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Beware: Ozempic and the other new weight-loss drugs have problems

Ozempic-3134459464The medical community and consumers are excited about the new injectable weight-loss drugs, such as Ozempic and Wegovy. The drugs suppress appetite and slow digestion.

Celebrities, including Orpha Winfrey, are taking the drugs.

Most doctors and health care providers like to have a pill or shot that will fix patients’ problems. It fits well with the typical 15-minute appointment that most health care providers are allotted.

Additional excitement about the drugs is scientists are exploring whether the drugs may be beneficial in treating chronic illnesses, such as heart disease and even addiction.

However, there are numerous problems with the drugs.

More healthy ways to lose weight

A big negative of the new weight-loss drugs is that there are more healthy ways to lose weight. For example, I recently switched to the Dr. Dean Ornish heart health program. It’s a plant-based diet that’s very low in fat. I took a nine-week online program and lost 20 pounds without even trying.

Fat clogs blood vessels, I learned, so a low-fat diet is better for your heart. In addition, fat makes fat, I tell my friends and relatives.

Ornish’s program is well researched. In addition, his latest research shows that it’s possible the low-fat diet also prevents Alzheimer’s disease by keeping the blood vessels in the brain from getting clogged.

I wish more people knew about this food plan that also includes exercise, meditation, and group support.

Americans eat too much meat, dairy, sugar, and salt. The promotion of meat, dairy, and sugar by their industries is widespread. The standard meal is meat, a starch, and a vegetable. The meat should be replaced with a high protein, plant-based item.

While the Mediterranean diet is a good first step, it doesn’t go far enough.

There are other diet and exercise plans that people have had success with that can be researched and tried before using the new injectable drugs.

Side effects of the drugs

Although the injectable weight-loss drugs reduce appetite by slowing how fast food is passed through the digestive system, there are questions about long-term safety.

Common side effects of the GLP-1 receptor agonists – nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation – can be significant, according to an article in USA Today. Nearly half of people with diabetes quit an earlier generation of the medications within a year, one study showed, and 70 percent within two years. 

These drugs are also linked to some risk of gastrointestinal side effects, including inflammation in the pancreas and obstructions of the digestive system.

Life-time use

Another big problem is that these drugs need to be used throughout life, like diabetes medications, or else the benefits are lost.

Much of the weight that people lose while using these drugs comes back when they stop taking them, according to a study. It found that people who took Wegovy regained two-thirds of the weight they had lost when they went off the drug.


The expensive drugs, at about $1,000 to $1,500 a month, need to be used throughout life to retain the benefits.

Most insurance plans will cover Wegovy prescriptions for chronic obesity.

However, it’s more difficult to get Ozempic or, for now, Mounjaro covered for obesity treatment without a diagnosis also for type 2 diabetes, because prescriptions for weight loss are considered off-label.

Medicare plans don’t include coverage for weight-loss drugs.

The takeaway? Research carefully before you start taking the new injectable weight-loss drugs.


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