Watch CBS News

Doctors explain how Wegovy and Ozempic work

Doctors explain how Wegovy and Ozempic work
Doctors explain how Wegovy and Ozempic work | 60 Minutes 03:28

Anti-obesity drugs are growing in popularity in the United States as a greater number of Americans are being diagnosed with obesity than ever before. 

This week on 60 Minutes, correspondent Lesley Stahl reported on treatments for obesity that are often expensive and not always covered by health insurance.

Among the medications discussed in the report are Wegovy and Ozempic. The drugs are both made by the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and contain the active ingredient semaglutide. Other than their recommended dosage levels, the medications are the same. However, Novo Nordisk applied for approval for them from the Food and Drug Administration under different brand names to treat different conditions. Ozempic was first approved by the FDA as a type 2 diabetes medication in 2017. Wegovy was approved by the FDA as a chronic weight management treatment in 2021.

Both drugs are administered through an injection using a device that resembles an EpiPen. In the video above, Dr. Caroline Apovian, a weight management specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, who consults for Novo Nordisk, explains how the medications work. Dr. Apovian also noted that some of the side effects of semaglutide include nausea, vomiting, and constipation. A complete list of side effects for the drugs can be found online

While reporting this story, 60 Minutes learned that some patients have experienced challenges finding Wegovy and Ozempic despite being prescribed the medications by a physician. 

The weight loss and type 2 diabetes drugs facing shortages | 60 Minutes 01:54

In a statement, Novo Nordisk told 60 Minutes the intermittent shortages of Ozempic pens dosed at 0.25 mg and 0.5 mg were caused by "demand coupled with overall global supply constraints." The company said all doses of Wegovy are on track to be "broadly available at retail pharmacies across the country" in the beginning of 2023.

Novo Nordisk Statement to 60 Minutes

You can watch Lesley Stahl's full report on obesity below.

Promising new weight loss medication in short supply and often not covered by insurance | 60 Minutes 13:24
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.