Experimental drugs aim to surpass weight-loss stars like Ozempic and Wegovy | CNN (2023)

Experimental drugs aim to surpass weight-loss stars like Ozempic and Wegovy | CNN (1)

Next-generation drugs now in development may be easier and more convenient to take, turbo-charge weight loss and offer additional health benefits.


The new crop of drugs on the market for type 2 diabetes and obesity, including popular medications like Ozempic and Wegovy, is more effective for weight loss than any previous medications, but doctors and researchers say there’s still room for improvement.

(Video) WeGovy, Ozempic or Mounjaro? How a new wave of weight loss drugs could transform the diet industry

Next-generation options now in development may be easier and more convenient to take, turbo-charge weight loss and offer additional health benefits.

“This is all really good news,” said Dr. Louis Aronne, director of the Comprehensive Weight Control Center at Weill Cornell Medicine. “We need drugs that work in different ways.”

Some of the most advanced experimental drugs are medicines that can be taken in pill form, rather than as injections. Ozempic and Mounjaro, which are currently approved for type 2 diabetes, and Wegovy, which is cleared for weight loss, are all given as self-injections once a week.

Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy, has a daily tablet version of the same drug, called semaglutide, approved for diabetes and is testing it in a higher dose for weight loss. In late-stagestudy resultsreleased this week, the drug was found to help people lose 15% of their body weight over 68 weeks, compared with 2.4% for people who took a placebo.

FILE PHOTO: A selection of injector pens for the Wegovy weight loss drug are shown in this photo illustration in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., March 31, 2023. REUTERS/Jim Vondruska/Illustration/File Photo Jim Vondruska/Reuters Novo Nordisk limits Wegovy doses for new patients as demand outpaces supply

Novo Nordisk said the results, which haven’t been published in a peer-reviewed journal, were similar to the weight loss seen with injectable Wegovy. The side effects were also similar, the company said; gastrointestinal issues like nausea and diarrhea are most common with this class of drugs, known as GLP-1 analogues. Novo Nordisk said the “vast majority were mild to moderate and diminished over time.”

The company said it plans to file for regulatory approval in the US and Europe this year, and availability would depend on how it prioritizes its medicinesand on manufacturing capacity; Wegovy is currently being rationed for some patients as demand outpaces supply.

However, despite coming in tablet form, oral semaglutide – sold under the brand name Rybelsus for type 2 diabetes – can still be complicated to take, doctors say.

(Video) Doctors explain how Wegovy and Ozempic work | 60 Minutes

“Patients taking Rybelsus have to be instructed about strict requirements before and after oral administration,” said Dr. Priya Jaisinghani, an endocrinologist and obesity medicine specialist at NYU Langone Health. They can’t eat, drink anything other than 4 ounces of water or take other medicines within 30 minutes of taking the drug, or its effects could be diminished, she said.

Other oral GLP-1 drugs are in development that can be taken with food, including two from Pfizer. The company publisheddatain the journal JAMA Network Open this week on use of a twice-daily pill called danuglipron in people with type 2 diabetes. The midstage trial found that the medicine lowered blood sugar and led to weight loss at higher doses over 16 weeks that researchers said was comparable to other drugs in the class. Side effects were also similar.

Pfizer has a second experimental medicine in development, lotiglipron, that’s designed to be taken orally once a day. The company plans to choose one of the medicines to advance into late-stage clinical trials in both diabetes and obesity, expected to start next year.

