The Pros, Cons and Unknowns of Popular Weight-Loss Drugs

Troy Kalajian MDEditors note: In the news, celebrities like Oprah Winfrey are showing off trimmer figures attributed to weight-loss drugs. AAHPO member and medical weight loss expert Tro Kalayjian, MD:

“Many of my patients have come to me with questions about this new class of medications that are being used for both diabetes and weight loss. The new blockbusters are called Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro and seemingly every celebrity has tried it. Some with wild success and others have seemingly already gained the weight back. The question everyone should be asking is what are the benefits and what are the risks?”

Click here to read more from Dr. Kalayjian

Below, read a related article from Johns Hopkins University

Weight Loss

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Nearly 42% of American adults were obese from 2017 to 2020, up from roughly 30% in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With that rise in obesity comes an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Patients and their doctors are increasingly turning to in-demand drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy, but are they safe and effective? A recent episode of the Public Health on Call podcast explores the pros and cons with two Johns Hopkins University experts: gastroenterologist Sameer Khan of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and podcast host Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and communication engagement at the Bloomberg School of Public Health. Khan says the drugs work, but they are hard to find, expensive—around $700 a month without insurance for Wegovy which is prescribed for weight loss—and need to be taken forever to maintain weight loss and improve cardiovascular health when researchers don’t yet fully understand their long-term effects. Read on for three key takeaways from their conversation.


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