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May 2024

What You Need to Know About the Latest Weight-Loss Drugs

Celebrities tout them. Diet programs recommend them. You may even know several people who take them.

Behind the buzz, trendy weight-loss drugs have helped many people meet their goals and improve their health. But like any medicine, there are some risks. Here’s a closer look at these treatments.

What are the newest medicines being used for weight loss?

Currently, there are several prescription medicines approved for weight loss. Your healthcare team might also recommend others that were not approved for this purpose (but still have been shown to help).

There are 3 medicines making recent headlines. Wegovy and Zepbound have been approved for use as weight-loss medicines. The other, Ozempic, was first used to treat diabetes. Now, some providers prescribe it for weight loss, too.

Medicines like Wegovy, Zepbound, and Ozempic, work by causing food to move through your stomach more slowly. You may have less of an appetite and feel fuller sooner. For some people, this leads to weight loss.

What are the downsides?

For one thing, these medicines aren’t a quick fix. While most weight loss occurs within 6 months, you may have to stay on them for a while to keep it off.

These medicines can also drop your blood sugar too low, leaving you feeling weak. Other side effects may include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bowel obstructions, and stomach paralysis. Overdoses have become more common, leading to severe gastrointestinal effects.

Long-term problems might include pancreas disease. And some experts have raised concerns about muscle and bone loss, especially in older adults.

Are there other options?

Sometimes, healthy lifestyle changes such as changing eating habits and getting more exercise aren’t enough. You may need extra help to reach your weight goals.

If these medicines aren’t the right choice, others work in different ways. Or your provider might recommend a procedure such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery.

So how do I choose?

If you’re interested in weight loss, don’t just buy pills online. They might be unsafe or ineffective. Your first step should be talking with a trusted healthcare provider. They’re your partner in reaching health goals. Together, you can decide what will work best for your body and lifestyle.



Online Medical Reviewer: Brian McDonough, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals, MPH, BSN, RN
Date Last Reviewed: 3/1/2024
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