The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new weight-loss medication, Zepbound, which is a weekly injectable drug that promises to be one of the most effective yet. This promising new drug belongs to the GLP-1 agonists class of medications, and works to reduce food cravings and improve how the body breaks down sugar and fat, ultimately leading to significant weight loss results. Clinical trials found that 52 pounds, on average, were lost per participant, placing the weight loss results near those achieved with bariatric surgery.
Eligible adults with a body mass index of 30 or more, or at least 27 with another weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure or sleep apnea, can take Zepbound. However, the cost may be a barrier, as the drug is priced at about $1,060 for a month’s supply. Insurance companies often refuse to cover weight loss medications, and Medicare is prohibited by law from doing so. Patients experiencing symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts should stop taking Zepbound, and it is also not recommended for pregnant individuals.
Zepbound is expected to be available for prescription in the United States after Thanksgiving, and although the anticipated high demand might lead to initial shortages, Lilly said that the supply is expected to increase through 2024. The company also stated that they are working with insurers to help improve affordability of the medication, offering several discount programs. Despite the promising potential of Zepbound, it is important to be aware of potential side effects, including gastrointestinal problems, hair loss, and the risk of stomach paralysis.