Search This Blog

Monday 12 February 2024

Wygovy; weight loss, and pharmaceutical drugs

The obesity/diabetes drugs, Wygovy and Ozempic have become a pharmaceutical best sellers. They are making the drug companies very wealthy! The active ingredient, semaglutide, helps control blood sugar, lowers appetite, and makes patients feel "full". The current claim of medical science is that these semaglutide drugs can lead to weight loss of more than 10%.

Given the burgeoning epidemic of obesity around the world this claim is an attractive one for so many people who find losing weight difficult. The sales of these drugs increased rapidly in 2023 following their promotion by the mainstream media's on behalf of the drug companies. They were "breakthrough" drugs, we were told by all media outlets.

(Have you noticed how little advertising the pharmaceutical industry has to do for itself? A press release usually does it, with the media content to pass on the advertising, free of charge, without any apparent investigation into the claims being made).

The drawbacks of these drugs are already well known:

  • When patients stop taking the drug they put this weight back again.
  • The drugs are not recommended for more than two years (so they have to be, or should be stopped within that time, making any gains reversible).
  • Such are the concerns about these drugs the UK's NHS only prescribe them to patients who fulfil certain criteria, within a limited number of specialist weight-loss management clinics.
  • Semaglutide is already known to cause serious side effects, these including anxiety, bloating, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, confusion, constipation, diarrhoea, depression, fever, headache, indigestion, nightmares, seizures, tightness in the chest, trouble breathing, unusual tiredness or weakness, acid/sour stomach, heartburn, and much more.

To date these disadvantages have not slowed down burgeoning sales, especially as some pharmacies are selling them directly to the public, at a monthly cost of around £100 to £200.

Have we been here before?

For anyone who believes they have heard this before, can I refer you to one of my previous blogs, written in March 2018: Acomplia. What happens to all the 'wonder drugs' and 'miracle cure's of conventional medicine?"  Read the blog for a fuller description of events, but broadly this is what happened to Acomplia.
  • Acomplia was an obesity drug, approved in 2006, and hailed as a new 'wonder drug'.
  • In 2008 the drug was refused a licence in the USA, and withdrawn in the UK and Europe, particularly over fears of serious adverse reactions, particularly depression and suicide.
  • The medical science, which had proclaimed this wonder drug, was found to be 'faulty'.
         "one study discovered that one-third of people on the drug lost 10% of their body weight, and 60% lost a less impressive 5%. Apparently, what the study did not say was that everyone in the trial was also on a low-calorie diet, and virtually everyone put the weight back on once they stopped taking the drug".

I will copy the conclusion of the Acomplia episode here, and predict (with a high degree of confidence) that this will be the conclusion of Wygovy/Ozempic story within the next few years.

"The European Medicines Agency (EMA) commented that the drug had proved less effective in 'real life' than in clinical trials. Patient hopes raised in the 'science' laboratory but dashed in real life. So it had been decided to suspend the licence for Acomplia as:

               "New data from post-marketing experience and ongoing clinical trials indicated that serious psychiatric disorders may be more common than in the clinical trials".

So Acomplia demonstrates better than most pharmaceutical drugs the many aspects of the hopelessness of medical science and drug regulation, which in the interests of selling drugs raise hopes, but lead only to further patient damage.
  • The NHS resorts to a drug for a condition that would be better treated via life-style and dietary treatment.
  • The drug is significantly less effective than the trials (the medical 'science' funded by the pharmaceutical industry) suggested.
  • The full side effects of the drug remain unknown through all the 'scientific' drug testing, the regulator process, the licensing, and the prescription of the drug.
  • The side effects turn out to be considerably more serious than the original condition or illness.
  • And a drug thought to be unsafe in one country (the USA in this case) is considered to be perfectly 'safe' in others (indeed, most of Europe) - before it is withdrawn there too.
There is no such thing as a wonder drug, or a miracle cure, there never has been, and there probably never will be (on the basis that future performance is best predicted by past performance). So the next time the mainstream media, or your doctor tells you about a remarkable new treatment - run a mile, very, very quickly!"

There are already signs that these drugs will soon have to be withdrawn, with one pharmaceutical consultant saying that Ozempic, "the hot new weight-loss drug", poses medically dangerous gastrointestinal and mental health risks but fails to address the root causes of metabolic conditions.

So I will get back to you when pharmaceutical drug history repeats itself, as it so inevitably does. In the meantime it seems that these new obesity/diabetes drugs are going to cause a lot of patient harm in the years to come.

Post Script 15th May 2024
These obesity drugs just get better and better - according to the drug industry anyway. This is what the Guardian has told us this morning.
            "If you hear brand names like Ozempic and Wegovy and think of suddenly gaunt A-listers posing on the red carpet, it is surely now time to think again. There has already been substantial evidence that as well as in their initial role as a diabetes treatment, semaglutides – the kind of drug in question – can have a real impact on obesity for people for whom nothing else works. Now a new study has found that they don’t just help those people lose weight – they have a major effect on their heart health, regardless of how much weight they lose."
Yes, another game changer - the best drug, we are reliably informed, since Statins. Heart disease has increased substantially since the introduction of Statin drugs, I suspect semaglutide will now be used for patients of heart disease, and in line with this original blog, I would predict the same outcome. A continuing rise in heart disease (plus an additional problem arising from the adverse drug reactions too, of course).