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Patients commonly discontinue semaglutide weight-loss treatment

Posted 19th June 2024

An analysis of nationally representative, commercial insurance data has found while prescriptions of semaglutide drugs for weight management have increased exponentially, many patients discontinued the drugs before achieving clinically meaningful weight loss.

Key findings include:

  • about half the patients who received prescriptions stayed on treatment for a minimum of 12 weeks, enough time to achieve clinically meaningful weight loss
  • 30% of patients discontinued treatment within four weeks, before reaching the targeted dose
  • patients aged 35 and older were more likely to stay on GLP-1 treatment for at least 12 weeks
  • patients who regularly visited their healthcare providers were more likely to stay on the drugs

The report notes that almost all new users of the drugs suffer some gastrointestinal side effects. Patients often stop treatment due to difficulty coping with vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Reference: Real-world trends in GLP-1 treatment persistence and prescribing for weight managementRead the rest

Online weight-loss drug scams described

Posted 19 June 2024

McAfee’s Threat Research Team has described the problem of malicious websites, emails and texts, posts on social media, and marketplace listings used by scammers to capitalize on both high demand and high prices for semaglutide drugs that can help with weight loss.

McAfee researchers reported:

  • 449 risky website URLs and 176,871 dangerous phishing attempts centered around Ozempic, Wegovy, and semaglutide
  • scammers on Facebook impersonate doctors based outside of the U.S. and promise semaglutide drugs without a prescription
  • there were 207 scam postings in just one day in April for Ozempic on Craigslist and similar marketplaces
  • scammers offered drugs at too-good-to-be-true, deeply discounted prices
  • scammers offered to accept payment through Bitcoin, Zelle, Venmo, and Cash App, which are nonstandard methods for prescription drug payment.
  • scammers may fail to deliver drugs consumers paid for or may even deliver fakes. Examples include EpiPens loaded with allergy medication, insulin pens,
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Berberine. Don’t swallow the hype. Or the pill. Is not “Nature’s Ozempic”

Posted 05 July 2023

Berberine, a compound found in several plants used in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine, is being hyped on TikTok as a natural alternative to Ozempic (semaglutide) for weight loss. However, Joe Schwarcz, PhD, who directs the McGill Office for Science and Society, notes:

(a) berberine is poorly absorbed from the intestine when taken as a dietary supplement,

(b) unlike semaglutide, it doesn’t act as an analogue of the hormone GLP-1 to suppress appetite, and

(c) scientific evidence is lacking to support its use for weight loss.

Reference: Schwarcz J. Berberine. Don’t swallow the hype. Or the pill. McGill Office for Science and Society, June 22, 2023

Source: Consumer Health Digest #23-27 July 2, 2023

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