Good Question: Why are people using diabetes medication to lose weight?
MINNEAPOLIS -- You may have seen videos on TikTok or heard celebrities talking about Ozempic or Wegovy. They're medications used to treat diabetes. And now, for a lot of users, to lose weight.
They've become so popular, some of the drugs are in short supply for those who really need them.
So, what are these medications, and why do they work? Good Question.
Dr. Iesha Galloway-Gilliam is the Medical Director of the Comprehensive Weight Management Center at Hennepin Healthcare.
She says semaglutide is the active ingredient in Wegovy and in Ozempic -- a drug that's only FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, but some are using it to lose weight.
"It tells our bodies, our pancreas to secrete more insulin. It helps our to stomachs remain fuller for longer," said Dr. Galloway-Gilliam.
Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said she was happy to hear WCCO was covering this story.
"Because there's been so much attention and a lot of people are using it as a quick fix," she said. "A fad-based approach is not the right way to use this medication."
Dr. Galloway-Gilliam says these are not miracle weight loss drugs.
So, how should it be used?
"It should be used under an overarching comprehensive plan for weight management," Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said. "The medications are used for tools, they're supporting actors."
So what happens when you stop taking it?
"When you stop taking it, the medication, the weight gain reoccurs. It's a long-term commitment, as in the rest of your life," Dr. Galloway-Gilliam said,
These drugs, and another one called Monjuaro that's up for FDA approval, are very expensive without insurance -- ringing up at a thousand dollars or more a month.
Not all insurance companies, including Medicare, cover weight loss drugs.
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