Celebrity weight-loss drugs may trigger dire side effect: doctor
Popular celebrity diet pills like Ozempic and Wegovy could have an adverse effect on muscle mass, a doctor has warned.
Dr. Peter Attia of Texas, who focuses on longevity science, claims to have seen patients lose muscle at an alarming rate.
Wegovy and Ozempic — drugs originally developed to treat people with type 2 diabetes — work by slowing down digestion to make people feel fuller for longer, which leads to weight loss.
Both drugs contain a peptide called semaglutide, which mimics a hormone called GLP-1, which is naturally found in the small intestine.
On Monday's episode of the podcast “Peter Attia Driven,” he spoke at length about the pros and cons of the drugs, saying he believes the FDA is not taking into account type The amount of weight people lost — whether it was muscle mass or fat — in various studies on injections.
“So, all the studies that we talk about, the FDA mandates that the primary outcome be weight loss,” Dr. Attia said in a podcast segment posted on his Instagram page. “They don't care about body composition.”
He used the example of a person who weighed 200 pounds and was supposed to lose 20 pounds to illustrate his concerns.
“No doctor worth his or her salt is going to say, ‘Well, if those 20 pounds, if 18 of them were muscle and 2 of them were fat, that would be a good thing,'” he explained.
“If 15 of those pounds are fat, or if 16 pounds are fat and 4 of them are muscle, then these people have all lost 20 pounds, they've all lost 10 percent of their body weight, but one of them has lost their lean body weight, the other had a significant improvement in body composition, and those two are not the same.”
He also said many patients were losing muscle mass in an Instagram Reel posted in November.
“Almost without exception, every one of our patients on this drug has lost muscle mass,” he claims in the video. “The speed at which they lost it astounded me.”
While the drug works and appears to safely suppress appetite, it's not a “magic drug,” the doctor noted, even expanding on that in a recent blog post.
Dr Attia declined to comment further to the Post.
In an emailed statement to The Post, a representative for Novo Nordisk, the company that makes Wegovy and Ozempic, wrote, “In clinical trials of Wegovy (semaglutide), we did not specifically study the effect of the drug on muscle mass. ”
However, they point to a study, conducted as part of the first steps in drug development, in which patients lost both fat and lean body mass.
The manufacturers acknowledge that despite the patients losing muscle, they found that overall, the patients studied had a greater proportion of muscle compared to fat mass.
“Regarding arm or leg weakness, this is not an adverse reaction listed in our U.S. full prescribing information. We recommend that any patient experiencing side effects while taking Wegovy contact their healthcare provider,” the company statement said.
The drug seems to have taken over Hollywood in recent months, as comedians Chelsea Handler and Elon Musk both took it at one point.
On a Jan. 25 episode of the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, Handler claimed her doctor dispensed the medication to “anyone.”
“I injected myself with it when I got back from vacation. I went to lunch with a girlfriend a few days later and she said, ‘I really didn't eat anything. I'm so sick, I'm taking Ozempic,'” she said at the time.
Ozempic even made an appearance at the 95th Academy Awards, where late-night host Jimmy Kimmel joked about it in his opening monologue.
Kimmel scolds: “As I look around the room, I can't help but wonder, is Ozempic right for me?”