A doctor is warning that popular celebrity weight-loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy could have a detrimental effect on muscle mass.
Texas-based Dr. Peter Attia, who focuses on the science of longevity, claimed that he has seen patients losing muscle mass at an alarming rate.
Wegovy and Ozempic — drugs that were first intended to treat patients with type 2 diabetes — make a person feel fuller for longer by slowing down digestion, which can lead to weight loss.
Both drugs have a peptide called semaglutide, which mimics a hormone called GLP-1 that is found naturally in your small intestine.
During Monday’s episode of his podcast, “The Peter Attia Drive,” he spoke at length about the pros and cons of the drugs, and said that he believes the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t account for the type of weight that people lost in the various studies on the injection — whether it was muscle mass or fat.
“So all of the studies that we’ve talked about, the FDA has forced the primary outcome to be weight loss,” Dr. Attia said in a clip of the podcast posted to his Instagram page. “They don’t care about body composition.”
He used the example of someone who was 200 pounds and hypothetically lost 20 pounds to illustrate his concerns.
“There isn’t a single physician out there worth his or her salt that would say, ‘Well if that 20 pounds, if 18 of that was muscle and two of that was fat, that would be a good thing,’ ” he explained.
“Versus if 15 of that was fat, or 16 of that was fat, and four of it was muscle, those people both lost 20 pounds and they both lost 10% of their body weight, but one of them decimated their lean body weight and the other had a dramatic improvement in body composition, and those two are not the same.”
He also said that many patients have been losing muscle mass in an Instagram Reel that was posted in November.
“Almost without exception, every patient we’ve put on this drug has lost muscle mass,” he claimed in the video. “And they have lost it at a rate that alarms me.”
The physician noted that although the drug is effective and seems to suppress appetite safely, it’s not a “miracle drug,” which he even expanded on in a recent blog post.
Dr. Attia declined further comment to The Post.
In an emailed statement to The Post, a representative for Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Wegovy and Ozempic, wrote, “In clinical trials for Wegovy (semaglutide), we did not specifically study the medicine’s impact on muscle mass.”
However, they pointed to one study, which was conducted as as part of the first step in the drug’s development, in which patients experienced loss in both fat and lean body mass.
The manufacturer acknowledged that although patients have lost muscle, they found that overall, the patients studied had a greater proportion of muscle compared to their amount of fat.
“With regards to arm or leg weakness, this is not a listed adverse reaction in our US full prescribing information. We recommend that any patients experiencing side effects while taking Wegovy contact their healthcare provider,” the company’s statement said.
In recent months, the drug has seemed to take over Hollywood, as comedian Chelsea Handler has copped to taking it at one point as well as Elon Musk.
During a Jan. 25 appearance on the “Call Her Daddy” podcast, Handler claimed that her doctor hands out the drug to “anyone.”
“I came back from a vacation and I injected myself with it. I went to lunch with a girlfriend a few days later, and she was like, ‘I’m not really eating anything. I’m so nauseous, I’m on Ozempic,’” she said at the time.
Ozempic even made an appearance at the 95th Annual Academy Awards, when late night show host Jimmy Kimmel joked about it during his opening monologue.
Kimmel chided, “When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder, is Ozempic right for me?”
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