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A weight-loss supplement flying off pharmacy shelves needs to be taken for life and most people will pile the pounds back on when they stop taking it, experts warn.
Semaglutide - sold under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic - has become so popular in recent years they are both facing shortages across the US, with celebrities like Elon Musk and Kim Kardashian reportedly using the drug to slim down.
The medications have been touted as wonder drugs after initial clinical trials showed users could drop 15 percent of their body weight in 68 weeks.
Yet many Americans may be surprised to learn that two-thirds of patients pile the pounds back on just months after coming off the drugs and most will need to keep taking the injections forever to keep their results.
Leading experts reccomend drugs like Wegovy and Contrave
The American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has recommended four drugs for use for weight loss in moderately overweight and obese adults.Doctors at the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) — a top group of clinicians — are now recommending Wegovy, Saxenda, Qsymia and Contrave for the patients.
Dr Christopher McGowan, a North Carolina-based weight loss expert, told DailyMail.com that using the drug for weight loss is a lifelong 'commitment' - making it a golden ticket for massive pharmaceutical companies looking to cash it on America's obesity crisis. © Provided by Daily Mail Ana McKenna (pictured) told DailyMail.com she plans to stop using Wegovy after reaching her weight loss target
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) drug that mimics the effects of the hormone that is naturally produced in a person's stomach and pancreas.
These hormones signal to the brain that it does not need to eat, reducing a person's appetite and reduces food cravings.
It also slows down the emptying of the stomach and increases the amount of insulin secreted by the pancreas.
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Everything you need to know about Wegovy - the 'game-changer' drug everyone's talking about
Ozempic was initially designed for diabetes but doctors began noticing it had the added benefit of weight-loss.
This spurred the creation of Wegovy, a version of the drug designed specifically for weight loss.
Dr McGowan told DailyMail.com that the drugs are identical, though.
Experts warn that rebounding is inevitable because the drug works by crudely blocking the production of hunger hormones.
It is taken via a weekly injection, with the dose gradually increased each month starting from 0.25mg and rising to 2.4mg by month five.
Most people access Wegovy via prescription and insurance will cover it in a majority of cases.
Some people who are not obese but attempt to use either drug will pay upwards of $1,000 out-of-pocket for it.
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Dr McGowan told DailyMail.com: 'Starting Wegovy is really a commitment to staying on it,' he said.
'As soon as you stop that medication your body will start trying to promote weight regain once again. It's a relentless process.
'It's very similar to how we treat other diseases like high blood pressure or high cholesterol. If you start a medication, if your cholesterol and your cholesterol improves, you don't stop the medication. You stay on it.'
A study by the University of Liverpool, in the UK, published in April found patients who used the weight loss 'game changer' drug dropped 18 percent of their body weight after using it for 68 weeks. But, after dropping the weekly injections, users would put back on two-thirds of the weight within the next year.
The study, published earlier this year in the journal Diabetes Obesity and Metabolism, followed 336 participants over two years.
'Game-changer' weight-loss drug Wegovy is making people repulsed by their favorite food and drinks
The groundbreaking weight-loss drug Wegovy is causing users to hate the taste of their favorite treats.
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Americans prescribed the once-a-week injection say they have become suddenly repulsed by coffee and certain candies and fast food.
Wegovy and its sister drug Ozempic, which both use the active drug semaglutide, work by replicating hormones that tell the brain it is full.
These hormones are meant to make a person feel full and reduce cravings. But for people like Staci Rice, 40, of Georgia, they have ruined some of their simple pleasures in life.
Ms Rice had been a daily coffee drinker since seventh grade before using Wegovy to lose 50 pounds in six months. Now she cannot keep a cup down.
She told Insider two of her past favorite treats, a fried-chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A and Kit-Kat bars have also become repulsive to her.
Of that group, 232 received weekly semaglutide injections - the base drug in both Ozempic and Wegovy.
The other 104 people who were part of the placebo group only lost around two percent of their weight over the 68-week period.
While the first half of the study shows the remarkable effectiveness of Wegovy, the latter stage worryingly showed that keeping the weight off could be a challenge.
Participants who were on Wegovy ditched the drug for the next year and continued life with just diet and exercise.
After 52 weeks, their weight was only six percent lower than where they had started.
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Not all users know that weight loss is not permanent, though.
Two women DailyMail.com spoke to that use the drug, Mandy Sasser Fitez and Ana McKenna, both said they had seen success with the drug but planned to drop it when they reach their target weight.
The drug comes with some other downsides as well.
Some women report being unable to palate their favorite foods like coffee and ground beef anymore.
Dr Ed Walker, chief scientist at Plant & Food Research, a New Zealand government-funded institution, told DailyMail.com it could be related to how the drug is taken.
Because injections are taken once a week, the body will have days where GLP-1 hormone levels are significantly spiked.
This is unnatural - the body only releases hormones as needed.
These side effects have not stopped the drugs momentum, though.
Wegovy is so popular that new patients are currently unable to start it as its manufacturer Novo Nordisk has been unable to keep up with demand.
This pushed many to turn towards Ozempic - which is just as effective - which is now facing a shortage as well.Read more
Diabetes Med Ozempic in Short Supply as Americans Use It for Weight Loss .
WEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Elon Musk swears by the weight-loss drug Wegovy, and Kim Kardashian is rumored to have used it to shed 16 pounds in three weeks to squeeze into a vintage gown once worn by Marylin Monroe. But the intense public demand for Wegovy has triggered a shortage of the diabetes version of the injectable medication, known as Ozempic. That's leaving patients with the blood sugar disease in a real bind. Made byWEDNESDAY, Dec. 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Elon Musk swears by the weight-loss drug Wegovy, and Kim Kardashian is rumored to have used it to shed 16 pounds in three weeks to squeeze into a vintage gown once worn by Marylin Monroe.