If you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve probably seen much coverage on using OzempicTM, a diabetes drug approved in 2017 by the FDA, and WegovyTM (with the same active ingredient), approved in 2022 for certain obese patients. These drugs, and others like MounjaroTM and RybelsusTM, have been in such high demand that we are experiencing the effects of production shortfalls. Notably, while Ozempic and Mounjaro are diabetes drugs, they can still be prescribed “off-label” by qualified physicians and clinicians.
Let’s discuss whether these drugs make sense for a patient concerned about heart disease, and in doing so, we will focus on the two drugs (both Semaglutides) that have garnered the most headlines – Ozempic and Wegovy. Ozempic has apparent positive effects on type-2 diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels through improved insulin sensitivity in type two diabetics. While taking the drug, most patients ate less and lost weight, leading the developer to seek FDA approval for a new higher-dose indication as a weight loss therapy – Wegovy was brought to market last year.
It is no surprise that obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. We consume more calories than we ever have in the past. Plus, the quality of what we eat has declined dramatically with the introduction of highly processed foods and the higher costs associated with fresh and organic produce. The result is that approximately a third of all American adults are obese, and about 2/3 of American adults are overweight.
When we think about excess weight, our first thought goes to overeating. While this may be true, all too often, we are not eating enough…of the good stuff. Instead, we usually consume empty calories like refined sugars, simple carbs like white bread and rice, and saturated fats that don’t offer much nutrition.