Nearly two dozen other experimental drugs are now in development that are designed to be taken as pills for obesity and related conditions, according to research from financial firm TD Cowen.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 17: In this photo illustration, boxes of the diabetes drug Ozempic rest on a pharmacy counter on April 17, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. Ozempic was originally approved by the FDA to treat people with Type 2 diabetes- who risk serious health consequences without medication. In recent months, there has been a spike in demand for Ozempic, or semaglutide, due to its weight loss benefits, which has led to shortages. Some doctors prescribe Ozempic off-label to treat obesity. (Photo illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images) Mario Tama/Getty Images How promising are new drugs to treat obesity and who should — and shouldn’t — use them? Our medical analyst explains

“A pill, of course, would be more attractive to most people,” said Dr. Willa Hsueh, director of the Diabetes and Metabolism Research Center at the Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. In addition to avoiding injections, pill versions could be better if people need to stop taking the drug because of side effects, because they wouldn’t last as long, she noted. A pill could also be helpful for weight maintenance once people have reached a certain level of weight loss on injectable drugs, she said.

But Hsueh also pointed out that “some patients prefer a once-a-week injection rather than a pill, especially if they already take a handful of pills daily.”

There’s no shortage of injectable drugs being developed as well, with many attempting to surpass the weight loss seen with currently available options.

(Video) The new Ozempic craze & its big problem

Eli Lilly’s tirzepatide, approved for type 2 diabetes as Mounjaro, led to weight loss of 21% at the highest dose over a 72-week clinical trial on obesity, according toresultspublished last year in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The drug is expected to receive FDA approval for weight loss in people without diabetes this year or in early 2024. It builds on the 15% weight loss seen for Wegovy by adding a target in addition to GLP-1, called GIP.

“Where semaglutide has a GLP-1 effect and tirzepatide has two effects, GIP and GLP-1 – so that has greater weight loss – [in] the next generation of drugs, some will have three effects,” Weill Cornell’s Aronne said.

One of these medications, also in development at Lilly, aims at a target called glucagon in addition to GIP and GLP-1. Aronne, who has served as primary investigator on obesity clinical trials and consults for companies developing weight loss drugs, calls it “triple G.”

“That seems like it’ll go beyond 25% weight loss,” Aronne said.

Lilly said it expects to start late-stage trials of the medicine, called retatrutide, this year.

Ozempic prescriptions can be easy to get online. Its popularity for weight loss is hurting those who need it most

If it’s successful,it may compete with a combination drug from Novo Nordisk known as CagriSema, a combination of semaglutide and a compound called cagrilintide that works by stimulating a hormone called amylin to produce additional weight loss.

(Video) Why Ozempic for weight loss has doctors concerned

“We’re going to have more treatments that are even more effective,” Aronne said.

Other medicines still earlier in development aim to improve fat loss in the liver, which could help with conditions like nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, which Aronne said is becoming a major cause of liver failure and a need for transplants. Another experimental drug targets a receptor in muscle to prevent lean body mass loss as part of overall weight loss.

It could be years before many of these drugs reach the market. Some are likely to fail in clinical trials. But the field is moving quickly, and some experts see the current therapies as only the beginning of a renaissance in drug discovery for weight management and related applications.

“We’re in the first inning,” said Raymond Stevens, chief executive of biotech companyStructure Therapeutics, which is working on oral GLP-1s. “We’re still learning so much about exactly how to titrate the medicines, how much weight loss should certain individuals have. So it’s the early days.”

Oral drugs may provide an option for titrating, or increasing the dose over time, that doesn’t cause as many gastrointestinal side effects as people may have with injectable versions, Stevens said.

Hsueh, of the Ohio State University, noted that 5% to 10% of patients can’t tolerate the nausea, vomiting and other side effects that the currently available drugs can cause.

Get CNN Health's weekly newsletter

Sign up here to get The Results Are In with Dr. Sanjay Guptaevery Tuesday from the CNN Health team.

(Video) What’s it like taking Ozempic? Patients share their stories

But the first thing that she said needs to be improved about the medicines is their insurance coverage. She says many insurers consider weight loss cosmetic and refuse to cover the drugs, which are priced at more than $1,000 per month.

A clinical trial expected to have results this summer may change that if it succeeds, Aronne said. Novo Nordisk is testing whether Wegovy helps reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in people who are overweight or obese but who don’t have type 2 diabetes – where semaglutide has shown a protective effect already.

