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Syringe in, be thinner?

The ““slim­ming syringe”” with the drug semaglutide has been the talk of the town all year. It works like the gut hormone GLP‑1 by incre­asing the amount of insulin released after a meal, helping to control blood glucose levels. It also reduces appe­tite and delays gastric emptying. The media were less inte­rested in its use in type 2 diabe­tics — semaglutide has been approved for this indi­ca­tion in Europe since 2018 under the drug name Ozempic — than in its use as a “life­style drug.” This is because, accor­ding to studies, with the so-called “weight loss injec­tion,” an average weight reduc­tion of around 15 percent of the initial weight is possible even in non-diabetics.

However, with this figure it is often forgotten that for this success it is not done with the syringe alone: A parallel basic therapy with nutri­tional, exer­cise, beha­vi­oral inter­ven­tions is neces­sary. And those who do not suffer from obesity had better not have too high hopes, because it seems that the weight loss decreases sharply with lower body fat. Moreover, like any drug, semaglutide can have side effects, not to mention as yet unknown long-term consequences.

The media hype also resulted in a supply shortage this year due to off-label use of Ozempic. Like­wise, coun­ter­feit products were on the market. Although another semaglutide product with an obesity indi­ca­tion has been approved since early 2022 (trade name Wegovy), it was not available in Germany until July this year.

By now, sema­tu­glide has found an even more successful successor: Tirze­pa­tide (trade name Moun­jaro) mimics the effect of two intestinal hormones that influence satiety and sugar meta­bo­lism (GLP‑1 and GIP). Tirze­pa­tide appears to be supe­rior to semaglutide in weight loss: severely over­weight diabe­tics lost about 27 percent of their initial weight after 12 weeks of an intro­duc­tory diet and life­style changes with tirze­pa­tide admi­nis­tra­tion over 72 weeks. Tirze­pa­tide has been approved as an anti­dia­betic since September 2022, and a marke­ting autho­riza­tion appli­ca­tion has already been submitted for the obesity indication.

Losing pounds in your sleep is not possible even with these drugs, yet they certainly offer unpre­ce­dented support. But beware: after a wonderful weight loss, an almost as fast regain could follow. Because if the injec­tion is discon­tinued, the yoyo effect is not far away even after Sema­tu­glid, Tirze­patid & Co…