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Beyond the Scale: Exploring the Unseen Dangers of Anti-Obesity Drugs

ByDave Stopher

Apr 25, 2024

When you look in the mirror, do you wish there were some changes you could make to your body? To perhaps make it thinner, curvier, or more shapely? Well, you’re not alone – it’s a ceaseless pursuit most of us are part of today. 

In a world crippled with an unhealthy obsession with one’s physique, anti-obesity drugs emerge as miraculous solutions. They promise to carve away excess weight and sculpt the body into a more desirable form. 

An article published by Yahoo! Finance highlighted how the global anti-obesity drugs market was growing at an alarming rate. While it’s currently valued at USD 11,540.2 million, in the next decade (by 2034), it’s set to surpass a CAGR of 21.2%.

This steadily increased focus on weight management symbolizes a monumental societal shift not only toward prioritizing health and wellness but also toward conforming to unrealistic standards of appearance. 

In this article, we aim to shed light on the unspoken truths of anti-obesity drugs and empower people to make informed choices about their health and well-being.

The Intended Benefits of Anti-Obesity Drugs 

Anti-obesity drugs are designed to address the complex mechanisms involved in weight regulation. Among their intended benefits are:

Suppressing Appetite

TruLaw notes that anti-obesity drugs often target the body’s hunger signals and cravings, helping you feel fuller for longer periods and reducing the desire to overeat. 

Appetite suppressants are a prime example of such drugs. These work by interfering with the hormones in your body, with the goal of either making you feel full faster or less hungry altogether. By affecting how your body feels hunger, appetite suppressants minimize your calorific intake, making the process of weight loss significantly easier for you.

Wondering how? With their help, you can successfully stick to a reduced-calorie diet, thereby achieving a negative energy balance necessary for weight loss.

Enhancing Metabolic Rate 

Many anti-obesity drugs work by enhancing metabolic rate, increasing your body’s energy expenditure even at rest. By stimulating your central nervous system or targeting specific metabolic pathways, these drugs boost metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day. 

This metabolic enhancement can contribute significantly to weight loss efforts by promoting greater calorie expenditure and facilitating fat loss.

Regulating Fat Absorption

Some anti-obesity drugs act on the digestive system to inhibit the absorption of dietary fats, reducing the amount of fat that is absorbed and stored in your body. 

By blocking enzymes responsible for breaking down fats, these medications limit fat absorption, leading to a decrease in overall calorie intake and facilitating weight loss. 

This regulation of fat absorption provides an additional mechanism for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

The Hidden Health Risks of Anti-Obesity Drugs 

While anti-obesity drugs offer promising benefits in the pursuit of weight loss, they also carry a range of hidden health risks that warrant careful consideration. 

The hidden health risks of consuming anti-obesity drugs are broadly categorized into three sections. We’ve mentioned them below: 

Gastrointestinal Risks

Anti-obesity drugs can disrupt the normal functioning of the digestive system, leading to gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation. 

These symptoms may arise due to the drug’s impact on digestion and nutrient absorption, causing discomfort and potentially interfering with daily activities.

In some cases, severe gastrointestinal complications such as pancreatitis or gallbladder disease might also occur, necessitating medical attention and discontinuation of the medication.

Gastroparesis – or stomach paralysis – is one such example of the hidden risks of taking anti-obesity drugs. It was recently found that the consumption of Wegovy and Ozempic – a diabetes medication that’s popularly used for weight loss – has led to gastroparesis in several patients. 

Many of them have even come forward to file an Ozempic lawsuit, with both drugs currently being under investigation. While the FDA has only approved Ozempic for people with Type-2 Diabetes, its usage for weight management has very little scientific foundation. 

The usage of Ozempic – as well as its compounded versions – has also been linked to cyclic vomiting syndrome, gall bladder disease, and other serious health conditions besides gastroparesis. 

As an extension of the lawsuit, Novo Nordisk – a global healthcare company – is suing medical spas, wellness, and weight loss clinics for selling compounded versions of Ozempic illegally. 

Cardiovascular Complications 

Certain anti-obesity drugs may pose risks to cardiovascular health, particularly in people with pre-existing heart conditions or risk factors such as hypertension or high cholesterol. 

These medications can elevate heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the strain on the cardiovascular system and raising the risk of heart-related complications such as palpitations, arrhythmias, or even heart attacks. 

Additionally, some anti-obesity drugs have been associated with adverse effects on heart valves, further highlighting the importance of monitoring cardiovascular health during treatment.

Psychological Effects 

The use of anti-obesity drugs can also impact your psychological well-being, potentially leading to mood disturbances, anxiety, or depression. These effects may arise from the drug’s influence on neurotransmitter levels in the brain, altering mood regulation and emotional stability. 

A Health Central article published recently highlights the unpredictability of anti-obesity drugs on consumer’s mental health. Suicidal thoughts, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, and addiction are just some potential threats of using these drugs on your psyche. It also notes how people tend to regain weight as soon as they go off them, which also casts a shadow on their mood and behavior. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are anti-obesity drugs safe for long-term use?

A number of anti-obesity drugs that seemed to work well for decades were discontinued in 2020 for the side effects of their long-term use. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid adherence to these medications for longer than six months at a time. 

Can I get weight loss pills if I’m not overweight?

No, you can’t. According to the FDA guidelines, only people with a BMI greater than 30, with other obesity-related conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, may consider opting for anti-obesity drugs.

At what age can you start taking weight loss pills?

Several anti-obesity drugs have been approved by the FDA as safe for kids over 12 years old, as long as they’re being taken under the direction of a qualified physician. 

To sum it all up, our journey beyond the scale today has illuminated the complexities of anti-obesity drugs, revealing both their potential benefits and hidden health risks. 

As we navigate the landscape of weight loss pharmacology, it becomes evident that achieving a healthier body goes beyond mere numbers on the scale. It requires a holistic approach that prioritizes both physical and mental well-being.