Can a Drug Help You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle?

Millions of people inject the new “miraculous” weight loss drugs targeting Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) such as Wegovy, Ozempic, and Mounjaro. In mere years after the launch of these drugs, their health benefits became apparent. Obese people started rapidly losing weight, and multiple studies demonstrated the reduction of risk of chronic diseases. The hype around these drugs propelled their makers to the top of the pharma Olympus and other pharmaceutical companies are spending billions on buying and developing the next generation of GLP-1 agonists that may be administered orally to catch up. However, as many not-so-obese people began taking the drugs for aesthetic reasons, doctors all over the world started noticing rapid losses in their patients’ muscle mass and voicing their concerns. Loss of muscle mass is indeed a major side effect of GLP-1 agonists. The STEP 1 and SUSTAIN 8 of semaglutide trials found 39–40% of weight lost on the GLP-1 drugs was lean mass.

Often, twenty-five percent or more of the weight loss on these drugs is muscle. To understand this problem deeper, I called a celebrity physician, Dr. Nicole Sirotin, the Chair of Preventive Medicine in the Medical Subspecialties Institute and leads the Executive Health Program at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. And that is a place where some of the world’s super-rich go to avoid getting sick.

Excerpted from Forbes

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