There is a growing interest in weight loss medications like Ozempic and Mounjaro as a new tool to combat the global obesity epidemic. While these medications have shown positive results, patients must commit to a long-term, high-cost program with potential side effects to maintain their weight loss. At Pritikin, we recognize the potential for significant weight loss and a chance to reset one’s life, but also to be aware the cost of continued care is currently high with no defined insurance coverage. We believe that sustainable weight loss requires changes in eating habits, increased physical activity and self-care commitment, and a proper sleep regimen.
Effectiveness and Weight Regain
Weight loss is achievable with these medications; however, it is important to note that without a lifestyle program like the one offered at Pritikin, weight loss may include both fat and muscle. Losing muscle can decrease calorie burning capacity, making it challenging to maintain weight loss. Research suggests that without lifestyle changes, patients typically regain two-thirds of the lost weight.1
Potential Side Effects
All medications carry potential side effects, and weight loss medications are no exception. While some individuals may experience minimal side effects, it is crucial to be aware of possible adverse reactions. These may include:
- Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Abdominal Pain & Constipation
- Heartburn & Burping
- Rare Thyroid Problems, Including Cancer
- Acute Pancreatitis & Gallbladder Disease
- Low Blood Sugar and Kidney Function Impairment
- Elevated Heart Rate and Vision Impairment
- Drug Interactions & Serious Allergic Reactions.
Long-Term Medical Implications
Many physicians consider obesity to be a chronic condition requiring lifelong medication. The cost of that medication can be prohibitive and if discontinued, benefit reversal is likely. Pritikin’s position is that patients enhance their success rate through practical lifestyle changes including a healthy eating plan, beneficial exercise, and a healthy mindset. Pritikin’s program will significantly benefit the patient through robust educational programming, combined with real-life experiences that will help the guest achieve and maintain desired long-term results upon discontinuing weight loss medications.
1 Diabetes Obes Metab. 2022 Aug; 24(8): 1553–1564.