A Google search for “Ozempic” or “Wegovy” for the name of a drug can land you on celebrity gossip websites as much as medical websites.
Comedian Amy Schumer, former basketball player Charles Barkley and reality TV star Sharon Osbourne are among those who have publicly admitted to trying the drug touted as a weight-loss magic bullet. Mr Elon Musk Twitter posthe said he used Wegovy and fasted to look “ripped”.
Ozempic, which lowers blood sugar levels, was developed for the treatment of diabetes.But the drug also causes significant weight loss, This led to the development of Wegovy, a drug approved to treat obesity and weight problems associated with health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
This drug has given me much better results than my previous weight loss drug. A study was published The New England Journal of Medicine shows an average weight loss of 15%. Tampa pediatrician Sarah Carju said she had used the drug to treat an obese teen who had struggled to put on weight despite years of counseling, diet and exercise. He said the patients had good results.
But the drug’s success has created demand that maker Novo Nordisk has been unable to keep up with, leading to a nationwide shortage. In Tampa Bay, some of Carju’s patients report being unable to find pharmacies that carry low doses of Wegoby, while others drive long distances to pick up their medication, Carju said. Ta.
And there are no common replacements. This is a problem because the drug is prescription only and is given in weekly injections in gradually increasing doses. Missing a single shot may result in having to start the treatment from the beginning.
Some of Carju’s patients have been forced to stop treatment and have regained weight as a result, he said. Carju has also suspended prescribing to new patients until at least September, when supply is expected to catch up with demand.
“So many people are interested in this drug that there is a nationwide shortage,” she says. “It created a dangerous situation affecting patient care. It slowed everything down.”
Both Wegovy and Ozempic work by tricking your body into feeling full. This is accomplished by an ingredient known as semaglutide. Semaglutide mimics the hormones the body produces. eating. The body responds by producing more insulin and lowering blood sugar levels.
Drugs using semaglutide have been around since the early 2000s, said Shauna Levy, an assistant professor in the Department of Minimally Invasive Surgery/Bariatric Surgery at Tulane University School of Medicine. But the latest iteration has produced results that threaten to completely change the way obesity is treated.
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About 90% of patients who took Wegovy lost at least 5% of their body weight over the course of a year, she said. Newer versions of these drugs, now in clinical trials, have reported weight loss of nearly 25%, similar to results from bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass.
“This is confusing the whole thing when it comes to obesity drugs,” Levy said at a recent webinar on the drug.
But at a cost of as much as $1,400 a month, it raises the question of who can use Wegovy. The drug is covered by some health insurance plans but not by Medicare, a government program that provides care to older people with high rates of obesity and diabetes.
The Moffitt Cancer Center is one group that has linked obesity to cancer and is advocating for Medicare coverage of the drug.
“Because obesity is associated with an increased risk of 13 types of cancer, Moffitt supports policies that provide the widest possible access for patients to strategies to treat and reduce obesity.” Moffitt’s federal legislative director, John DeMuro, said. “This includes behavioral interventions as well as anti-obesity medications prescribed by doctors.”
Levy hopes more insurers will pay for the drug as they realize that as patients age, expensive treatments for heart and liver problems will decline, and diabetes cases will decline. ing.
But for now, she’s grappling with a system that hasn’t yet come to terms with drugs. Her state’s Medicaid program covers bariatric surgery, but Wegovy does not. For nearly every patient she prescribes, she said, staff must call the insurance company to get pre-approval, even for those with private insurance.
“You can’t just give them what they want or need,” says Levy. “You have to give them something they can access, which sucks.”
Despite its popularity among celebrities and influencers, Wegovy is not approved for cosmetic weight loss. To receive a prescription, patients must have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or meet the medical criteria of a BMI of 27 with weight-related health concerns. For someone who is 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs over 200 pounds, her BMI averages around 30.
But it applies to broad segments of the US population. About 42% of Americans were obese in 2017. according to the data From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Their annual medical bills average him $1,861 more than those of a healthy weight.
Carju, a Tampa pediatrician, has been treating obese children for 20 years. An expert, she is often a last resort for parents whose children continue to gain weight despite years of medical attention.
She began prescribing Wegoby in February, shortly after the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for obese 12-year-olds.
She worries that more pediatricians aren’t aware of it or aren’t using it.Several 14.7 million children and adolescents About 20% of that age group will be considered obese in the three years to 2020, according to CDC data.
Some weight problems are caused by factors such as a sedentary lifestyle, stress, an unbalanced diet, and overconsumption of processed foods, she says. Some are due to real medical problems. These lead children to medical problems such as high blood pressure, pre-diabetes, type II diabetes, and put them at risk for things like heart disease.
“Too many children become sick adults and are unable to work,” she says. “Many people feel that there is no good treatment for childhood obesity.”
Carju emphasized that people need to take medications in conjunction with a healthier diet and exercise to lose weight. Patient blood tests are done monthly to check insulin levels and other health conditions. They are also monitored for side effects, particularly nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, and headache.
A 17-year-old boy from Tarpons Springs Cargiu who was treated by Wegovy was referred for thyroid problems when his pediatrician told his mother that she should consider bariatric surgery because “you can’t beat genetics.” I received
Since then, he’s lost almost 20 pounds (about 20 pounds) in three months, she said.
“We see children that doctors have given up on,” she says. “With diet, lifestyle, and the addition of this drug, we’re starting to see some positive results.”
The boy’s mother, April, said the drug had completely changed her son’s life. Her son has dropped two pant sizes. More than that, she said, it made it easier for him to stick to a plan of eating healthy and exercising up to 200 minutes a week. The Tampa Bay Times has not released her full name to keep her son’s medical condition confidential.
“Every time I stepped on the scale, I felt like I had failed again,” April said. “Now he’s getting consistent wins, and I think that helps. It gives him more control over his choices.”
April said she had to call six pharmacies to find one that had the drug in stock because of shortages. She hopes that as her son loses more weight, she may eventually be able to get off her medication. But she also said she doesn’t mind continuing to medicate him for the rest of her life if it keeps him healthy, and she doesn’t mind the medications he takes for his thyroid disease. Same with her attitude.
“People who aren’t struggling with their weight think it’s a matter of willpower,” she says.