Study: new weight loss drugs have cardiovascular benefits... due to the lost weight

Originally published at: Study: new weight loss drugs have cardiovascular benefits… due to the lost weight | Boing Boing


As I understand it, these “weightloss” drugs – semaglutide, specifically – were originally approved for use in treating diabetes. Some diabetics I know are having a hard time getting their prescriptions filled because the drugs are all being snapped up by people trying to lose weight (whether they need to or not).

“Unhealthy body images make some people’s bodies unhealthy,” if you want the headline version.


The woman I take care of is on Rybelsus, which is an oral version of Ozempic. And yes, its primary purpose is to lower A1C levels and get people’s diabetes under control. She hasn’t had any trouble getting the medicine, but it is very, very expensive, even with insurance. But it has lowered her A1C dramatically, and she has lost some weight as well, although not much because she has other disabilities preventing her from really getting much of any exercise. The way it works as a weight loss drug is pretty simple. One of the side effects of all of these medicines is that they just kill your appetite. I worry that at some point in the future, we will discover that causes some other long term problem, but for now, these medicines seem legitimately pretty great.


I read that semaglutide has another side effect: they suppress the dopamine reward system, which makes them effective at blunting addictions.

Although that was a study done on rats, there appears to be a good amount of anecdotes about how people on Ozempic have reduced desire to drink:

I wonder if they’ll end up using semaglutide to help with the opioid crisis as well. Hope there’s enough capacity if that’s the case…


This is true, I am one of those people. I’m not actually on this particular drug any longer (on another dual-component one however). Not only have they reduced my A1C to normal levels, it is mind-blowingly-good at encouraging weight loss as a side effect. Weight management has plagued me my whole life, and these drugs have me down to the lowest weight I’ve been in more than half a decade with no sign of stopping. And yes, lowering my weight is having a huge effect on all the other comorbidities that come with it. So I would very much like it if they could stop going out of stock, please.




I don’t understand the availability issues.

All of these drugs in the same family as semaglutide are expensive as heck. They’re all on a one dose per week schedule. A single dose of dulaglutide costs around $400, which puts them at just over $20,000/year per patient.

Since these drugs are essentially a license to mint money, and the number of potential clients is nearly half the population, you’d think they’d be increasing production capacity as fast as they could lay bricks for new factories around the globe.


Yay Capitalism!!

In other news…

Doctor: “here is a great drug that will lower your weight AND have a bunch of other benefits like not getting diabetes or cardiovascular issues. Here is a free month supply”

Me “This is GREAT. I’ve lost 5 pounds, I can track an almost exponential improvement in blood pressure, and I actually WANT to exercise and move. Hey, Insurance, will you pay for this?”




They’ve been vague about it:

Making Ozempic involves a complex process to produce semaglutide using specialised equipment in a unique manufacturing setting.

It does have to be refrigerated at all times, and according to their update demand keeps outstripping their projections.

They really do. There doesn’t seem to be a tolerance effect with them and they really work. Obesity and insulin resistance cause so much health problems in the US and around the world.


I began my weight loss journey in February of 2021. At that time I was 373 lbs., on 2 blood pressure medications and as prediabetic as one can get. Through a fast mimicking program ( full disclosure: my wife worked for them, tried the program and I joined in to support her efforts), reducing sugar and dairy from my diet (sugar/dairy-free whenever possible) and exercise (mostly a stationary exercise bike, anywhere from 30-60 minutes 5 days a week) I have dropped 165 lbs. (I am just about half the man I used to be) and am no longer on ANY medications (my A1C went from a high of 6.4 to 5.4). All this to say that there is no quick fix that will make everything suddenly all better. It was the sustainable lifestyle change that has led to my greatly improved health. Although in this case the medication appears to be a very effective tool.


I have tried to find a strong answer for this as well, but I think there are a few answers that contribute to making it less clear cut.

  1. The company is already spending a large fraction of its annual revenue on expanding production. To expand more/faster would at minimum require borrowing or other funding mechanisms, which would be riskier and not the kind of thing you’d do in advance of bringing the drug to market and seeing that the demand is real.

  2. That $20k/yr number is only so high because of scarcity and because it’s what the most-able-and-willing customers will pay. It’s not what the price would be in a world where there was 10x more available, which means it’s not the number the manufacturer would use in determining whether it’s worthwhile to build another plant.

  3. Getting a pharmaceutical plant built, and up and running, takes 3-7 years on average, and most of that timeframe has little to do with amount of money spent and is often out of the company’s control. Patent protection expires in 2026 for semaglutide and 2031 for Ozempic. So the manufacturer would be looking at 0-5 years to recoup any investment in a plant they started planning today, before they were subject to competition from generics.

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That took a lot of effort, i’m glad you’re more healthy. Keep being awesome


Same. I’m on one of these as well, and my local pharmacy has problems getting it reliably. No mail order pharmacy my insurance covers sells it either.

My wife points out that all the doses from 2.5ml up past 20ml cost the same amount (about $1100 for 4 shots; before insurance, around $25 with insurance) which she thinks is fishy.

The pharmacist thinks the shortage isn’t the drug itself but the delivery mechanism (it has a fairly complex self injecting pen style syringe). She backs that up by pointing out the same company also has shortages of many of their insulin’s that use the exact same pen but are clearly vastly cheaper drugs.

I’m not sure why they don’t shift all the pens from insulin which has a government price cap to mounjaro which has no price cap. I mean sure that would likely kill a lot of people, but it was my understanding that that doesn’t factor into big business decisions.

To be fair I don’t think it actually motivates you to exercise and move, and the weight loss is because you feel full more quickly and feel “not hungry” when deciding what to eat. So rather than going “hey I could murder a pizza, and if I get the XL Pizza I can have some for breakfast!” I’m far more like “um…I feel like eating nothing, nothing probably isn’t healthy…maybe I’ll feel hungry in an hour…and then around 8PM rather then suddenly being ravenous I’m like oh, it’s 8 and I still haven’t had dinner, I really ought to eat something…soup? sandwich? can of beans? Oh! A cucumber? Maybe I’ll eat a cucumber…or an apple…hey, if I get the apple the dog’ll gladly eat half! ok, an apple!”

It also makes you a bit gassy, which isn’t super fun, but hey, it has lowered my blood sugars from unhealthy to “you could mostly pass for a normal person”. So that rocks. Also to be fair the “nothing? nothing is good for me” is mostly the day or two after a new dose. Normally I will actually pick something out and not eat too much of it before feeling full. Like all my life I could eat all of anything. A family sized bag of chips? Sure. A block of cheese? Yep. Someone ordered a 4x4 In n’ Out to see what it looked like? No reason to waste that! Now I get full. I imagine that is what normal people are like when they eat. Like I eat, and at some point I actually get a signal to stop.

I don’t think it is so much magical as I’m kind of a little more normal now. Like I lost a super power. A harmful super power that never let me fight crime, or even commit crime, but still it was super.


I believe it can be kept at room temperature for 8 weeks. i.e. one you start that particular pen. Then again different formulations may have different requirements.

I found it also reduced my enjoyment of cooking. Not a side effect I really wanted. But all in all it has been good for me to be on it.

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Thanks! I’ll see what I can do

… well that would explain the depression thing :disappointed:

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