Doctors say weight loss injections could help fight rising obesity rates in Louisiana

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For two years now we’ve been showing you the success stories of people on those weight loss injections.

Author: Meg Farris / WWL Louisiana Medical Reporter (WWL)
Published: 6:25 PM CST November 14, 2023
Updated: 10:24 PM CST November 14, 2023

NEW ORLEANS — In the U.S., nearly 40% of people are medically obese. In the next several years, it’s expected to rise to 50 percent.

Compare that to 1975, when it was only 15%.
Some doctors believe the weight loss injections are game-changers.
And now there is a new version that was just FDA approved.
So, how does it compare to other similar medications.
For two years now we’ve been showing you the success stories of people on those weight loss injections.

“I just hit 83 pounds, and for it to not be a year yet, I just, it really, I tell people, it really does blow my mind,” said Ashley Daray who used Wegovy to lose 83 pounds.

People with diabetes have been using Ozempic. Then that injection was approved for weight loss under the name Wegovy. Those work on one hunger hormone pathway. Then came Mounjaro. That’s the injection for people with diabetes that works on two hunger hormone pathways. Well now, that drug has been FDA approved for weight loss under the name Zepbound.

“These things take away your hunger drive. They take away your cravings. They slow down your gastric emptying. So, instead of filling up on a full plate, you fill up on a very small amount. It’s shocking. Patients change immediately,” said bariatric surgeon Dr. Tom Lavin, founder of Surgical Specialists of Louisiana

Dr. Lavin says while Wegovy does work well, Zepbound appears to work better. But if insurance is not paying, he will start patients on the compounded version of Wegovy, called Semaglutide, because it costs less than the compounded version of Zepbound called Tirzepatide.

“There are some people, and it’s probably a pretty low percentage, that just don’t get results with Semaglutide, and they do respond to Tirzepatide.

He says some people do get nauseated on the injections, but it appears that side effect is lessened in the compounded version. The upside is, over time with weight loss, there will be less sleep apnea, joint damage, and heart disease.

“If this really goes widespread, we’re going to need a lot less cardiac stents because they’ll be a lot less cardiac disease,” he said.

And Dr. Lavin says they are helping people who have had weight loss stomach surgery, if they gain some weight back.

“They’re here to stay. They’re long term, and they’re going to impact our health care system in a tremendous way, in a positive way.”

If the injection is not covered by your insurance, it could run from $1,000 to $1,300 a month.

The compounded versions run from $150 to $300 a month.

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