New Weight Loss Drug an Option for Palomar Health Patients


07.20.2021

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new weight loss drug in June that has some physicians, including Palomar Health Board-Certified Physician Pegah Mashayekhi, DO, excited about its potential.
 
The Wegovy drug is receiving much publicity because it is the first drug approved for chronic weight management in adults with general obesity or overweight since 2014. In clinical trials, patients showed an average weight loss of about 15% of their body weight, compared to the control group who only lost 2.4%, double the average weight loss for other approved drugs, Dr. Mashayekhi said. In the clinical study, the control group did everything the test group did except they took a placebo instead of the drug.
 
Wegovy mimics a gut hormone, which makes you feel full for longer by delaying the emptying of your stomach and affects the area of the brain responsible for feeling hungry. The drug is administered through a shot in your stomach, once a week. Similar to insulin, patients are able to give the shot to themselves at home. Dr. Mashayekhi said patients should start seeing results in six to eight weeks and may experience full results within a 68-week time frame, the same as the trials. Costs for the drug may vary, depending on insurance.
 
Dr. Mashayekhi says that while the results of the drug give cause for optimism, patients also have to change eating habits and increase activity levels if they want great results. This is no magic pill. Those in the clinical trial (both control and test group) cut their caloric intake by 500 and exercised 150 minutes per week.
 
As a practicing physician in the Palomar Health Weight Management Center, Dr. Mashayekhi and her associates take a holistic approach to weight loss. Patients at the Weight Management Center are connected with registered dieticians and nutritionists who educate them on portion control, label reading, food choices and other critical elements of weight loss. Dr. Mashayekhi has special training in quality sleep and identifies and treats sleep issues, which can have a major impact on weight loss and overall health and well-being. Weight loss can also have a positive effect on quality sleep. Patients may also be connected with support groups who are at similar stages in their weight loss journey. Bariatric surgery is an option for some.
 
Candidates for medical weight loss include those who are committed to eating healthy and exercising but haven’t achieved the weight loss they were hoping for and/or those who didn’t get results from other weight loss programs, Dr. Mashayekhi said. Wegovy is designed for those with a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or greater who have at least one weight-related ailment or for patients with a BMI of 30 or greater. The CDC has a calculator to find your BMI.

For those who want to inquire about medical weight loss, consult your primary care physician, seek out a medical weight loss professional such as Dr. Mashayekhi or contact the Palomar Health Weight Management Center at (858) 613-4022.

Photo Caption: Drug available only under a physician’s care and must accompany other lifestyle changes to be effective.


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