The shot to lose weight without effort: what’s behind the anti-obesity drug

How bad can we go to farc to achieve a healthy weight? If before losing weight was a fact related to health, now it is (also) one symbolic status linked – for a change – to the name of VIPs and wealthy people. Very wealthy. What is it about? Is called semaglutide the drug developed for a decade to treat type 2 diabetes capable of the miracle desired by the most: to lose weight, but without dieting. Instead, it is an injectable medicine, developed for a decade to treat type 2 diabetes in recent months, of the fight against obesity.

March 4 is World Obesity Day
March 4 is World Obesity Day


The pharmaceutical company that patented it, the Danish Novo Nordisk, has seen its market value double in the last two years. The (cautious) bet of the scientific community is that it can solve the obesity pandemic which, it is estimated, will affect one inhabitant of the planet out of two in 2035. In the meantime it has become the obscure object of desire, so much so that overseas they use it ‘off- label’, that is outside the indications of the technical data sheet, characters of the caliber of Elon Musk (who admits it), various celebrities (even if they distance themselves) and dozens of influencers, so much so that it is often nowhere to be found in American pharmacies. In the United States, in 2022, it was the 129th most prescribed drug, to 4 million patients. An appropriate neologism was also born, fsemaglutide accia, to indicate the marks on the face that the sudden weight loss leaves. Feature that has been contested on social media, among other things, a Khloe Kardashian which denies. Elon Muskresponding to one of his interlocutor who asked him how he could be so fit, he even boasted about it.

How to use

Elon Musk has admitted to having resorted to semaglutìde, the drug developed for a decade to treat type 2 diabetes, to lose weight
Elon Musk has admitted to having used semaglutìde – the drug developed a decade ago to treat type 2 diabetes – to lose weight

The ‘sting of thinness’ – semaglutìde is administered with subcutaneous injections into the abdominal fat – is due to serendipity. Indicated for type 2 diabetics, it has caused weight loss of up to 15% in patients. And it’s from November 2022 a study by New England Medical Journal which compares the effects, on resistant obesity, to the bariatric surgery. So many doctors in the United States have started prescribing it even to those who are not obese, nor diabetic, nor pre-diabetic. Semaglutìde is a receptor agonist of glp-1, a hormone produced by the intestine which stimulates insulin secretion. Improves glycemic control, inhibits hunger and slows down stomach emptying. In short, it makes you lose weight. In the newspapers, on social media or at the water dispenser, the gossip about injections that can help melt 10-20% of your body weight is hard to avoid.

In the photo, provided by Novo Nordisk shows the packaging of the company's drug Wegovy ( AP)
In the photo, provided by Novo Nordisk shows the packaging of the company’s drug Wegovy ( AP)

Thanks to its miraculous ‘properties’, it is almost impossible to find in American pharmacies and not because cases of diabetes 2 are on the rise. In reality, semaglutìde, the drug most commonly used to treat diabetics patented by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is all the rage among overseas celebrities because it allows you to lose weight quickly without any effort.
Elon Musk he admitted to having used it to lose weight recently, while other characters such as Kim and Khloé Kardashian hide behind a “no comment”, but in the meantime would use the semaglutìde punctures to slim down quickly.
Also in the USA, the best-known drug based on semaglutìde even has a TV commercial complete with a jingle (in Italy, on the other hand, the legislation on drug advertising also prohibits an article like this, for example, from mentioning its name; on TikTok is found, an indication, among other things, of the almost absence of deontology in information on social networks).

The situation in Italy

In the Belpaese – insiders assure – there is no shortage of people who he obtains it via the Internet, at your own risk and peril, or through friends in the States, as it is in any case a medicine that is administered only after a medical prescription (from a diabetologist). And even when bought ‘off label’, it goes taken under medical supervision: in fact, there are no complete studies on what happens when non-diabetic subjects take it. The effects range from diarrhea to nausea, tiredness, vomiting.

Semaglutìde is the name of the drug developed over a decade to treat type 2 diabetes capable of the miracle desired by the most: lose weight, but without dieting
Semaglutìde is the name of the drug developed over a decade to treat type 2 diabetes capable of the miracle desired by the most: lose weight, but without dieting

But in the United States it’s a completely different world and a real mania has spread among the well-known faces with the hunt for the magic needle, which in the meantime other pharmaceutical companies have put into production. Among the American celebrities who use it, there would be the Kardashian sisterswho prefer theOzempicwhile the tycoon Elon Musk – in a tweet – he admitted that he had to thank intermittent fasting and Wegovy, another brand of semaglutide. Among lovers of prick that makes you lose weight effortlessly there would also be American singers Cardi B And Nicki Minaj and many others, who however would keep the secret. Meanwhile, on Tik Tok the hashtag #ozempic has 433.5 million views and as many interactions, a sign of an important phenomenon.

The interactions with many drugs or with pregnancy are not known. And when you stop using it, the weight comes back. Absolute ban on its use to lose weight in the absence of overt pathology, while semaglutìde bodes well in terms of the fight againstresistant obesity.

Costs, forecasts and precedents

Over 40% of Americans weigh enough to qualify as patients for these drugs
Over 40% of Americans weigh enough to qualify as patients for these drugs

Cost per hour ranges from $900 to $1,300 per month in the USA, in Italy a little less. But the market, writes theEconomist which dedicates its most recent cover to semaglutìde, “sta infuriando“. Public health interventions are expected that could lead to larger and therefore less costly production. Amgen, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Eli Lilly are working on similar molecules. Over time, the patents will expire, and the drug “could become as common as anti-cholesterol statins“, writes the British weekly. From fat burning ‘shortcut’ reserved for the rich and famous, to ‘panacea’ for mere mortals. When used with corn salis. The history of weight-loss drugs is a sad one: in 1934 as many as 100,000 Americans used dinitrophenol to lose excess pounds. Toxic, the product causes cataracts and occasionally death. According to one estimate, 25,000 people were blinded from reckless use, which was banned as a drug for human use in 1938. But deaths still continue today as people are still drawn to buying online

What countries can do to tackle obesity

WHO recalls that “tackling obesity is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and is also a priority mentioned in the WHO European Work Program 2020-2025”. In particular, the World Health Organization outlines some specific policies that show “promise in reducing levels of obesity and overweight.” Among these are: fiscal interventions such as the ‘sugar tax‘ and healthy food subsidies; restrictions to the marketing of unhealthy foods to the children; improving access to obesity and overweight management services in primary health care as part of universal health coverage; efforts to improve diet and physical activity throughout the life course, including for women in the pre-conception and postnatal phases pregnancy; and further commitment to the promotion ofbreastfeedingschool interventions and to create environments that improve access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity.

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