An Update: Weight Loss Medications and Obesity Medicine

I wanted to take some time and give you a “mini update” on what’s happening in the world of obesity medicine and weight loss medication. 

While on my mini-break, there have been a lot of research articles published, but will any of the data have a long-term or significant impact on how we practice obesity medicine? Or will they just be adding another little piece to the puzzle when it comes to managing obesity? 

Let’s get into it. 

Spill the ‘obesity update’ tea! 

Probably the most exciting update is that Mounjaro or Tirzepatide has officially been approved for Type 2 Diabetes management in Canada! 

I briefly covered Mounjaro in a previous article – I detailed the mechanism of action and how it is the same but also slightly different when compared to Wegovy, and how the data is showing that Mounjaro may be the new super King of the Hill in blood sugar and weight-loss management.Its use has exploded as of late due to the Wegovy and Ozempic shortage in the States, with a number of people being switched to it as the next best or better alternative. 

Unfortunately, the huge uptake in the USA is now leading to a Mounjaro shortage. So while it is approved here in Canada, like Wegovy, we currently don’t have access to it, and it is not clear when that will change. 

In fact, Eli Lilly, the makers of Mounjaro, have been hush-hush on it being approved here in Canada as they probably don’t want to create too much hype around its approval and then not be able to deliver to consumers. #sorrynotsorry if this article gets the hype ball rolling prematurely.  

In other news with Mounjaro, the FDA has provided Eli Lilly with a fast track to getting Mounjaro approved for Obesity management. This happened back in October of 2022, and so this fast-track could mean the FDA will give Mounjaro the go-ahead in Obesity treatment within a 6-month or less time frame. 

So if you live in America and don’t have diabetes, you might be able to have Mounjaro prescribed AND covered by your drug insurance for weight loss by March of 2023! Again, none of this will matter if Mounjaro is nowhere to be found, BUT if there is no shortage or when that shortage resolves, LOOK OUT

What other weight loss medications are currently available? 

Here in Canada, for managing obesity, we have Saxenda, and Wegovy (aka Ozempic), but it hasn’t technically hit the shelves yet; we also have Contrave and Orlistat.

In the US, in addition to these noted medications, there is also Adipex or phentermine and Qsymia, the phentermine and topiramate combination drug. 

Go on…

Unfortunately, there really isn’t too much more to share regarding new medications coming to the market for weight management. That said, there are a ton of drugs in the pipeline undergoing clinical trials. Basically, they’re checking off all the boxes and getting all the data together for approval by the FDA, Health Canada, and other global health authorities. So stay tuned, as new agents start to make a splash I will be sure to update you!  

As for obesity medicine as a whole, there are a number of new publications looking at things like dietary patterns, the timing of meals, exercise, aerobic fitness, and whether these things have a role in managing weight. Are they important? Do we really care? We’re also getting more and more data on how we can manage some of the comorbidities that are primarily driven by obesity, such as fatty liver, hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, etc. I am pumped to be sharing all this wonderful research with you in the near future! 

Always remember – small tweaks lead to massive peaks.

Dr. Dan 

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More Posts

Lose Weight and THEN Take Saxenda?

Are you thinking about getting on Saxenda? Have you considered losing weight before you start it? Well, a study by Wadden and friends did exactly this – they recruited a group of people, but before they put them on Saxenda or a placebo, they had them lose ≥5% of their baseline body weight. Did maintenance of the initial weight loss plus Saxenda lead to even more weight loss? Let’s find out! 

Saxenda 101

What is Saxenda? You’ve likely heard me talk about it before. I often mention it in the same breath as Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro. However, I never talked about Saxenda all on its own. It was the first GLP-1 receptor agonist that gained approval for Obesity treatment and essentially spearheaded the way for everyone else. Save the first for last? Let’s get into Saxenda 101!

The Short on the Ozempic & Wegovy Shortage

We are back.

This is one of my first articles back, and I’m very excited to be here.

To kick things off, let’s dive into the shortage of Ozempic and Wegovy – what’s going on, and why are things shorted? We discuss some of the alternatives, things that you can potentially do, and when the shortage might be resolved.

Let’s go!

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