The FDA Just Approved a Landmark Drug to Address Obesity

A ruling with a lot of potential

Novo Nordisk
Cycling: 51th Tour of Turkey 2015/ Stage 6 Team Novo Nordisk Bus.
Tim de Waele/Corbis via Getty Images

For nearly anyone who’s tried it, the process of losing a significant amount of weight and keeping it off can be daunting. In the country today, obesity remains a source of health problems for a number of people — up to and including former professional athletes. Bariatric surgery is generally considered the best way to address obesity, but it can also be daunting for a host of reasons — major surgery does have a way of being imposing, after all.

A recent ruling by the FDA could change the way science and medicine approach large-scale weight loss. The Associated Press reports that the agency just approved Novo Nordisk’s drug Wegovy for chronic weight management. As the FDA itself notes, this is the first time they’ve approved something for this purpose since 2014.

Wegovy is administered via a weekly shot. The AP report cites a study funded by the drug company, in which the participants in a study who’d been taking the drug had an average weight loss of 15%.

The FDA’s approval cites the drug for use “in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), for use in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.” There are still a number of variables at work here — most notably, what Wegovy will end up costing and whether insurers will cover it.

For those intrigued by what they’ve read but concerned about the prospect of a regular injection, the AP report has some news that may be of interest: Novo Nordisk is working on a pill as well.

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