In a new poll released last week, 45 percent of adults expressed some degree of interest in taking a prescription medication for weight loss if it was shown to be “safe and effective.”
Among the 1,022 adults who took part in the KFF survey, 18 percent said they were “very interested” in taking a weight loss drug, and 27 percent said they were “somewhat interested.”
The poll also found that 70 percent had heard of the new class of weight-loss drugs that include Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. While Wegovy has been approved for weight loss, Ozempic and Mounjaro are indicated for treating diabetes, and a prescription of those drugs for losing weight would be considered off-label use.
Interest in these drugs has partly been driven by pop culture, with many public figures alleged to have used them for rapid weight loss. Tesla CEO Elon Musk openly credited Wegovy for his change in weight last year.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 1 in 3 U.S. adults are overweight and more than 2 out of 5 have obesity.
Ozempic and Wegovy are both semaglutide, which mimics a hormone secreted in the gut in response to food. This hormone, GLP-1, causes the body to produce more insulin and suppresses appetite.
These drugs are not without their risks or side effects, however, particularly when it comes to their use in losing weight. A study from 2022 found that stopping semaglutide injections resulted in some rebound weight gain.
The American Society of Anesthesiologists recently warned that patients should discontinue taking these weight-loss drugs before undergoing surgeries that require sedation due to reports of complications, including a delay in stomach emptying or “stomach paralysis.”
Stomach paralysis is a phenomenon that occurs when the muscles don’t function correctly, resulting in a delay in the stomach contents being emptied. This can in turn result in heartburn, acid reflux or malnutrition.
Just this week, a lawsuit was filed by a Louisiana woman against Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, who manufacture Ozempic and Mounjaro respectively, alleging the companies downplayed the risks in taking the medications.