On June 4, 2021, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Weggovy (semaglutide) as a weekly injection for chronic weight management in obese or overweight adults. People with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or higher and at least one weight-related condition like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol can now qualify for this new drug to lose weight.
How Does Semaglutide Work?
By mimicking the hormone GLP-1, semaglutide targets specific brain areas responsible for appetite regulation and food intake. For safe and effective administration, semaglutide has to be carefully introduced and gradually increased over 16 to 20 weeks. Eventually, patients take 2.4 mg of the medication once a week. The safety and efficacy of semaglutide were studied in four 68-week trials. During the trials, more than 2,600 patients received semaglutide while more than 1,500 patients received a placebo. In the largest study, patients who had received semaglutide lost a staggering 12.4% of their initial body weight compared to those who received a placebo. Semaglutide titrates up over 16-20 weeks, however at Majestic we use a more aggressive protocol and will titrate up faster while being safe because clinets see us every week.
Semaglutide Side Effects
Semaglutide’s most common side effects include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal distension
- Flatulence (gas buildup)
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
Patients undergoing the treatment are advised not to use other semaglutide-containing products, GLP-1 receptor agonists, or weight loss products like prescription, herbal, or over-the-counter drugs.
The Global Obesity Pandemic
WHO Global Health Observatory data from 2016 indicates that more than 1.9 billion adults in the world need to lose weight, and 650 million of that group are considered obese. Especially concerning is the rapid increase, with obesity tripling in just 31 years.
Although the spread of cases is slower than that caused by viruses (like the COVID-19 coronavirus), obesity has now been labeled a worldwide pandemic. In the USA alone, about 70% of American adults are obese or overweight.
Obesity causes serious health issues and has been linked to some of the world’s leading causes of death, including stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. It is also associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancer.
By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, including diet and exercise, and losing just 5% to 10% of their body weight, obese people can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and dramatically improve their quality of life.
With 2.4 mg of the medication safe and effective for a wide spectrum of patients, semaglutide has been touted as a game-changing drug that may finally turn around the concerning rise of obesity around the world. And with different brands now applying to have their semaglutide products FDA-approved, this medication may soon offer a real solution to people who are trying to lose weight.