Story at a glance
- Overweight and obese American adults will have a new treatment option as FDA approves Wegovy.
- The drug is taken as an injection and targets the region of the brain that controls appetite.
- It is intended for obese or overweight adults with a related condition.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved a slew of new treatments for various public health ailments, including a drug for weight loss and management for the first time in seven years.
Officials gave the green light to the prescription drug semaglutide, under the brand name Wegovy, for adults struggling with obesity or being overweight who also have a second related condition, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol.
It is administered as an injection to patients with Body Mass indexes (BMIs) in the overweight or obese categories.
Wegovy was tested in clinical trials featuring a placebo. Participants who were given Wegovy lost an average of 12.4 percent of their initial body weight.
“Today’s approval offers adults with obesity or overweight a beneficial new treatment option to incorporate into a weight management program,” said John Sharretts, deputy director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “FDA remains committed to facilitating the development and approval of additional safe and effective therapies for adults with obesity or overweight.”
Roughly 70 percent of Americans are overweight or have obesity. There is a socioeconomic intersection with weight problems; Black Americans and Hispanic Americans are more likely to struggle with being overweight than their white counterparts.
Wegovy mimics a hormone called glucagon that works to target areas of the brain that control appetite. Dosage must be increased gradually over the course of 16 to 20 weeks to reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
It is also recommended to use Wegovy in conjunction with a diet and physical activity.