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  • Writer's pictureMonica Bell

12 Myths of Weight Loss Drugs

Are you considering a weight loss drug but need clarification about your options, risks, and expectations? We are here to sort out fact from fiction so you can be informed about the best choice for you. At Optimal Hormone Health, we prescribe weight loss drugs for patients after considerable consultation about your goals, overall health, and cost. Let’s begin with a brief overview of the primary weight loss drugs.


Semaglutide (Wegovy, Ozempic)

Wegovy is a brand name for Semaglutide, which is administered via injection. It is approved for weight loss in adults and children age 12 with a BMI ≥30 (for adults, BMI ≥ 95th percentile for age and sex for children) or some adults with excess weight (BMI ≥27) (overweight) who also have weight-related medical problems. Ozempic is the same medication but is approved to treat type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is often prescribed off-label for weight loss. 


Tirzepatide (Mounjaro)

On November 8th of 2023, the FDA approved Tirzepatide for chronic weight management in adults with obesity and at least one weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. Just like Semaglutide, Tirzepatide is an antidiabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and weight loss. It is sold under the brand names Mounjaro for diabetes treatment and Zepbound for weight loss.

 

Obesity as a Disease


Obesity is a touchy subject, steeped in blame and shame. However, the fact is The American Medical Association (AMA) designated obesity a disease in 2013.  “Obesity is a “chronic, relapsing, multi-factorial, neurobehavioral disease, wherein an increase in body fat promotes adipose tissue dysfunction and abnormal fat mass physical forces, resulting in adverse metabolic, biomechanical, and psychosocial health consequences.” 


Obesity is a serious condition associated with some of the leading causes of death, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The acceptance of obesity as a disease to be treated has opened the door to what could be life-changing drugs such as Semaglutide and Tirzepatide.

 

12 Myths of Weight Loss Drugs


All drugs have potential side effects and risks. Semaglutide is no different, but given the media coverage and newness of this class of drugs for weight loss, misunderstandings permeate the discussion. Here are some of the more prevalent myths about Semaglutide.


Myth #1: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Should Only Be Given to Diabetics


As with many drugs, the original intended use of these drugs is found to have other benefits. Studies demonstrate Semaglutide and Tirzepatide’s efficacy in promoting weight loss in individuals whether they have diabetes or not. 


Myth #2: You Must be Obese to Take Semaglutide or Tirzepatide


Clinical trials show that Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are effective in promoting weight loss in individuals with a BMI as low as  27 kg/m², especially if they have co-morbid issues such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure. Both drugs are also effective for patients at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.


Myth #3: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Have Bad Side Effects


You may have heard stories of patients who have nausea and gastrointestinal upset. These potential side effects are possible but not widespread and diminish over time. Starting with a low dose can help mitigate these potential side effects.


Myth #4: You Won’t Have An Appetite While Taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide


Claims that taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide drastically reduces hunger to the point that one does not want to eat at all are unfounded. Semaglutide and Tirzepatide significantly reduce appetite and diminish cravings. Hunger remains; it is simply experienced differently.


Myth #5: You Have to Take Semaglutide  or Tirzepatide Forever


Semaglutide or Tirzepatide can be taken long-term to maintain weight loss, but a lifelong commitment is not required to achieve long-lasting results. Your commitment to other lifestyle changes may also affect your trajectory.

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Myth #6: If You Stop Taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide, You Will Gain Weight 


Just to clarify- many patients who take Semaglutide or Tirzepatide do gain back weight once they stop taking it; however, there are other factors to consider, such as reverting to poor eating habits and lack of exercise.


Myth #7: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are Addictive


There is no evidence that Semaglutide or Tirzepatide are addictive. They do not cause physical addiction; however, for some, the weight loss journey can cause a psychological dependency. Becoming fixated on weight loss goals can be counterproductive to the overall goal of improved health.


Myth #8: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are Expensive


There is no denying that weight loss drugs can be expensive, but compounded Semaglutide or Tirzepatide is about half the cost. It is also essential to consider the improved health outcomes and cost benefits of losing weight.


Myth #9: You Don’t Have to Exercise or Eat Healthy While Taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide


While Semaglutide and Tirzepatide aid in weight loss and metabolic improvements, it is not a substitute for healthy eating and regular exercise. Think of these weight loss drugs as building blocks to developing a sustainable, healthier lifestyle.


Myth #10: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide Guarantee Drastic Weight Loss


Many patients have impressive results with Semaglutide or Tirzepatide, but individual responses vary depending on factors such as baseline weight and lifestyle changes. 


Myth #11: Taking Semaglutide or Tirzepatide Causes Drooping or Sagging Facial Skin 


Anytime you lose a drastic amount of weight, with or without weight loss drugs, your skin may lose elasticity and appear looser. A healthy diet and weight lifting can help prevent or minimize sagging facial and body skin. 


Myth #12: Semaglutide and Tirzepatide are for Everyone


No particular drug is for everyone, so Semaglutide and Tirzepatide may not be suitable for everyone, depending on health goals, medical history, and treatment compliance. 

 

Informed Choices Are Healthy Choices


Assessing the advisability of starting Semaglutide or Tirzepatide will entail more than discussing side effects and what you can expect. Success is predicated on your commitment to changing your lifestyle, with weight loss drugs as the catalyst for that long-lasting change. Talk with us at Optimal Hormone Health, your partners in weight loss, to start you on your way.

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