I enjoy reading your column. I’m a 42-year-old married woman with three teenage children. I work part time. A medical checkup revealed that I am “significantly” overweight and prediabetic. My doctor prescribed Ozempic. He said it would help normalize my blood glucose (HbA1c) and help me lose weight. I started the medication two weeks before the Yom Tovim. But I actually gained weight over the holidays. I’m so upset and my blood sugar didn’t improve either. I understand your practice prescribes Ozempic (Semaglutatide). What is your take on this situation?
Inquiring About Ozempic
Dear “Inquiring About Ozempic,”
I appreciate your reading my column. Thank you for sharing your concern. At 42 years old you’re still young enough to get your health back on track. Being overweight and prediabetic is a recipe for going downhill. Excess body weight is linked with many health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancers, and joint problems. You already have a pre-diabetic disposition. Good news though. You can, with some effort, get control and improve your health and well-being. Let’s explore…
Weight Loss Medications
There are various classes of weight loss medications available these days:
A. Some are “over-the-counter” and others require a prescription.
B. Some are taken weekly, others daily.
C. Some are taken orally, others via injection
The proper choice of medication for weight loss, including route of administration, is determined following a comprehensive initial dietary and medical consultation by our certified dietician and physician. Other factors to be considered include the cost of medication and issues of interactions with other medications that you may be taking.
A. Ozempic (Semaglutide) is a medication marketed and specifically prescribed for treatment of Type 2 diabetes in adults. It is taken weekly via injection. Ozempic lowers blood sugar when taken along with diet and exercise. It helps your pancreas produce more insulin and helps prevent your liver from making and releasing too much sugar. It also decreases the risk of adverse cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke. A side effect of Ozempic is loss of appetite resulting in weight loss.
B. Wegovy (“the medication Elon Musk is taking”) is also Semaglutide. It is FDA approved for weight loss and chronic weight management. In controlled studies, those who took it for 16 months lost an average of 12 percent of their body weight. Adults who are overweight (BMI<27), obese (BMI <30) and /or have a weight related medical problem, may improve their weight status with Wegovy. When taking Wegovy, diet and regular exercise is part of the program for best outcome.
FYI: Wegovy and Ozempic are GLP-1 analogs. GLP-1 is an incretin hormone. GLP-1 stimulates the secretion of insulin after glucose is consumed, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels. They work via a process known as the incretin effect.
C. Mounjaro is a new FDA approved medication for adults with Type 2 diabetes. It too should be used with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar. It is the first and only FDA approved GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist (a chemical that activates a receptor to produce a biological response). Mounjaro activates the body’s receptors for GIP and GLP-1, which are natural incretin hormones.1 Mounjaro reduces appetite, resulting in weight loss. Some studies have shown that Mounjaro is more effective than Ozempic in controlling blood sugar and enhancing weight reduction.
Other types and classes of medication are also available for weight loss and weight management. They will be discussed in an upcoming “Ask Jenn.”
Now, back to “Inquiring About Ozempic?” So, you didn’t lose weight or lower your HbA1C and you actually added a few pounds. Here are some things to consider:
1. Starting the medication before the Yom Tovim was a good idea. However, Ozempic takes several weeks to have an effect. Stay the course; you may now begin seeing results. You may already have noticed that your appetite is less as is your “interest in food.” And, hopefully, you’ve started exercising and becoming more mindful about eating.
2. Based upon your response to medication, your doctor may eventually need to increase your dosage. This will be based on your response, how you feel and your BMI. Heavier people may require higher doses.
3. Diet and exercise are essential parts of the program. Medication only works well if you reduce calories, control portion size and burn excess calories. Eating and preparing meals or snacks the healthy way makes a difference too.
4. If you gained weight and your blood sugar did not improve over the chagim, you were not watching your diet.
In my practice, I have helped people lose weight and improve their blood work. Dietary counseling and self-monitoring are the keys to success. You will learn to:
1. Select, prepare and consume healthy meals.
2. Identify and manage emotional eating.
3. Practice mindful eating.
4. Develop eating patterns that control hunger.
5. Learn how to boost metabolism and improve fitness.
“Inquiring About Ozempic”: lifestyle changes are what you require, which include eating properly and exercising regularly. Our practice, Nutrition Transformations, can assist you with diet and exercise counseling. This goes hand in hand with Ozempic and other diabetic and weight loss medications.
It is possible that Ozempic is just not working for you and your doctor may need to prescribe another medication. Mounjaro is also a good choice. Perhaps, the Ozempic did not kick in for you over the holidays and you need to be a little more patient with the process. It also could be a need for a dosage adjustment. But I believe a serious lifestyle change will help you significantly.
If you require medication assisted weight loss and diabetes control and want to improve your health, Nutrition Transformations is here for you…give us a call today; don’t delay your well-being!
Yours in good health,
See my latest blog @nu-transform.com or call (718) 644-1387.