Patients Maintaining Their Weight Loss After Quitting Anti-Obesity Meds

( — Excitement, fear, and hope swirl around all the discussion over the new weight-loss drugs. Some tout them as miraculous, while others denounce them as dangerous. As with many new drugs that are suddenly being prescribed to a lot of people, there is always new stories coming out about them., both anecdotal and scientifically researched. GLP-1 agonists like semaglutides, which include Ozempic and Wegovy, and liraglutides like Novo Nordisk’s Victoza and Saxenda are no exception.

While some weight loss doctors are clamoring to be allowed to prescribe these new drugs to minors, others are shouting that the medical community should slow down and study the long-term effects more before prescribing them to so many people. Some previous studies seemed to indicate that without continued use of these drugs, patients would gain all of their weight back. However, a study by Epic Research released on January 23 seems to show that only about 20% of patients regained weight in the year following ceasing use, while 26% regained a portion of the weight they had lost.

Surprisingly, the study also suggested that 1 in 3 patients continued to lose weight over a 12-month period after stopping use of the drugs. Epic says that their study does not contradict the previous studies, but rather that their study is more nuanced and could be showing a clearer picture of the effects of the GLP-1 medications. Their study included nearly 40,000 patients from 236 different health systems and included patients who were prescribed these medications for diabetes as well as patients who were prescribed them solely for weight loss.

As with all medications and weight loss plans more generally, the long-term outcomes will take time to be fully understood. There has been concern rising about the GLP-1 agonists due to lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly claiming that the companies downplayed the risks of side effects like stomach paralysis and intestinal paralysis or obstruction. In contrast, there are also consumer complaints that the medications are too expensive, with several of the medications experiencing price hikes of up to 4.5 percent, causing some of them to be over $1000 for a month’s supply.

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