• The FDA approved semaglutide, a drug designed to treat type 2 diabetes, to help people lose weight.
  • Studies have shown the medication can help control appetite and hormone levels. 
  • However, patients must continue taking once-weekly injections to maintain weight loss. 
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The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug that could help with chronic weight management in people who are obese and overweight, the agency said in a press release on Friday.

Semaglutide (brand name Wegovy) is a once-a-week injection that will help manage weight in people with overweight or obesity and who have at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, the FDA said.

“Today’s approval offers adults with obesity or overweight a beneficial new treatment option to incorporate into a weight management program,” John Sharretts, deputy director of the Division of Diabetes, Lipid Disorders, and Obesity in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in the statement. “FDA remains committed to facilitating the development and approval of additional safe and effective therapies for adults with obesity or overweight.” 

Experts have called the drug a “game changer” for people who need help controlling their weight.

Studies on semaglutide have shown it can help patients lose significantly more weight than a placebo when combined with proper diet and exercise. The medication is considered safe, with minor and temporary side effects like nausea or diarrhea in some people. 

Novo Nordisk, which makes the drug, said it plans to start selling it in the US later this month. The company didn’t disclose the treatment’s price in a press release.

Patients who stopped taking the medication in clinical trials regained the weight they lost, suggesting people will need to keep taking the drug to maintain the benefits. 

Semaglutide was first approved to treat type 2 diabetes in 2017, so more research is needed on the potential long-term effects of the medication. 

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