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New weight loss drug could drastically change how doctors treat obesity

The FDA is expected to make a decision on the drug called Semaglutide next month, according to reports.

HOUSTON — A new obesity drug is showing promise as users lose a significant amount of weight, but experts hope it can actually shift how medical professionals treat overweight patients.

Let’s connect the dots.

Semaglutide trials significant weight loss

The FDA is expected to make a decision on the drug called Semaglutide sometime next month, according to the New York Times. 

In the clinical trials, patients on average reported 15 percent weight loss and at least a third reported losing 20 percent. That is similar to what you lose with lap-band bariatric surgery. Semaglutide and other drugs like it are based on a naturally occurring hormone in the body and help decrease appetite.

Chronic disease, genetic factors

According to experts at the Times, there is hope the drug will change the way we see obesity, treating it like a chronic disease with medications you can take for a lifetime. Multiple studies have shown there are strong biologic factors for obesity.

For example, identical twins raised apart that end up with the same body mass index despite their different upbringings.

Long-term medication treatment change 

So why would these drugs change how we view overweight people? Current weight loss drugs are not as effective and often can only be taken for a short amount of time, meaning the weight often comes back. 

But these medications are designed to be taken long term similar to how you treat other chronic conditions. 

The hope is if doctors start treating it like a chronic condition, others will as well.