“I think it’s really critical” to test the degree to which these medicines have protective health effects, Aronne said, “and very exciting that we’re at this point.”


What is the sister drug to Ozempic for weight loss? ›

Right now, the only GLP-1 agonist approved for weight loss is Wegovy, the sister drug of Ozempic. These drugs act to suppress appetite, slow the rate at which the stomach empties and control blood sugar.

What is better than Ozempic for weight loss? ›

Mounjaro is a more effective drug than Ozempic. As demonstrated above, tirzepatide (the active ingredient in Mounjaro) leads to more clinically significant weight loss and blood sugar reductions than semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic).

What is a weight loss alternative to Wegovy? ›

  • PhenQ ~ Top-rated OTC Wegovy Alternative. PhenQ is a professionally proven appetite suppressant and fat burner for weight reduction. ...
  • PhenGold. PhenGold is an all-around weight loss supplement that also offers other benefits. ...
  • LeanBean. LeanBean is a nutritional supplement created exclusively for women. ...
  • PrimeShred.
Mar 22, 2023

What is the new weight loss injection similar to Ozempic? ›

Wegovy and Ozempic mimic a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1, which targets areas of the brain that regulate appetite, according to the FDA authorization.

Does Kim Kardashian take Ozempic? ›

(No member of the Kardashian family has publically said they use Ozempic.) Ozempic is the brand name for the medication semaglutide, which treats diabetes by balancing out hormones like insulin.

Did Kardashians use Ozempic to lose weight? ›

Khloe Kardashian And These Celebrities Have Admitted To Using Ozempic For Weight Loss. The significant increase in popularity of the weight loss medicine has prevented people who really need the weight loss medication from accessing it.

Can I get Mounjaro for weight loss? ›

Mounjaro may be prescribed off-label for weight loss in adults with or without type 2 diabetes.

What is the new weight loss drug Mounjaro? ›

Mounjaro was first approved in May 2022. It belongs to the same class of drugs — glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists — as another FDA-approved weight loss drug called semaglutide (Wegovy). Semaglutide is sold under the brand name Ozempic when prescribed for type 2 diabetes.

What is the next best thing to Ozempic? ›

Many people also experience weight loss, although these medications are not FDA-approved for weight loss. When it comes to choosing GLP-1 agonist medications, there are several available alternatives to Ozempic, including Bydureon (exenatide), Victoza (liraglutide), and Trulicity (dulaglutide).

What is the average weight loss per month on Wegovy? ›

That's 5.5 lbs per month (1.3 lbs per week). Although impressive, many people lose more than that with diet and exercise.

Will I gain weight if I stop using Wegovy? ›

When you stop taking Wegovy, you'll stop getting any positive or negative effects you may have gotten from the drug. That means you'll get relief from any side effects you may have been experiencing, but you'll also stop losing weight (and will likely regain at least some of the weight you've lost).

Do you lose more weight with Saxenda or Wegovy? ›

The results showed that, when combined with diet and exercise, people taking Wegovy had lost significantly more weight compared to those taking Saxenda. The Wegovy group lost an average of roughly 16% of their initial body weight. This is compared to 6% in the Saxenda group.

What is the best injection for weight loss? ›

4 Best injections for weight loss [2023 Review]
  • Saxenda.
  • Semaglutide.
  • Ozempic.
  • Wegovy.
Jan 20, 2023

How do I get Mounjaro? ›

Text "MJ" to 85099 to download your free kit to help you get started on Mounjaro. Get more information about Mounjaro, sent to your inbox. Reach out by calling 1-833-807-6576.

Why is Mounjaro better than Ozempic? ›

Mounjaro works better to lower A1C compared to Ozempic

People receiving any dose of Mounjaro had a greater reduction in hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C or A1C) compared to people receiving Ozempic. A1C is your average blood glucose levels over 3 months. If you need more help lowering your A1C, Mounjaro can be a good choice.

