The FDA has approved a new drug to help fight the obesity epidemic in America. Wegovy, already used to treat diabetes, is the first pharmaceutical for chronic weight management approved by the federal agency since 2014.
During a 16-month study, patients receiving weekly injections of Wegovy lost an average of 12.4% of their body weight compared to participants who received a placebo.
“It slows emptying of the stomach. It promotes the feeling of fullness (satiety) by acting on the brain, particularly at the level of the hypothalamus,” Dr. Aleem Kanji, an obesity medicine physician with Ethos Endocrinology in Houston told Healthline.
One trial participant who lost 63 pounds told CBS News, “I wasn’t hungry between meals, which was just unheard of for me. I was fuller quicker and cravings that I had disappeared.”
Reported side effects include gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness, but only 5% of participants dropped out of the study because of them.
Over 40% of Americans are obese. According to a CDC analysis, “medical costs for people who had obesity was $1,429 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight.”
Wegovy works by mimicking a hormone that suppresses hunger. “These hormones actually affect signals in the brain,” Dr. Domenica Rubino, the director of the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research told CBS News. “It really just doesn’t come down to willpower. It’s much more complicated. This physiology is very strong and it is not your fault.”