New drug provides local woman, TikTok influencers with strategy for weight loss

Published: Nov. 18, 2022 at 1:02 PM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - It’s the weight loss trend everyone is buzzing about, with TikTok influencers showing off their dramatic results. Celebrities and Hollywood A-listers -- and now, thousands here in the metro -- are flocking and asking their doctors for a prescription for a diabetes medication that is being used not to manage type-2 diabetes but to help shed pounds.

It goes by any number of drug names. Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy or Saxenda. So far, only two of the prescription injectables have received full FDA approval for chronic weight management:  Saxenda and Wegovy. In clinical trials, patients lost an average of 15% of their body weight. When recently asked about the secret to his fitter figure, billionaire Elon Musk tweeted “fasting and Wegovy.”

Real housewives producer Andy Cohen even tweeted “everyone is suddenly showing up 25 pounds lighter. What happens when they stop taking Ozempic?”

Maria Evans is an adult/gerontology nurse practitioner at KC Wellness Center on NW Vivion Road. She said this is not a fad.

“It’s been a game changer for us in our clinic.”

She explained that the active ingredient, semaglutide, mimics a hormone you produce in your digestive system. Evans says

“It does a few things, helps to release insulin in the body, also helps to slow gastric emptying so the food stays in the stomach a bit longer so creates this feeling of fullness.”       

Local patients call it a wonder weight loss drug though, many who try the injectables complain of sometimes intense side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and stomach bloating.

Health experts add that this new generation of weight loss drugs offers an added bonus: a lower BMI (body mass index) and comes with less joint pain, better sleep and help with high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels.

The thrill over this new treatment is tempered by one thing: the cost.  With the two brands that are already FDA approved for weight loss, insurance might cover much of the cost for you -- but, for those shots that are used off-label, meaning a use other than for diabetes, it was costing up to $1200 a month.  So, those pharmaceutical companies have a coupon running that offers it for about $30 a month. There’s no telling how long that offer will run -- especially as the demand continues to grow.