The temptation to use drugs to help us lose weight isn’t new. The use of medications to help with weight loss has a long history dating back to the late 1800s.
We first used thyroid extract as a remedy for obesity but it resulted in hyperthyroidism and other serious side effects.
So we moved on to amphetamines, Benzedrine, to be exact, which became popular for weight loss during the late 1930s. They worked primarily by suppressing appetite and had other beneficial effects, such as increased alertness. But, of course, people got hooked on these drugs that ruined many lives.
We then moved through periods of a lot more pills being used for weight loss, including rainbow pills, a colorful combination of multiple pills, all thought to help with weight loss, taken throughout the day. They were linked to several deaths.
Then, around thirty years ago, sibutramine, a dual monoamine reuptake inhibitor, was introduced to clinical practice.
Since then, the biggest bang in weight loss has been the wildly-popular Ozempic, a drug that the FDA has approved for weight loss, though it was manufactured as a diabetes drug. As we all know, Ozempic’s run so far has been anything but smooth.
So now it’s Mounjaro, also known as tirzepatide, a new drug approved for treating type 2 diabetes in the UK. Although it has shown promising results in blood glucose management and weight loss for people with type 2 diabetes, as catastrophic injury lawyer Fred Cunningham points out, “Mounjaro is not, at this point, FDA-approved for weight loss. Using this new drug for weight loss, similar to using Ozempic for the same purpose, can carry serious risks and concerns.”
Mounjaro has several side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, decreased appetite, vomiting, constipation, indigestion, and stomach pain. These gastrointestinal side effects are manageable but can be very uncomfortable for some people More serious side effects, although rare, may include pancreatitis, kidney or gallbladder problems, or an allergic reaction to Mounjaro.
Contrast this with Ozempic, which has been associated with severe side effects such as thyroid tumors, pancreatitis, vision changes, hypoglycemia, gallbladder issues, kidney failure, and cancer. Although Mounjaro has not yet (again, it remains very early days for this new drug) been directly linked to these side effects, it is essential to consider the potential risks when using a drug for an off-label purpose.
Here’s something worth noting – Mounjaro for weight loss may lead to malnutrition, as the drug suppresses appetite and slows down digestion This can result in people using the drug not being able to take in enough nutrients to maintain their health. To prevent muscle loss, it is crucial to increase physical activity and focus on muscle-building and strength-training activities while using Mounjaro for weight loss.
Raise your hand if you want sagging skin! Mounjaro has been associated with significant and rapid weight loss in clinical trials. As anyone who has lost a lot of weight fast can attest, rapid weight loss can lead to sagging or droopy skin, which is miserable and not easy to fix. Some people may also notice a more wrinkly appearance in their face due to the reduction in fat volume.
It is critically important for people to understand what often seemed to elude them with Ozempic – that using Mounjaro for weight loss is an off-label use, meaning regulatory agencies do not (yet, at least) approve it for this purpose. We just don’t know the long-term effects of using Mounjaro for weight loss are unknown, and there may be potential risks that have not yet been identified. It is essential to consult with an experienced healthcare provider before using Mounjaro for weight loss and seriously and thoroughly consider alternative, approved weight loss treatments.
So where this all leaves us today is that considering using Mounjaro for weight loss is very similar to using Ozempic for the same purpose. The decision carries serious risks and concerns, which, if history teaches us anything, too few people will consider.
This really should be far more alarming than it seems to be. Rather than a collective pause in learning about a new diabetes drug that might also help people lose weight, the Zeitgeist is to jump on the drug bandwagon, consequences be damned. But there has to be a logical endpoint to this, a time where we look at the damage secondary use of these drugs can do, so we decide, for once, to wait rather than jump right in.
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the chief legal analyst for Esquire Digital and Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, Today’s Esquire, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, and many other leading publications across the globe.