Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, heart attack and congestive heart failure remain the number one killer worldwide. Rising obesity rates continue to be a major contributor to this sad statistic. A new class of drugs, peptides such as Semaglutide, sold as Ozempic and Wegovy, were developed as diabetic drugs but resulted in significant weight loss in most patients and are prescribed to non-diabetics. In fact, the madness is on and expensive placements are in short supply. If the drug is stopped, will the weight loss and associated benefits persist? New data published recently answered this important question.
To investigate changes in body weight and cardiometabolic risk factors after treatment cessation in a randomized weight loss trial using semaglutide or placebo.
Materials and methods
The STEP 1 study randomized 1961 overweight or obese non-diabetic adults to 68 weeks of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg (including 16 weeks of dose escalation) or placebo as an adjunct to lifestyle interventions.
At week 68, treatments (including lifestyle intervention) were discontinued.
A subset of participants was followed for a year after stopping the injections. This subset included all eligible participants from all sites in Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, as well as sites in the United States and Japan with the highest Main Stage recruitment.
The study included 327 participants who were followed up after stopping the injections. From week 0 to week 68, the mean weight loss with semaglutide was 17.3%. After stopping treatment, semaglutide and placebo participants each regained 11.6% of their lost weight by week 120, resulting in a final net loss of 5.6% in body weight from week 0 to week 120 in the study. About 75% of the weight was recovered.
The cardiometabolic improvements observed from week 0 to week 68 with semaglutide returned to baseline at week 120 for most variables after drug discontinuation, such as blood pressure and glycemic control.
One year after stopping once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide 2.4 mg and a lifestyle intervention, participants regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss, with similar changes in cardiometabolic variables.
These results confirm the chronicity of obesity and suggest that continued treatment is required to maintain improvements in weight and health.
There are some potentially serious side effects that can occur with these drugs, including pancreatitis, kidney failure, and medullary thyroid cancer. There is also a possibility of a risk of a developing fetus in a pregnant patient. Many patients experience nausea and even vomiting.
Overall, the diabetic patient who takes these drugs for diabetes therapy in the long term can do well and maintain their weight. Others, using it as a short-term crutch, need to focus on replacing previous lifestyles with better diet, exercise regimen, sleep hygiene, and an overall commitment to wellness.
Article courtesy of Dr. Joel Kahn, MD, clinical professor of medicine at Wayne State University School of Medicine, one of the world’s leading cardiologists, best-selling author, lecturer and leading expert on plant-based nutrition and holistic care.
About the Author: At his core, Dr. Joel Kahn that plant-based nutrition is the most effective source of preventative medicine on the planet. Having practiced traditional cardiology since 1983, it was only after his own commitment to a plant-based vegan diet that he really began to delve into the realm of non-traditional diagnostic tools, prevention tactics, and nutrition-based recovery protocols.
Like anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; Please speak to your doctor or GP before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide any medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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