This drug has allowed obese patients to lose up to 15% of their weight

Wegovy is an injectable drug that has allowed obese patients to lose an average of 15% of their body weight. If this treatment looks miraculous, uncertainties persist about its long-term effects.

Nearly one in two French people is overweight or obese according to a recent study coordinated by Inserm. A public health problem whose incidence is increasing alarmingly among young people. The management of obesity begins with a change in lifestyle to hopefully reduce weight by 10% and thus limit the appearance of complications. A difficult goal for some people to achieve, doctors can then suggest surgery or taking certain medications.

Wegovy has recently been authorized in Europe to treat obesity or overweight accompanied by health problems. It has provided impressive results in several clinical trials, allowing patients to lose around 15% of their weight after more than a year of treatment. But questions remain about the risks of using Wegovy over the long term. Is it a “miracle” injection to fight against obesity?

Wegovy contains semaglutide (dosed at 2.4 mg), the same molecule contained in Ozempic, an antidiabetic touted for its slimming properties on TikTok. It is also produced by the same manufacturer, Novo Nordisk. Semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, increases the feeling of satiety while decreasing food intake and cravings in treated patients.

Several clinical studies have been conducted to estimate the effectiveness of Wegovy. Objective: that participants lose at least 5% of their weight. According to studies, 67 to 86% of people with a BMI greater than 30 or between 27 and 30 with comorbidities have managed to lose at least 5% of their weight, with averages between 10 and 16%. The same result was obtained only for 30 to 40% of the participants placed under placebo. Most patients experienced mild side effects like headache, fatigue, nausea, and stomach pain. Rarer, but more serious side effects have also been identified: pancreatitis, gallstones, kidney problems, increased heart rate at rest or blurred vision, particularly in diabetics.

Uncertainties that persist despite the effectiveness of Wegovy

Despite these good results, uncertainties persist about the long-term effects of Wegovy. It has been tested for up to 68 weeks in clinical trials, and there is a lack of data on its longer-term effects. The consequences of stopping treatment on weight (some patients have regained the pounds lost) and comorbidities are still poorly understood.

The risk-benefit balance is still positive, which has led the European Medicines Agency to issue an MA to Wegovy. In France, the High Authority for Health has decided in favor of its reimbursement on prescription for people under 65 with severe obesity (BMI greater than 35) and who have not succeeded in losing weight with nutritional management. On the other hand, the reimbursement opinion is unfavorable for people with a BMI of less than 35. This opinion is valid for two years and will be updated with the publication of data from an ongoing clinical trial aimed at estimating the cardiovascular health of attendees.

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