If you haven’t heard about the latest weight loss pills, some might say you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months.
Use of Ozempic, Wegovy, Mounjaro and other similar drugs has exploded and demand for them is growing.
But are they safe? Are they the best choice?
According to Dr. Christopher Jones, yes and no. The pills are very powerful, so if you just want to lose those last 10 pounds to get into your bikini, you should probably try something else. However, if you are severely obese, have diabetes, or are at risk for diabetes and other deadly diseases, the medication has been shown to be effective for some people.
These drugs are indicated for both diabetes and weight loss, said Jones, medical director of diabetes care at Intermountain Health. They are powerful medicines and will work if you use them appropriately. If you’re trying to lower your blood sugar, they work and help people lose weight.
But these drugs all have side effects, and some of them are quite terrible, Jones said.
He said most side effects were related to the gastrointestinal tract. They can slow down the intestines and in some cases they can paralyze or freeze the intestines, which is really worrying.
Other side effects may include inflammation of the pancreas, intestinal obstruction (paralytic ileus), increased heart rate, and mental problems such as anxiety and suicidal thoughts. An increased risk of thyroid cancer has also been noted as a potential side effect.
We are also concerned about the financial implications of these drugs,” said Jones. They are very expensive and are also starting to drive up health insurance costs, so it’s really important to understand who will benefit the most from these drugs.
Because they are in high demand, shortages occur and many people are turning to synthetic forms of the drug. Jones says that’s never a good idea.
Compounded forms don’t have a clear history of their origin, he said, and there’s a lot of manipulation once they reach the pharmacy and are used by patients. All of those uncontrollable, uncertain things really put people at significantly higher risk of complications, so we advise people not to use those because the risks are there.
These drugs, also known as semaglutide, belong to the group of GLP-1 agonists. The mechanism of the drug slows down the process of moving food through the abdominal system. They also help reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
Jones said diabetes is on the rise across the country and these drugs are helping us keep people alive longer and that’s a positive thing. These drugs have given many people hope in life-changing ways, so I don’t want to say they are all bad. They have been a miracle to many people. We just need to make sure they’re reaching the right people for the right reasons. These drugs have also been shown to reduce heart attacks and strokes in people with diabetes.
Jones says it’s important to talk to your doctor if you’re considering taking one of the medications, and if you start it, make sure your doctor monitors your progress carefully, so that if any If any side effects occur, you can receive treatment immediately.
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