New Drugs Could Help Treat Obesity. Could They End the Stigma, Too? - The New York Times
May 11, 2021 1 min, 52 secs

The hope is that new treatments will encourage people to think of obesity as a chronic disease, like high blood pressure or diabetes.

Like most people with obesity, she tried diet after diet.

Incretins appear to elicit significant weight loss in most patients, enough to make a real medical and aesthetic difference.

But experts hope that the drugs also do something else: change how society feels about people with obesity, and how people with obesity feel about themselves.

If these new drugs allow obesity to be treated like a chronic disease — with medications that must be taken for a lifetime — the thought is that doctors, patients and the public might understand that obesity is truly a medical condition.

The current obesity drugs lead to an average weight loss of only 5 percent to 10 percent.

The drugs will not banish obesity or make people truly thin.

For some, the medications lead to weight loss approaching that of bariatric surgery.

If incretins pass the approval process, they might help convince the most important constituency of all — doctors — that obesity is a chronic disease and that it can be treated, said Dr.

Diets and exercise, the usual nostrums, almost always provide short-term weight loss, at best.

On average it elicited a 15 percent weight loss, but a third of those who took it lost 20 percent or more of their body weight in the study, similar to the amount lost with lap-band bariatric surgery.

Aronne, an obesity specialist at Weill Cornell Medicine, said that the combination of semaglutide and another experimental Novo Nordisk drug, cagrilintide, could produce as much as a 25 percent weight loss in a year, an amount like that achieved with sleeve gastrectomy, a popular form of bariatric surgery.

Kushner said, only with long-term use can researchers learn if the new drugs control the many medical consequences of obesity, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Leibel, a researcher at Columbia University who conducted many of the pivotal studies showing obesity is a disease, deplores society’s bias against his patients.

“I tell them this is a chronic ongoing medical problem, just like diabetes,” he said.

Researchers have successfully changed the conversation; many people now know that those who abuse alcohol or drugs have a disease and need treatment


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