Oral Weight-Loss Pills: A Needle-Free Solution to Combat Obesity

Oral Weight-Loss Pills: A Needle-Free Solution to Combat Obesity | CIO Women Magazine

A breakthrough in the treatment of obesity may be on the horizon as high-dose oral versions of the weight-loss drug Wegovy have shown promising results, potentially rivaling the effectiveness of injections. Two studies released recently have demonstrated that the potent tablets can lead to weight-loss and improve the health of individuals, including those with diabetes who often struggle to shed pounds.

Seeking the FDA Approval

Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company behind Wegovy, plans to seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the oral pills later this year. The move comes as welcome news for the more than 40% of Americans who are classified as obese, offering them an alternative to injections for weight-loss.

Dr. Daniel Bessesen, Chief of Endocrinology at Denver Health, who treats patients with obesity, expressed that most people would prefer taking a pill over an injection if both methods are equally effective, accessible, and affordable. Other weight-loss pills already exist in the market, but they have not achieved the significant reductions in weight seen with injected drugs like Wegovy.

Dr. Katherine Saunders, Clinical Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Health and co-founder of Intellihealth, a weight-loss center, explained that people with obesity would be delighted to have an oral option that is as effective as the injections.

What did the studies suggest?

The studies presented at the American Diabetes Association’s annual meeting examined the effects of high doses of oral semaglutide, the medication in Wegovy, on weight reduction and other health markers. In a 16-month study involving 1,600 overweight or obese individuals with Type 2 diabetes, the high-dose daily pills were found to significantly lower blood sugar levels compared to the standard dose of Rybelsus, another oral medication. The higher doses also resulted in weight loss of 15 to 20 pounds, while the lower dose led to around 10 pounds of weight loss.

The weight-loss pill has finally landed

Another 16-month study involving more than 660 adults who were overweight or had obesity but not diabetes found that the 50-milligram daily pill helped participants lose an average of about 15% of their body weight, approximately 35 pounds, compared to only 6 pounds with a placebo.

Although the oral semaglutide pills showed promising results, there were some side effects reported, including mild to moderate intestinal problems such as nausea, constipation, and diarrhea. The obesity trial also revealed higher rates of benign tumors and altered skin sensation in individuals taking the drug.

Injections vs. Pills

Despite the potential popularity of oral pills, experts note that they may not be a preferred option for those who are already using injectable versions of similar drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy. Some patients may prefer the convenience of weekly injections rather than taking pills daily, especially considering the specific time requirements associated with the new pills.

Novo Nordisk remains optimistic about the prospects of the higher-dose pill for treating both diabetes and obesity, considering the success of its existing oral semaglutide medication, Rybelsus, which reached approximately $1.63 billion in sales last year. Other pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer and Eli Lilly and Co., are also working on oral versions of weight-loss drugs.

The cost and manufacturing capacity for Novo Nordisk’s high-dose oral pills are yet to be determined. Additionally, the supply of injectable doses of Wegovy is expected to remain limited until at least September, according to company officials.

Read More: Pfizer to Deliver ‘Cancer Therapy’ with its $43 billion Deal



Related Posts