Recently, a wild idea about the future of aviation has been making the rounds. The idea is that if obesity drugs help passengers lose weight, airlines could potentially reduce fuel costs. In September, Jefferies Bank analysts “Slimming society” If obesity drugs cause obesity, United Airlines could face up to $80 million Used for jet fuel every year.
Over the past year, more Americans have learned about semaglutide, sold under the brand name Ozempic for diabetes and Wigovy for obesity, and the hype has become completely divorced from reality. Ta. Despite the grandiose predictions, only a tiny fraction of Americans eligible to receive obesity drugs are coming true. Wegovy’s list price is about $1,350 per month, making it too expensive, poorly covered, and in limited supply to be a routine part of your health care.
But the possibility is starting to look very real. The results of a long-awaited study published Saturday show that Wegovy can have a significant impact on heart health, potentially making the drug available to even more patients. A few days ago, the FDA approved Zepbound. Zepbound is an obesity drug that is slightly cheaper than Wegovy and appears to be more powerful. If you had doubts before, you can’t deny it now. Obesity drugs “are here to stay,” Kayla Lara Breitinger, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, told me. “There will be more and more of them.” They are now deeply entrenched in U.S. medicine and may eventually join the ranks of commonly used drugs such as statins and metformin.
Considering that obesity is linked to all kinds of major heart diseases, it’s not all that surprising that weekly weight loss may have some cardiovascular benefits. But this class of obesity drugs, known as GLP-1 agonists of the hunger hormone, is so new that doctors didn’t know exactly what it was. Starting in 2018, Novo Nordisk, which manufactures semaglutide, began searching for answers in a study of more than 17,600 people with obesity and cardiovascular disease. In this group, result Results from a trial named SELECT showed that Wegovy reduced the risk of major cardiac events such as stroke, heart attack, and death by 20%. Even compared to studies of common heart drugs such as Praluent and Repatha, Wegoby’s results are “impressive,” said Eugene Yang, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Washington.
How exactly this drug prevents major cardiac events is not fully understood. Part of the effect is likely due to weight loss itself, which is associated with improvements in indicators that affect heart health, such as blood pressure, Yang said. However, mechanisms independent of weight loss may also be at play. This trial began to show a reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular events. in front Participants lost weight. One explanation is the drug’s effect on inflammation associated with heart disease. C-reactive protein, a rough proxy for inflammation, decreased by nearly 40 percent in the study participants.
Regardless of how Wegovy works, “it has very important potential benefits” as a new treatment for heart disease, Yang said. Main causes of death nationwide.Novo Nordisk has already applied Expands FDA approval Expect to receive it within 6 months. Approval would also show that Wegovy has medical benefits beyond weight loss, putting pressure on insurance companies to cover it. For example, Medicare currently does not cover it. One reason for this is that obesity has long been viewed as a cosmetic rather than a medical problem.Even if private insurance covers the drug, still frequently out of reach. Obesity policy expert Ted Kyle said the SELECT trial made it “clear” that obesity was a medical condition that could be treated with drugs. Still, this research leaves room for pushback. The absolute risk reduction for cardiovascular events is 1.5%, which according to some calculations. quite small. Lara Breitinger said higher risk reductions would put “more pressure” on insurers and manufacturers to make drugs more affordable for Americans.
Still, the study results are solid enough that the heart benefits of obesity drugs could eventually lead more Americans to take them, if not immediately. It seems to be highly sexual. The same thing can happen with the approval of new drugs. Tirzepatide, which Eli Lilly sells as a diabetes drug under the name Munjaro, will be sold as Zepbound as an obesity drug and will be in the running for Wegoby’s throne.in one study, people who took tirzepatide lost an average of 18% of their body weight.For comparison, another study found that patients who used Wegovy averaged 15 percent. Zepbound isn’t cheap at just over $1,000 a month, but its list price is several hundred dollars cheaper than Wegovy. (The makers of both drugs say most insured patients pay much less than that.)
Zepbound’s approval is just the beginning. Unlike semaglutide, which targets only one hormone, GLP-1, to exert its effects on appetite and satiety, tirzepatide targets two hormones. Other drugs targeting two or three hormones are also in development, as are versions that come in the form of more attractive pills rather than injections. Generic versions of these drugs, likely starting with semaglutide’s predecessor liraglutide, sold as Saxenda, could become available soon, Yang said. This competition helps reduce costs, but it has its limits. Drug pricing is “a little tricky,” Kyle said. There is a large difference between the list price and the net price Manufacturers, insurance companies, and intermediary between them.
Each new competitive drug and new study is a step toward a future where a significant proportion of obese Americans are regularly prescribed these drugs. In just one week, obesity drugs have leapfrogged into a new era and are poised to become significantly more mainstream. There is no doubt that the future is bright for the millions of people who will benefit from treatment. Still, many questions about the drug remain unanswered, including its long-term safety and security. endless supply shortage.
But the potential for obesity drugs to truly change America feels closer than ever. This raises dizzying questions about what a “thin society” means for the movement. food industryand apparently even airline jet fuel.