A weekly injection that leads to dramatic weight loss without serious side effects almost sounds too good to be true. But several drugs originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes can help people shed as much as 20% of their body weight — far more than other anti-obesity drugs. Known as incretin mimetics, they also improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Not surprisingly, these medications are in high demand, especially semaglutide (for a list of these drugs and their brand names, see "Diabetes and anti-obesity drugs"). This has led to shortages of certain formulations. That’s just one of the issues faced by people hoping to take these drugs, which are costly — around $1,000 to $1,500 per month — and not covered by Medicare for obesity (although some private insurers cover them). Who’s a good candidate for these medications, and what else should people know about them?
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About the Author
Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter
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