• Drug cuts body weight by 20% among obese people

Researchers think they may have stumbled upon a “game changer” drug which can achieve weight loss effects in obese people that were hitherto only possible through surgical intervention.

The experimental treatment involves intravenously administering a weekly dose of a drug called semaglutide, typically used to treat Type 2 diabetes.

In a newly-published study, a group placed with the diabetes drug, semaglutide lost an average 14.9% of their body weight after 68 weeks of treatment, and some participants in the group losing as much as 20%.

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Early indications based on this study alone, are that the appetite suppressant drug is twice as effective as current generation weight loss medications on the market and approaches the efficacy of surgical intervention without being remotely as invasive.

“No other drug has come close to producing this level of weight loss – this really is a game-changer,” says obesity researcher Rachel Batterham from University College London.

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“For the first time, people can achieve through drugs what was only possible through weight-loss surgery.”

“While drugs like this may prove useful in the short term for obtaining rapid weight loss in severe obesity, they are not a magic bullet for preventing or treating less severe degrees of obesity,” cautions nutritionist Tom Sanders, at King’s College London.

However, at least one participant interviewed after the trial indicated that their weight had begun to creep back up in the absence of the appetite-suppressing drug. 

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Furthermore, there are concerns about the development of long-term dependency, as there are, as yet, no data from the aftermath, once treatment had ended. 

The US Food and Drug Administration, as well as its counterparts across the pond in Britain and Europe, are assessing the clinical data with a view to considering an application to market the drug as a treatment for obesity.


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