Weight-Loss Drugs: Miracle Cure Or Troubling Trend?

There are still some important details to iron out before we know for sure. Weight-Loss Drugs: Miracle Cure Or Troubling Trend? Shutterstock

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Many folks who have struggled with their weight for years have wished for a simple drug that would help them shed those unwanted pounds. And with the proliferation of drugs like Ozempic (initially created to treat diabetes), their wishes appeared to be granted.

But like many things that seem too good to be true, there’s more to this story than meets the eye.

A brief overview

As it stands, this unique class of drug — collectively referred to as GLP-1 agonists — involves an injection that, for most people, inhibits appetite and leads to significant weight loss. The early results are impressive, to say the least, and many experts are optimistic that they can lessen the risk of heart failure and other serious obesity-related health problems.

But that doesn’t mean it’s the right option for everyone who wants to lose weight. Since the treatment is so new and doctors are frequently put in the position of trying to figure out whether a patient would make a good candidate or not.

The good, bad, and ugly

While the upside of such treatments is pretty obvious, there are some significant pitfalls to consider.

First of all, there’s the cost. These drugs aren’t cheap to begin with, and as demand continues to increase far beyond the supply, we can expect the price to continue to increase.

Then there’s insurance. Many providers have long covered certain weight-loss procedures and might cover GLP-1 agonists for diabetes, but we haven’t seen them extend that coverage to these drugs when used to treat obesity.

And it could be dangerous. Not only are some experts concerned that desperate patients will turn to potentially unsafe black-market alternatives to legitimate drugs, but we don’t yet know all of the possible side effects of using the real thing.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee January 20th, 2024
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