What is the TikTok weight loss medication? ›

As a result, Ozempic has been touted on the Internet as a miracle diet drug. On TikTok, the hashtag #Ozempic already has over 600 million views and counting. Even Twitter's new boss, the billionaire Elon Musk, has credited Ozempic - alongside a similar drug, Wegovy - as one of the reasons he shed 13 kg.

What diabetic pill did Kim Kardashian take to lose weight? ›

The drug is garnering a lot of attention as a way to lose weight on social media platforms such as TikTok. The story so far: The dramatic weight loss of Kim and Khloe Kardashian and other celebrities has been rumoured to be the work of an injectable drug, Ozempic, that's been called 'Hollywood's worst kept secret'.

What shot did Kim Kardashian take to lose weight? ›

Twitter boss Elon Musk has said he uses the drug to stay in shape, while Kim Kardashian is rumoured to have used semaglutide to shed 7kg to fit into a dress once worn by Marilyn Monroe.

Has anyone lost a lot of weight on Ozempic? ›

About a third of people who take Ozempic for weight loss will lose 10% or more of their body weight. Most people should expect to lose at least 5% of their starting body weight when using Ozempic for weight loss.

Why do some people lose weight on Ozempic and some don t? ›

Each person has a different starting weight, metabolic weight and possibly even different underlying health conditions. Once you start on an injectable medication, you may find it takes a few weeks to start seeing results, although some people may see changes in a week.

What foods should you avoid while taking Ozempic? ›

It is recommended that you take Ozempic before meals, rather than after, to minimise any potential side effects from eating high-fat or high-sugar foods. Foods high in fat or sugar include candy, ice cream, doughnuts, processed meats, french fries, fried chicken, any other fried foods, crisps and other fatty snacks.

How much does a Mounjaro injection cost? ›

The cost for Mounjaro subcutaneous solution (2.5 mg/0.5 mL) is around $1,087 for a supply of 2 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit. Quoted prices are for cash-paying customers and are not valid with insurance plans.

What is the King Kong of weight loss drugs? ›

Tirzepatide: The 'King Kong of Weight Loss Drugs'

The drug, sold under the brand name Mounjaro by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, was originally meant to treat diabetes.

How fast do you lose weight with Mounjaro? ›

The median time to reach at least a 5% weight loss was 16 weeks with Mounjaro 5 mg, 12 weeks with Mounjaro 10 and 15 mg, and 24 weeks with injectable semaglutide 1 mg.

What is the number one drug for weight loss? ›

Phentermine is one of the most effective weight loss medications. However, it is only indicated for short-term use. The GLP-1 agonists liraglutide (Saxenda) and semaglutide (Wegovy) are also approved for weight loss and have been shown to be particularly effective.

What is the new FDA miracle weight loss drug? ›

Wegovy is one of several new “miracle” drugs that promise to revolutionize the weight-loss industry. Praised by celebrities and social media influencers, Wegovy was approved for use in the U.S., as well as in the U.K.'s free healthcare system, where it will be available to patients in spring 2023.

What is the newest weight loss injection called? ›

Semaglutide: The First New FDA-Approved Weight Loss Medication Since 2014.

What is a natural alternative to Ozempic for weight loss? ›

PhenQ – This all-natural weight loss supplement offers almost the same benefits as Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs. It's also more versatile than Ozempic because aside from suppressing appetite, it also boosts metabolism to help patients burn more calories throughout the day.

What is a natural appetite suppressant like Ozempic? ›

New Ozempic Weight Loss Alternatives on the Market
  • PhenQ.
  • PhenGold.
  • TrimTone.
  • LeanBean.
  • PrimeShred.
Mar 14, 2023

Why is Ozempic not covered by insurance? ›

Be specific with your health plan. If your plan covers drugs for weight loss, it might include Wegovy but not Ozempic and Mounjaro in that category. They aren't FDA-approved for weight loss, so they often aren't covered for that use.

