WeightWatchers, a 60-year-old diet company, this week announced it will acquire a remote healthcare company or telehealth which has a service for prescribing anti-obesity drugs to its growing virtual clientele.
The $132 million deal with Sequence is just the latest commercial boost for market share for the prescription drug that promises drastic weight loss. For months, the diabetes drug Ozempic has been talked about by celebrities on social media, even though it is not approved for use for weight loss. Demand for the drug has fueled a shortage.
WeightWatchers will introduce its approximately 3.5 million customers to a new generation of medication that goes beyond behavior changes such as gym workouts and diet tracking. Obesity experts say the drug could revolutionize the treatment of a disease that affects 42 percent of American adults.
Following are the promises of these new drugs and warnings about their use.
These most talked about drugs are from a class of drugs called GLP-1 agonists. Two of the most popular, Ozempic and Wegovy, are different doses of the same drug, semaglutide.
Ozempic has been used for six years to treat type 2 diabetes and is not approved for use for weight loss. Wegovy was approved to treat obesity in adults in 2021, and late last year it was used to treat children and adolescents aged 12 and over.
Doctors prescribe the drug only for people with diabetes, or for people who are obese or overweight with additional health problems. Most of these types of medication are given by injection on a weekly basis.
These drugs work by mimicking the action of hormones in the gut that react after humans consume food, increasing insulin distribution, blocking sugar production in the liver and reducing appetite. [my/rs]
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