The new wave of weight management medications has the industry divided and stark opinions have already formed. Some argue these products present a paradigm shift to combat the obesity epidemic. Others urge caution, claiming the drugs present a greater risk than reward. A third faction dismiss the products altogether, espousing GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1s) for weight loss as a “vanity drug” trend for the rich.
The real answer is we don’t know yet — the story of GLP-1s for weight loss is yet to be written. Below, we walk through five “catalysts” or game changing moments we’re monitoring over the next one to two years that will influence the future use of weight management medications, organized by how likely we think they are to occur.
Weight-management drug competition is ramping up. Though currently only one GLP-1 has been approved for weight management (Novo Nordisk’s semaglutide—also known as Wegovy), early reports from Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide show that the drug may outperform semaglutide in recipients’ percentage of weight loss and percentage of lean muscle mass retained. Furthermore, additional anti-obesity drugs are likely to hit the market in coming years that appeal even more to patients. If the FDA approves these drugs, they will likely have a positive impact on the perception of GLP-1s overall and ease some of the access and price concerns held today.
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