Is Semaglutide the answer to your New Year’s resolution?
Expert discusses the pros and cons of trendy weight loss drug
FORT MYERS, Fla. (Dec. 6, 2022) – As we approach the end of 2022 countless numbers of people are making their resolutions to lose weight in 2023, and of those numbers many will fail in their quest. But is a trendy drug therapy the answer? Many adults are now turning to Semaglutide, a drug therapy with a successful track record for dropping weight.
“Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist, mimicking the actions of GLP-1,” explained Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP. “GLP-1 is a hormone primarily produced by the gut, but it also is produced by the pancreas and nervous system. It works by targeting the brain to regulate appetite, especially after eating. It also slows how quickly the stomach empties, which helps you feel fuller longer and reduces how much you feel the need to eat.”
Semaglutide typically comes in the form of three name brands, each is FDA approved for specific conditions:
Ozempic is an injection used to lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise and may also be used for patients with cardiovascular disease to help lower the risk of stroke or heart attack.
Wegovy is an injection used for appetite management for individuals with a high BMI and weight-related health conditions.
Rybelsus is a tablet used to help lower blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes, along with diet and exercise.
“Research into semaglutide for weight loss has shown many benefits,” says Dr. Mel. “GLP-1 agonists have been researched for over 16 years, consistently showing results for reducing body weight in patients with and without diabetes. Semaglutide has been shown to be superior in promoting body weight reduction compared to other GLP-1 agonists.”
While semaglutide can help with weight loss, the greatest results are seen when combined with healthy lifestyle changes, namely, reduced calorie intake, increasing regular exercise, and getting behavioral therapy. Our eating habits are primarily based on pre-set behaviors. Behavioral therapy can help break those habits and forge newer and healthier ones and help identify mental barriers to weight loss.
As you ponder yet another New Year’s resolution to lose weight, you may be considering semaglutide to help get you started. Semaglutide helps give a boost when establishing good habits, but it is not something patients can remain on for a lifetime. Also, as with any medication, there are risks. The most common side effect is nausea, which Dr. Mel says often occurs because the patient is hungry and doesn’t know it. She says it can be managed by eating a small healthy snack until it gradually subsides.
“The body still requires nourishment, you just won’t have the same appetite, so you need to remember to eat and make sure it’s healthy, nutritious calories that will give the body what it needs to function at its best. Your provider can help you create a plan for food choices and calorie intake to ensure you are still meeting a healthy level of nutrition.”
Another side effect Dr. Mel notes is the hit to your bank account. “The name brand can run $1200 to $2000, which will last six to 10 weeks. Semaglutide is the generic version for a fraction of the cost, which is great; but again, it doesn’t do any good if you’re not also changing your eating habits and increasing your activity level.”
Dr. Mel performs a thorough evaluation of blood work, including a hormone panel, and a physical examination during a patient’s first appointment to truly understand their needs and develop a comprehensive plan to restore optimal health and overall quality of life. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please visit drmelirvine.com, or call 239-351-5663. You can also follow her on Facebook for news, updates, and special offers.
About Dr. Melissa (Mel) Irvine, DNP
Dr. Mel has been in the medical field for over 15 years and is a board-certified Nurse Practitioner. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Brenau Women’s College, in Gainesville, Georgia, her Master of Science in Nursing at The University of Alabama at Birmingham, and her doctorate degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. Dr. Mel is passionate about empowering and educating women so they can be their own advocates and make the best-informed decisions regarding treatment options and quality of life. As a Sexual Medicine provider, she takes pride in providing high-quality personalized care to meet the sexual health needs of both men and women. Her interest in Sexual Medicine took her to San Diego, where she completed a preceptorship with the leading Sexual Medicine provider in the U.S., Dr. Irwin Goldstein. She is an avid learner and regularly attends educational training and conferences to stay current on the latest and most innovative treatment options.