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Dr. Sushil Rudra
Obesity: The drug to lose 15 kg in 15 months, the beginning of a ‘new era’
New drugs have proven to be able to suppress appetite.
A new drug has succeeded in drastically reducing obesity by suppressing appetite, scientists say.
By carrying out a large-scale trial at the international level, they have seen that many of the participants have succeeded in reducing their weight by an average of 15 kg in 15 months.
The trial involved about 2,000 people. They were given a once-weekly injection of the drug semaglutide, along with advice on diet and fitness.
They lost an average of 15kg in the 15-month trial and scientists say the trial results suggest the drug will usher in a ‘new era’ in the treatment of obesity.
Participating in the trial, Jan, from Kent, UK, lost 28kg in the test, which is a fifth of his body weight.
“This drug has changed my life and completely changed my approach to food,” he says.
He said he had previously tried to control his weight by dieting, which was “very difficult”, but his experience on the drug was completely different, as he had less appetite after taking it.
After the trial ended, Jan’s appetite returned to normal and she gained weight again.
Jan participated in the trial
After landing at the airport, Jan said it was impossible for him to fly this plane before he lost weight
She says: “It wasn’t hard to lose weight during the trial. Now I have to fight hunger all the time again.”
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Semaglutide is a familiar name to many who seek treatment for type-2 diabetes. But this weight loss trial used the drug at a higher dose.
This drug works by controlling the appetite process in the body. After a full meal, GLP1, a hormone is released in the body.
This medicine creates the feeling of that hormone in the body. As a result, the stomach always feels full.
Some of the trial participants were given the drug and some were given an injection of a liquid without the drug. All of them are given the same advice on diet and lifestyle changes.
The results of the trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It showed that people who took semaglutide lost an average of 15 kg. And those who were not given the drug, lost an average of 2.6 kg.
32% of those given the drug were able to lose a fifth of their weight. But less than 2 percent of those given the placebo saw no change in weight.
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A member of the research team, Professor Rachel Batterham of University College in Britain, told the BBC News website: “The amount of weight this drug has been able to successfully reduce. It will usher in a new era in the treatment of obesity.
So far, no treatment has been effective in reducing obesity other than controlling food intake through surgery on the digestive system.
He says losing weight can prevent complications from heart disease, diabetes and even covid-19.
The drug semaglutide is now being submitted to the drug regulatory authorities for approval.
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Professor Batterham says the drug will initially only be approved for use in specialist obesity clinics. It shall not be placed on the market for intended use.
This, he says, is because it has the potential for some side effects, such as nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation.
They will also conduct a five-year study to see if the weight loss from using the drug is sustained over the long term.
Professor Sir Stephen O’Rahilly, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, said: “The amount of weight loss achieved using this drug has been shown to be more effective than any currently licensed drug for reducing obesity.
Semaglutide is going to open a new horizon in future drug discovery for the treatment of obesity. Scientists can now set out to find similar weight-loss drugs that work equally well, but without the side effects.”
But nutritionist Dr. Duane Mellor says the potential for effective drugs to treat obesity is certainly good news for those with major problems.
“But we also need to remember that our lifestyle and diet are very important in keeping weight under control.
However, there are side effects and risks associated with medication and lifestyle changes. And so starting weight loss treatment on your own without consulting a health professional is important. It would not be wise to do so.”