Obesity, hope for new drug treatment

On the occasion of World Obesity Day on Saturday 4 March, one in two people in France is affected by obesity and overweight. In particular: a sedentary lifestyle or consumption of processed products.

Health: Increasing number of obese young adults, according to an Inserm study

Faced with multiple factors that trigger this complex chronic disease, multidisciplinary management is necessary. The first area of ​​action is related to eating behavior or physical activity. Bariatric surgery (altering the anatomy of the digestive system) may also help some patients. Regarding the drugs for treating obesity, many have been withdrawn from the market so far because they caused too many side effects and were not tolerated by a large number of patients.

Experimental Phase Treatment

But in the past year, an experimental new drug approach has sparked hope in the medical community and among those affected by obesity. These molecules, originally developed to treat diabetes, increase satiety, according to a study published by Inserm on Feb. 20. They are currently associated with weight loss of more than 10 percent of total body weight in more than two-thirds of clinical trial participants.

Despite these initial promising results, Rufin Louhou, a physician at Burke Maritime Hospital—who specializes in the management of obesity—would like to point out that “These treatments are still in the research phase and need to go through different stages before they can be prescribed.” If the first results obtained with a molecule called “GLP1” appear to have a significant effect on patients’ weight loss, “Past experience with drug treatment of obesity shows that you have to take a step back”, Suggest a doctor. Furthermore, obesity is often caused by multiple factors including eating behaviour, social and economic environment or genetic factors. so, “It is impossible to find a drug that solves all problems at the same time”, Rufin Louhou recalls.

A new healing weapon

Laura Aviles is also a physician at Burke Maritime Hospital. for her, “The medical approach will become a tool, but therapeutic education will remain essential when caring for patients”. The possibility of any rebound effects must also be ruled out. If weight loss is proven to be possible with this drug, it must be ensured that when the intake is stopped, “The patient did not regain the weight he lost”warns David Norca, a doctor at the department of digestive and bariatric surgery at Montpellier University Hospital.

For the circulation of these drugs within the territory, “We have to wait at least five years”, the surgeon explained.And, where traffic permits, drug methods must “Must be used in conjunction with changes in diet and physical activity”.

In early March, the US National Agency for the Safety of Medicines (ANSM) and health insurance agencies also issued warnings about the drug’s abuse. After it was promoted by social media influencers, some people used it for weight loss purposes, although it was only used to treat type 2 diabetes.

If caution is warranted in the face of this drug treatment, which is still being evaluated, the latest data offer great hope to the medical community. For David Nokas, founder of the Coalition Against Obesity, “The more healing weapons we combine, the more effective we are”.

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