No Pain, No Gain

Blog#197- 4/11/24

By Richard Davis

Weight loss is one of the more difficult issues that people have to deal with. You would be hard pressed not to find a few people who have struggled with their weight many times during their life. Until now there has been no simple solution to weight loss and, in my opinion, that is a good thing.

I was considered a “fat” child growing up and I took a lot of bullying and name calling during my public school years. My teachers even called me by a derogatory nickname from junior high and all through high school and I had to live with it until I went to college and heard people address me by my real name.

One of the reasons I was not accepted for the military during the height of the Viet Nam War was because I was overweight. I lost 50 pounds when I was 20 and travelling, but I have always struggled to keep my weight below what I consider an acceptable level.

That was in 1970 and back then the pharmaceutical industry was beginning to develop life-saving drugs and the pace has accelerated since then. It would be difficult to find someone over the age of 65 who is not taking at least one daily prescription drug in 2024.

Most of the medications people take are for chronic problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and a host of other diseases. Our culture has learned to ask for a pill to solve a problem and the pharmaceutical industry has been more than happy to accommodate people if they can pay the price.

This is all preface to a discussion of the new class of drugs that were developed to control diabetes but now have been found to promote weight loss. We have been barraged by the advertising for drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy. “Ask your doctor if Ozempic is right for you,” goes the new advertising mantra.

The Danish companies that make these two drugs have seen such high profits that, according to a recent New York Times article, sales of these drugs are responsible for most of Denmark’s economic growth. These are what are known as blockbuster drugs but, keep in mind that, a monthly supply of Ozempic can cost over $900. Some insurance companies will pay for the drug if it is diabetes related but if people take it only for weight loss they may have to pay out of pocket.

People now have the magic medication to lose weight without any effort. Prescribing information for Ozempic says that it is a weekly injection used to help control blood sugar for people with Type II diabetes and should be used in conjunction with a program of diet and exercise. When this class of drugs first came out they were not intended for weight loss, but when people starting losing weight as a side effect the magic bullet appeared.

Keep in mind that if a person taking these drugs stops using them they put all the lost weight back on. Who knows what other side effects they may have suffered through while taking the drug so they wouldn’t have to do the hard work of losing weight by developing sensible eating and exercise habits.

I do not mean to stigmatize people who are overweight but, with effort, most people can learn to control their weight. Using drugs such as Ozempic to control weight head in the wrong direction for the use of medications. They appeal to the worst instincts in our culture and they send the wrong message about not only weight loss but the proper use of prescription drugs.

Comments | 1

Leave a Reply