How to decide if weight-loss drugs are for you

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024
How to decide if weight-loss drugs are for you
Good Morning America examines if the medications being used for weight loss are right for those who struggle to reach a healthy weight.

How should those struggling to reach a healthy weight decide which weight loss intervention is right for them?

ABC News looked at three options: lifestyle changes, bariatric surgery and the new medications being used for weight loss.

Stephanie DeMore of Washington state said when she hit 260 pounds, she knew something had to change.

"I started having problems with high blood pressure pre-diabetes," DeMore said.

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After years of trying diet and exercise, she said, nothing seemed to help.

"I was frustrated, super frustrated, and very miserable with everything," DeMore said.

DeMore talked to her doctor about getting on Mounjaro, a diabetes medication being used off-label by some for weight loss.

"I've lost 93 pounds since March, and I feel absolutely amazing. I do I feel this honestly has been a godsend," DeMore said.

Since DeMore started Mounjaro, another drug, Zepbound, which has the same active ingredient, called tirzepatide, has been approved for weight loss, joining Wegovy as an approved weight loss injectable.

"What we're seeing right now is huge revolution in the treatment of metabolic disease," said Weill-Cornell Comprehensive Weight Control Center Director Dr. Louis Aronne.

Aronne is an obesity specialist, and helps patients determine which weight loss intervention is right for them.

"I think people who have been trying for years to lose weight and haven't been able to succeed are excellent candidates for treatment like this, and what they will realize is that it's not their fault. There's something physical that's going on in the background," Aronne said.

Aronne said candidates should have a BMI of 30 or if they have a pre-existing condition, like high blood pressure or cholesterol, their BMI can be as low as 27.

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Aronne added that these drugs are not for everyone. It's not for people who have an extra 10-12 pounds that they just want to get off quickly.

He said there are some people with higher BMIs who are better candidates for bariatric surgery.

"We see patients who don't respond to these medicines. Their brains, we believe, are resistant to even these brand new GLP ones. We're not sure why that is," Aronne said.

But for DeMore, her healthier weight, thanks to medications, has been the right fit and a welcome relief.