CARY, N.C. - For the first time since 2014, the FDA has approved a new weight loss drug. It’s called Wegovy (Semaglutide), and it helps suppress appetite.
Christy Ball said she tries to have five small meals a day. They often include lots of vegetables and yogurt. She also walks several times a week.
“I’ll put a book on tape and walk, and forget what I am doing and walk for three or four miles,” Ball said.
She also had an endoscopic procedure done to shrink her stomach. In total, she lost about 90 pounds. But even after losing all that weight she doesn’t feel like she’s done enough. She is still considered obese based on her body mass index. The stigma around obesity has haunted her for her whole life.
“I remember in PE they squeeze your stomach with that measuring tool, and they tell you that you are too fat,” Ball said. “I remember that was a big deal because they announced it in front of the whole class. It was a form of embarrassment.”
She hopes to finally say goodbye to the stigma thanks to a new weight loss drug. It’s called Wegovy, and it helps suppress appetite.
“It’s potentially a breakthrough medication because it has been shown to be highly effective for the management of weight,” True You Weight Loss Gastroenterologist Chris McGowan said.
According to the FDA, people who received the drug lost an average of 12% of their body weight. That means if a person weighed 200 pounds, that would be a weight loss of 24 pounds. But McGowan sais it shouldn’t just be taken on its own.
“Medication is the key to losing weight, but really you need to be in a team program that has nutrition support and physician support so that you can really do your best,” McGowan said.
Some of the side effects of the drug include nausea, diarrhea and other types of abdominal pain. Registered dietitian Laura Sebring said this is where her expertise can help.
“I can help guide them with some foods that can help them with some of the issues, or even resolve some of the issues,” she explained.
Christy understands some people may be against this new medication, but she hopes people understand that eating can be like an addiction.
“You can take smoking out of the house. You can take alcohol out of the house, but you can’t take food out of the house. You have to have food to live. So, that makes it incredibly challenging to fight that addiction," she said.
Wegovy should not be used in patients with a family history of certain types of thyroid cancer or in combination for type two diabetes drugs. It’s also a drug that patients may have to take the rest of their lives.
“Just like you take your blood pressure medicine or your cholesterol medicine everyday, this is your obesity or your weight medication,” McGowan said. “When you start this medication you should plan to stay on it long term.”