The Miracle Weight Loss Shot We’ve Been Waiting For
Eat better. Exercise more. Get your steps in. Create a caloric deficit.
Sometimes we don’t have the time or the mental fortitude to do the things we know we need to do to lose weight and get or stay fit. Especially as we age or experience major life changes. Have you ever just wished there was a shot you could get to help you lose weight? Well, have we got news for you!
Semaglutide is an injectable medication originally developed as a diabetes treatment. It was approved by the FDA in 2017 for diabetes treatment and is marketed under the name Ozempic. However, it is now being widely used for weight loss as well and is marketed as Wegovy for that treatment. Several large-scale studies have been conducted to analyze Semaglutide’s effectiveness for weight loss and the results have been overwhelmingly positive.
In fact, this study published in March 2021 in the New England Journal of Medicine showed an average of 14.9% overall body mass reduction! As of June 2021, Semaglutide was officially approved by the FDA for weight loss. The reason this medication works so well for both diabetes and weight loss is that it keeps food in the stomach longer by slowing gastric motility. It also stimulates a hormone called incretin that tells the brain that you feel full. Simply put, it makes you feel NOT hungry so that you eat less. Remember that caloric deficit thing?
What about side effects, you ask? Well, of course any drug comes with a risk of side effects and Semaglutide is no exception. However, they tend to be minor. The main side effect early on is nausea. It’s usually worse the day after the weekly injection, but it tends to improve over time. Most people know about it in advance, tolerate it well, and decide that it is worth it. Constipation can occur, but it also usually improves over time, too. Additionally, if you have a history of acid reflux you might find it gets a little worse, or that you can’t eat at night, which generally isn’t recommended during treatment anyway.
As for contraindications, they include patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN type 2), however, most patients know if they or their family has a history of that condition. Medullary thyroid cancer and pancreatitis are other contraindications and patients who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant are not approved for Semaglutide treatment.
Dr. Elizabeth Story, who has a practice in Fort Worth, has been prescribing Semaglutide for two years for weight loss as well as for patients with diabetes. She is very comfortable with the medication, including its side effect profile and contraindications. Dr. Story believes that Semaglutide is “an eloquently designed drug well-suited for weight loss success.”
Overall, Dr. Story has found Semaglutide to be very effective for her patients and very well tolerated. All dosages and protocols are individualized based on consultation between Dr. Story and her patients. Therefore, the titration of dosage is patient-dependent, but usually starts at .25 mg/week for 2 weeks, then moves up to .5mg/weeks for 3 weeks, and then (assuming patients are tolerating it well) moves up again to 1mg/week. If patients want a more aggressive approach to their weight loss and Dr. Story concurs upon consultation, patients can move up to 1.5 mg/week and then to 2mg/week.
You’re probably thinking, “That’s great! 14.9% weight loss is amazing, but how long does it take?”
Good question. Dr. Story’s answer is that it varies. “Some patients see great success as early as three months and some at six to nine months. It depends largely on the dose and the patient’s tolerance as well as budget considerations.”
It is important to note that this medication does not permanently change the patient’s hormones. When the injections stop, weight can creep back up as the patient’s “threshold for feeling full” returns to previous levels. Semaglutide as a treatment for weight loss requires ongoing application. However, not everyone stays on Semaglutide forever. Additionally, you’ll still want to apply the dietary and exercise recommendations we all know and love the best you can. That’s just good practice.
The program consists of monthly telehealth visits with either Dr. Story or her physician assistant, Mary Capstick. Baseline labs will need to be drawn within the first month of the program and once yearly thereafter.
For more information on availability and pricing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and information is also available on the website at https://elizabethstorymd.com/weight-loss .
***This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute direct, individualized medical advice.***