Science

A new weight loss drug could be used to prevent obesity.

A drug called semaglutide has seen incredible results in trials to help people lose weight and might herald a new approach to treating chronic obesity – if it can overcome the challenges

Health



4 May 2022

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For as long as Kimrey Rhinehardt can remember, she has been trying to lose weight. The keto and paleo diets seemed to work… for a while. But when the weight came off, her emotional eating and sugar cravings ruined her efforts.

Rhinehardt’s battle to control her weight has been frustrating, but for the management consultant from Pittsboro, North Carolina, it is also dangerous. She has high cholesterol, asthma and a family history of breast cancer. Her weight raises the likelihood she will die from one of these risk factors.

Then, six months ago, a doctor prescribed her weekly injections of a new kind of medication, and everything changed. She lost more than 27 kilograms and her body mass index (BMI) dropped from 41 – considered severely obese – to 32, just over the threshold for obesity. The drug even changed her perspective on food. Rhinehardt isn’t interested in many of the unhealthy snacks she used to love. “Cravings for sugar and bread don’t exist any more,” she says.

This new drug, semaglutide, marketed as Wegovy in the US, was approved last year by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For Rhinehardt, it has been the boost she needed to finally lose the weight she has struggled with for decades. But for some in the medical profession, the hope is that the drug might revolutionise our fight against one of the most prevalent and lethal health problems in much of the world. Not only could it help treat obesity in people finding it hard to lose weight, but it might even be used to prevent the condition in the first place. …


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