Urology pearls: Research surrounding the medication Semaglutide | News, Sports, Jobs

Shahar Madjar, MD

What if dropping pounds was as simple as taking a tablet? Or as senseless as taking a weekly injection?

Researchers had beforehand proven that Semaglutide–a drugs that has been marketed within the USA underneath the model names Ozempic and Wegovy–was efficient in sufferers with diabetes. Semaglutide improved their glycemic management (by lowering the extent of glucose of their blood) and helped them shed weight. A brand new examine was designed for a unique group of sufferers–overweight people with out diabetes. The outcomes of the examine have been printed within the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine and have hit the information with a BANG!

How does Semaglutide work? In quick: it improves the methods wherein sugar is processed in our physique. And in an extended, extra scientific language: It acts like a hormone known as glucagon-like-peptide-1. It will increase the secretion of insulin which is the first hormone that regulates the metabolism of sugar. This medicine is lengthy appearing, and so, without having for weight-reduction plan, one weekly dose could make you seem like 1,000,000 {dollars}, or can it?

The researchers recruited 1961 members. The members have been randomly assigned into two teams. One group acquired a weekly subcutaneous injection of Semaglutide whereas the opposite group was on placebo. Both teams acquired counseling relating to correct weight-reduction plan and train.

By week 68, the members who have been taking Semaglutide misplaced far more weight than these on placebo–15.3 kg (14.9% of their physique weight) vs. solely 2.6 kg (2.4% of their physique weight). And many extra members within the Semaglutide group misplaced greater than 5% of their beginning weight (86.4% of the members within the Semaglutide group vs. solely 31.5% within the placebo group.

The members within the Semaglutide group had larger enchancment of their danger components for coronary heart illness and stroke and larger enchancment of their bodily functioning and high quality of life.

The most important unwanted side effects have been nausea and diarrhea. These have been sometimes gentle, or average, and normally subsided with time. And but, these unwanted side effects have been extreme sufficient for 4.5% of the members within the Semaglutide group to cease taking the medicine.

These outcomes sound very encouraging. Especially if one considers that behavioral interventions for weight management, resembling weight-reduction plan and train, fail as a rule, and that bariatric surgical procedure (surgical procedure carried out for weight-loss) is invasive, carries substantial dangers, and infrequently leads to weight regaining. At the identical time, a better have a look at the historical past of weight-loss drugs would reveal a sequence of unlucky occasions the place preliminary enthusiasm was adopted by bitter realization and eventual disappointment. In some circumstances the popularity of great unwanted side effects had led to withdrawal from the market: Amphetamines resulted in dependancy; Fenfluramine was poisonous to the center; lorcaserin led to most cancers.

And some questions relating to Semaglutide stay unanswered. Will these optimistic outcomes maintain true in the true world? Will sufferers conform to weekly injections, and for a way lengthy? Will the weight-loss and different constructive results persist after the medicine is discontinued? And maybe most significantly, are there any unknown, long-term unwanted side effects related to the medicine?

And final, there may be the query of price to people and to society. On a well-liked web site evaluating the worth of medicines at totally different pharmacies, I discovered that the out-of-pocket weekly price, for a person with out medical health insurance, is $846.37. It interprets to $44,011.24 a 12 months. A bit prohibitive.

A easy calculation I made indicated that for a yearly price of Semaglutide, I might proceed my health middle membership, at $45 a month, for precisely 81.5 years. I instantly known as my health club. “Don’t you are concerned,” they mentioned, “your yearly plan might be robotically renewed.”

Editor’s observe: Dr. Shahar Madjar is a urologist at Aspirus and the creator of “Is Life Too Long? Essays about Life, Death and Other Trivial Matters.” Contact him at [email protected].

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