New weight loss drugs that became popular in 2022: risks, side effects – Insider

  • Medications like semaglutide and tirzepatide are gaining popularity as weight loss treatments.
  • Initially used to treat diabetes, the drugs help moderate appetite and reduce cravings.
  • They’re considered safe, although research is ongoing and side effects include nausea and loss of interest in food.

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A new category of weight loss medications, repurposed from diabetes treatment, are seriously changing how we think about and approach weight management.

In 2021 the medication semaglutide, called a “game changer” in the industry, officially got the FDA’s approval to be prescribed for weight loss. In 2022, it has soared in popularity, becoming more widely used and spurring more research. In the past year, another promising drug has also been eyed for approval as a weight loss treatment.

Here’s what we know about the drugs, from their effectiveness to side effects.  

Semaglutide became so popular it prompted shortages 

Semaglutide, originally used to treat diabetes, was FDA-approved for weight loss in 2021 and is sold under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic.

The medication acts on a specific hormone called GLP-1 that controls appetite, so patients taking the drug feel more full. It also helps with the production of insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. Research suggests it can help patients lose significant weight, and keep it off if they keep taking the drug. 

A similar medication, liraglutide, was FDA-approved for weight loss in 2014 — the main difference with semaglutide is that it’s longer-lasting, administered in weekly instead of daily injections, and evidence suggests it leads to more weight loss. 

High demand for semaglutide prompted shortages by late 2021, which have continued into this year, according to the FDA.

In summer 2022, semaglutide shortages in Australia were linked to a TikTok trend of users sharing weight loss experiences with the drug, sometimes misleadingly. 

Elon Musk added to media buzz by announcing on Twitter he had been taking it for weight loss. Combined with rumors that the drug was the latest Hollywood weight loss hack, experts voiced concerns that all the hype could make the medication harder to access for patients who need it, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Patients say it helps cut cravings for junk food and alcohol

One factor …….


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