Semaglutide: Trading weight for joy – the hidden cost of a skinny drug

The diabetes medication semaglutide, which has gained popularity as a weight loss drug, has its downsides, according to Jens Juul Holst, a researcher who worked on its development. In an interview with Wired, Holst explained that semaglutide, sold under brand names such as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus, can have life-altering effects. The drug mimics the hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which reduces appetite and the pleasure of eating. This means that for individuals who enjoy food, taking GLP-1 drugs can take away that pleasure and craving for food. Holst warned that after being on semaglutide for a year or two, life can become miserably boring without the enjoyment of eating, causing some people to go back to their old lifestyle.

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Holst’s perspective on semaglutide is not entirely positive, and he highlighted the challenge of keeping people on GLP-1 medications since their introduction to the market in 2005. The fact that people do not remain on these medications raises questions about their long-term effectiveness and sustainability.

While semaglutide-based drugs have gained immense popularity, the scientific understanding of their overall impact is still catching up. The fundamental question of whether these drugs lead to positive health outcomes beyond weight loss remains somewhat uncertain. Early indications show some improvement in blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, and other key health markers. However, further research is needed to determine if these results hold true in larger populations over an extended period. Additionally, potential long-term health risks associated with prolonged use of the drug are yet to be fully understood.

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The history of weight loss drugs reveals the need for caution. Previous attempts have often been withdrawn from the market due to significant health problems they caused instead of improving patients’ well-being. Whether semaglutide and similar drugs will prove to be exceptions remains to be seen. It is worth noting that even one of the creators of semaglutide expresses scepticism about a large portion of the population being on Wegovy (semaglutide) for the rest of their lives.

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In summary, while semaglutide has shown promise as a weight loss drug, there are concerns about its impact on the enjoyment of food and long-term sustainability. The scientific community still needs to gather more evidence to determine the drug’s overall health benefits and potential risks in a wider population. Caution and further research are warranted to fully understand the implications of semaglutide and similar medications.

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