What you need to know about GLP-1 weight loss drugs

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Relatively new glucagon-like peptide-1 drugs have become an increasingly popular class of medications for their duality in treating type 2 diabetes and managing weight in overweight and obese patients.

Dr. Jon Schram, a bariatric expert with Corewell Health, said some of those GLP-1 medications are known more commonly as Saxenda, Wegovy and Mounjaro.

“They’re medicines that actually work by affecting gut hormones. We now know that obesity is a disease, it’s a disease caused by a deficiency of certain gut hormones or too much of certain gut hormones,” said Schram.

The way doctors think about obesity has changed over time.

“(Obesity) cannot be fixed with just a lifestyle change or a diet, it actually requires an aggressive treatment program. For some patients, that may be something as simple as a medication. But for people who have significant weight to lose, they may need something more — maybe an operation or a complex operation or a combination of that,” said Schram.

He said for a patient with 30-50 pounds to lose, a GLP-1 may be the most effective program. For patients who need to lose 75-100 pounds, medication may not be right. In that case, a surgical treatment may be the best option.

Most importantly, Schram says, ask your doctor what may be right for you.

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