Obesity drugs can help prevent weight regain after weight loss surgery

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A pivotal study steered by researchers from UT Southwestern Medical Center has thrown light on the promising efficacy of certain anti-obesity medications, including semaglutide, in managing weight that is regained following bariatric surgery.

Published in the esteemed journal Obesity, the study fills a critical gap in the existing research related to managing weight after undergoing bariatric surgery.

A Glimpse into the Weight of the Issue

Obesity, a prevalent concern impacting over 40% of adults in the United States, often leads patients to opt for bariatric surgery as a part of their treatment regime.

However, weight regain post-surgery is not uncommon and poses a significant threat by potentially escalating obesity-related conditions like Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.

Semaglutide vs. Liraglutide: A Comparative Insight

Semaglutide (available under brand names Ozempic and Wegovy) and liraglutide (Saxenda), two FDA-approved anti-obesity medications, belong to the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists drug class.

These medications, administered via injections (weekly for semaglutide and daily for liraglutide), function by managing appetite and satiety.

The innovative study scrutinized health records from 207 adults who had undergone bariatric surgery and were subsequently treated for obesity at UTSW’s Weight Wellness Program between 2015 and 2021.

The patient demographic was notably diverse, with the majority being women and a mix of different ethnic backgrounds.

Dr. Jaime Almandoz, the study’s senior author, accentuated, “Our research found that newer anti-obesity medications are effective for treating weight regain and optimizing body weight after bariatric surgery.”

Remarkably, the research also unveiled that medication regimes containing semaglutide showcased superior efficacy compared to those containing liraglutide, even with lower semaglutide doses than currently approved for obesity treatment.

Quantifying the Effectiveness

A year into the study, patients administered semaglutide witnessed an average body weight loss of 12.9%, compared to the 8.8% in those administered liraglutide.

Moreover, individuals in the semaglutide group were over twice as likely to lose a minimum of 10% of their body weight, a statistic that held steady regardless of variables like age, sex, or the specific type of bariatric surgery.

Dr. Almandoz affirmed, “Our results support the real-world effectiveness of GLP-1 receptor agonists for treating post-bariatric weight recurrence and suggest that semaglutide is superior to liraglutide.”

Thus, the findings from this study hold the potential to shape the application of these medications in optimizing body weight following bariatric surgery.

Moving Forward with Optimized Weight Management

The study promises not only a beacon of hope for individuals grappling with weight regain post-bariatric surgery but also a directional guide for healthcare practitioners in sculpting weight management strategies post-surgery.

The demonstrated superiority of semaglutide in this context heralds a potentially transformative impact in the realm of post-bariatric surgery care and opens avenues for further exploration and validation in larger and more diverse patient populations.

As the medical community continues to grapple with the challenges posed by obesity and its related complications, insights such as those offered by this study serve to progressively inform and enhance treatment paradigms, ensuring that strides in medical science translate into tangible benefits for patient health and wellbeing.

If you care about weight management, please read studies about diets that could boost your gut health and weight loss, and 10 small changes you can make today to prevent weight gain.

For more information about obesity, please see recent studies about low-carb keto diet could manage obesity effectively and results showing popular weight loss diet linked to heart disease and cancer.

The research findings can be found in Obesity.

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