic testing for rare diseases, fertility preservation for women with diminished ovarian reserve, treatments for multiple sclerosis, prostheses for amputees, transportation funding for children in need of dialysis, cochlear implants, treatments for transgender people, including voice therapy valued at $638 million, and more.

Fifteen new treatments were added this year for patients with cancer, lung, and gastrointestinal cancer, making up 20% of the allocated budget.
 
Nevertheless, several crucial treatments and medications did not make the list, such as Darzalex, which treats multiple myeloma (cancer of plasma cells), diabetes medications  ( Obesity to diabetes) Ozempic, and Rybelsus, which were omitted in part due to concerns of their misuse as these are also sold for weight loss purposes.
ozempic

I’m diabetic and take 1g of metformin twice a day. I started on Ozempic in late November or early December last year and have lost 2.5 stone - so nice n steady. My HBA1C was 79, and is now 29!!! I’m taking random blood sugars during the day after meals and I’m now between 5 and 6 mmol/l.

Nicole

ozempic

For the first 5 months on Ozempic, I've lost 14 kg but for the past few weeks I have not noticed any weight loss... maybe because I am not active as I should or not comply with the diet as much. It does defo work and bring results but some people suffer from side effects

Patrycja

ozempic - Obesity to diabetes

I'm just on my second injection today, so the first week was completed, had a bit of a sickie feeling the first couple of days, and some constipation, but Dulcolax has helped me with that issue, 6lbs loss, delighted, roll on week 2, good luck

Jesse

ozempic - Obesity to diabetes

I started Ozempic just under a year ago, having been on Saxenda, losing only 10 pounds on Sax before the effects wore off and I regained weight, plus more, going up to my heaviest 15st 1 lb. It’s been slow. In the first 6 months on Ozempic I lost about 16 pounds and then weight loss stopped. I kept on it and have found my appetite and mental relationship with food have changed and I gradually lost more. I’m now 12th 11lbs. I have around another stone at least to lose. Keep with it, for some of us, the process is slower. I’ve had no side effects.

Monica

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