How common is hair loss with Wegovy? ›

“Risk of hair loss exists but is pretty low,” said Madan. Wegovy's clinical trials suggested that 3% of people who took the drug said they experienced hair loss, slightly higher than the 1% of the participants in the placebo who reported the same.

How Adele lost 100 pounds? ›

The singer-songwriter lost 100 pounds in two years by lifting weights and doing circuit training. "So I do my weights in the morning, then I normally hike or I box in the afternoon, and then I go and do my cardio at night," she said. "I'm an athlete," Adele said. "I love it."

What are the requirements to qualify for Wegovy? ›

Eligibility for Wegovy

The FDA approved Wegovy for people with obesity, or those with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m2 or greater. It's also approved for overweight people, or those with a BMI of 27 or greater, who also have a medical condition caused by their weight.

What does Ozempic do to your face? ›

“Ozempic face” is a term for common side effects of the type 2 diabetes medication semaglutide (Ozempic). It can cause sagging and aging of facial skin. A doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications or facial fillers to treat these effects.

Can you take Ozempic forever? ›

Experts said they consider Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong medications. "Data from our clinical trials for Wegovy showed that, not unexpectedly, patients experience weight regain once they stop taking the medication," Novo Nordisk told NBC News in a statement.

What are long term side effects of Wegovy? ›

Some long-term side effects of Wegovy that may start during treatment include:
  • pancreatitis.
  • risk of thyroid cancer*
  • gallstones or swelling of the gallbladder.
  • problems with the kidneys, including renal failure.
  • diabetic retinopathy (damage to blood vessels in the eye)
Feb 4, 2023

Is Wegovy just an appetite suppressant? ›

Wegovy and weight loss

Wegovy can lead to weight loss because it is designed to suppress appetite so you eat less. It mimics the action of a gut hormone called GLP-1, which is released after eating, and it slows down the movement of food in your gut so you stay full for longer.

Do you gain weight back after stopping Ozempic? ›

You Will Regain Weight

Because people stop feeling full and their food cravings return when they stop Ozempic, weight gain is likely, Kushner says.

Where is the best place to inject Ozempic for weight loss? ›

Where should you inject Ozempic? According to Ozempic's manufacturer, you should inject your dose under the skin (subcutaneously) on your stomach, thigh, or upper arm. Avoid injecting it into damaged, swollen, or scarred areas of your skin. Don't inject Ozempic into your muscle or vein.

Does B12 help you lose weight? ›

There's no solid proof that vitamin B-12 shots, also called injections, help you lose weight. Vitamin B-12 is a water-soluble B complex vitamin. It's found naturally in many foods, such as meat, fish and dairy products. Vitamin B-12 is added to some foods and is available as a dietary supplement.

What is the Skinnyjab? ›

Skinny Jab is a series of daily or weekly injections of a drug called liraglutide. These are injected into your stomach, at home, using a pen-like device and work to significantly reduce how much hunger you experience, meaning fewer calories consumed and, therefore, highly probable weight loss.

What is the injection in the stomach to lose belly fat? ›

The Aqualyx® solution is mixed with lidocaine (an anaesthetic) before injection for your comfort. A number of injections are administered to ensure the area of fat to be removed is fully covered. You will experience swelling /discolouration of the skin and tenderness, on most occasions you will have some bruising.

Do I qualify for Mounjaro? ›

Mounjaro® (tirzepatide) may be prescribed if you have type 2 diabetes. FORM physicians may also choose to prescribe Mounjaro if you have a BMI of 30 or higher or 27 or higher with weight-related conditions, and you have not been successful in losing weight or maintaining weight loss with lifestyle changes alone.

Why is Mounjaro not covered by insurance? ›

However, when Mounjaro is prescribed off-label for weight loss, insurance coverage is often not available. This is because the Affordable Care Act does not require health insurance companies to cover medications or surgeries for obesity or overweight conditions.

