Not Everyone Loses Weight on Ozempic

The effectiveness of GLP-1 drugs in inducing weight loss can vary significantly among individuals, and the reasons behind this variation are not fully understood. Professor Ewan Pearson from the University of Dundee points out that factors such as genetics, altered microbiomes, and other medications promoting weight gain might be contributing factors.

One known predictor of weight loss is gender, with women usually experiencing more weight loss than men on these drugs. This could be due to differences in fat distribution or average size. However, GLP-1 drugs have been found to be less effective for people with type 2 diabetes in achieving significant weight loss.

GLP-1 drugs work by slowing down the movement of food in the stomach and interacting with receptors in the brain to promote feelings of fullness. This leads to reduced food intake. The dosage is typically started low and gradually increased each week. Amy Rothberg, an endocrinologist at the University of Michigan, notes that not everyone may respond to lower doses but may see weight loss as the medication is increased.

Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise, are crucial for maximizing the weight-loss effects of these medications. Clinical trials, which involve careful tracking and frequent follow-up visits, often show the best results. In real life, patients might not adhere to their weight-loss plans as diligently or see their doctor as regularly, which could impact the drug’s effectiveness.

While GLP-1 drugs can help curb appetite, they do not eliminate all temptations, as eating is also influenced by social factors such as food availability and company. A person dealing with environmental pushes or stimuli may not lose as much weight as someone who doesn’t have to face such factors.

Research is ongoing to understand the role of genetics in the variability of drug response. In 2022, a study led by Professor Pearson identified a gene called ARRB1 that seems to be involved in glucose control. People with certain variants of this gene were found to have lower blood sugar levels while taking GLP-1 drugs. This suggests that genetic factors might play a role in the response to these medications.

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