What is the average weight loss on Mounjaro? ›

In clinical trials, people using Mounjaro as a weight management treatment lost an average of 12-22% of their body weight, which could equate to 25 to 45 pounds for those initially weighing 200 to 300 pounds.

What foods to avoid on Mounjaro? ›

Foods to avoid while taking Mounjaro
  • Fried and greasy foods. Regular consumption of fried foods, whether eaten at home or at a restaurant, increases the risk of weight gain and type 2 diabetes. ...
  • Sugary foods. ...
  • Sodas and carbonated beverages. ...
  • Refined grains and carbohydrates. ...
  • High-glycemic fruits and vegetables. ...
  • Alcohol.
Mar 31, 2023

Will I lose more weight with Mounjaro or Ozempic? ›

Mounjaro is more effective for weight loss and blood sugar improvements than Ozempic. However, studies have shown that Ozempic has a better safety profile than Mounjaro, with more people stopping Mounjaro due to side effects and other adverse events.

Who should not take Mounjaro? ›

MOUNJARO is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with MEN 2. Counsel patients regarding the potential risk for MTC with the use of MOUNJARO and inform them of symptoms of thyroid tumors (e.g., a mass in the neck, dysphagia, dyspnea, persistent hoarseness).

What is the best alternative to Ozempic? ›

Possible Ozempic alternatives include Bydureon (exenatide), Victoza (liraglutide), Mounjaro (tirzepatide), Tanzeum (Albiglutide), and Trulicity (dulaglutide).

What drug is equal to Ozempic? ›

Rybelsus contains the same medication as Ozempic, but in oral form. It's also FDA approved to treat Type 2 diabetes in adults when added to a healthy diet and exercise.

What is the difference between Ozempic and Wegovy? ›

Ozempic and Wegovy are both injections that contain semaglutide. Ozempic is approved to treat Type 2 diabetes. Wegovy is a higher-dose version that's approved for weight loss. They aren't interchangeable.

What is the blockbuster weight loss drug? ›

Ozempic has become a blockbuster weight loss drug The Novo Nordisk diabetes medication was found to cause significant weight loss in users and has since become a blockbuster drug and very big business.

What is a natural alternative to Mounjaro? ›

PhenQ is a cheaper and safer alternative to Mounjaro. It is a non-intrusive dietary supplement made with natural ingredients that offer comparable weight loss results to Mounjaro, without the potential negative side effects.

Is there a generic for Wegovy? ›

There is currently no generic alternative to Wegovy.

Does Wegovy cause hair loss? ›

Wegovy's clinical trials suggested that 3% of people who took the drug said they experienced hair loss, slightly higher than the 1% of the participants in the placebo who reported the same.

How much weight can you lose in a month with Wegovy? ›

In clinical trials, Wegovy was shown to reduce body weight in people with body mass indexes, or BMIs, of 27 or greater by around 15% over 68 weeks. People on average lost about an eighth of that weight in the first month.


1. What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic (Semaglutide) For Weight Loss
(Pharmacist Conversations)
2. Is OZEMPIC behind Kardashians’ Weight Loss?
(Lorry Hill)
3. Her Weight-Loss Video Went Viral On TikTok. Here's What She Learned.
4. Could a new diabetes drug be a game changer for weight loss?
5. What happens when you STOP taking Ozempic? | The Hangry Woman
(The Hangry Woman)
6. My 260lbs Weight Loss Left Me With 20lbs Of Loose Skin | BRAND NEW ME
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Last Updated: 07/10/2023

Views: 5263

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (59 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Rev. Leonie Wyman

Birthday: 1993-07-01

Address: Suite 763 6272 Lang Bypass, New Xochitlport, VT 72704-3308

Phone: +22014484519944

Job: Banking Officer

Hobby: Sailing, Gaming, Basketball, Calligraphy, Mycology, Astronomy, Juggling

Introduction: My name is Rev. Leonie Wyman, I am a colorful, tasty, splendid, fair, witty, gorgeous, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.