Health and Wellness

Doctors declare Ozempic overrated as first long-term trial shows patients keep just 10% of their bodyweight off after four YEARS on drug

They’ve been billed as ‘miracle’ drugs and are credited with spurring incredible weight-loss transformations in Hollywood.

But the first long-term study of Wegovy, which is the same type of drug as Ozempic, suggests the drugs might not be as effective as the hype makes them seem. 

After four years on the medication, which costs around $1,500 a month, patients lose only 10 percent of their original body weight. 

For someone who’s severely obese, that may not be enough. For example, someone who is 250 pounds would only lose 25 pounds while on the drug for four years. 

Dr Shauna Levy, an obesity medicine specialist and bariatric surgeon at Tulane University who wasn’t involved in the study, told that a 10 percent reduction probably won’t be enough to protect someone from all the health woes associated with severe obesity.

The study showed that over four years people only lost ten percent of their body weight on the drugs over four years.

Wegovy, developed by the Danish Novo Nordisk, is a weekly injectable drug that leads to 10 percent weight loss on average. So if you start taking the drug while you're 200 pounds, you'll likely lose around 20 pounds.

Wegovy, developed by the Danish Novo Nordisk, is a weekly injectable drug that leads to 10 percent weight loss on average. So if you start taking the drug while you’re 200 pounds, you’ll likely lose around 20 pounds. 

‘Anti-obesity medications are not a magic bullet… These are medications, they come with risks, they come with benefits, it’s not one size fits all,’ she said. 

She explained that for people who need serious weight loss, this data suggests that weight loss medications can only take you so far. 

Older treatments, like surgery, in combination with diet and exercise changes, might be better ways to address weight loss. 

With bariatric surgery, which involves surgically restricting the size of your stomach or intestines, people can lose between 20 to 50 percent of their original body weight, Dr Levy added. 

If your BMI is above 40, she said you then you might need to consider these other weight loss options options. Still, these drugs can be useful, and have been ‘transformative’ for people who previously thought any weight loss was impossible, Dr Levy said. 



Dr Shebani Sethi, a clinical associate professor and Founding Director of Metabolic Psychiatry, admitted that it may not be a panacea for obesity, but losing 10 percent of body weight could help improve peoples heart and brain health. 

The new study was from Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk and looked at 17,604 adults across 40 countries taking Wegovy, which is the same type of drug, just sold for weight loss instead of treating diabetes.

The study was performed on people with obesity and heart disease, and had people take the medication without making other alterations to their routine to approximate what an average users experience would be like, Dr Rekha H Kumar, an endcrinologist and the chief medical officer at Found, told the

Wegovy, and similar drugs like Mounjaro and Zepbound, work by mimicking hormones in your body that tell you when you’re full. 

When you feel full for longer, you tend to eat less, and lose weight. 

They found that people lost on average 10 percent of their initial body weight after taking Wegovy for a year and three months. Those who stayed on the drug for the next four years were able to maintain that weight loss. 

Crucially, they didn’t continue losing weight, they hit a plateau. 

This happened for comedian Tracy Morgan, who actually started gaining weight on Ozempic as a result. 

Sometimes, like in the case of TikTok User Shelly, the drugs don’t work at all. She shared in a video in October that the drugs did nothing except give her acid reflux. 

Comedian Tracy Morgan, 55, hit a weight loss plateau and said that he 'out-ate Ozempic' while on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Comedian Tracy Morgan, 55, hit a weight loss plateau and said that he ‘out-ate Ozempic’ while on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. 

The study also found that people who took Wegovy reduced their risk for heart attack and stroke by nearly 20 percent. 

This was to be expected,  Dr Sethi said. 

‘Even a 10% weight loss can be very beneficial for one’s health.’ Dr Sethi said. 

In her personal research, Dr Sethi has discovered that small weight loss changes from Ozempic can lead to improvements in mood and quality of life. 

It’s also well established, she noted, that any amount of weight loss will reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. People who’ve seen promises online about Ozempic yielding miracle results might be disappointed to hear about the 10 percent average, Dr Kumar said.

But, even a five percent reduction in body weight can have massive benefits for your health, she said. 

‘I think [10 percent] is a number that signifies people are getting healthier. It is an amount of weight loss that’s hard to achieve through just diet and exercise. So it’s still a good outcome, but it’s certainly not the one that people are calling, like miracle weight loss,’ Dr Kumar said. 

However, the cost of these medications make Dr Sethi think that ‘the drugs are not going to be a cure all for everyone.’

The average price of Wegovy in the US without insurance is $1,350 per month according to Novo Nordisk. 

Other options like Ozempic, Mounjaro and Zepbound, are similarly as steep, running for $935, $1069 and $1,059 per month, respectively. 

Wegovy and Zepbound aren’t currently covered by many insurers in the US. Ozempic and Mounjaro might have more insurance options, since they were originally approved to treat diabetes, not just prescribed for weight loss. 

These new findings could be used to make an argument to insurance companies to cover the drug – since it helps stave off heart disease.  

So if for example, you’re 400 pounds and you use Wegovy for four years – you’d shed 40 pounds and approximately $64,800.

For some people, that amount of money might be worth those results. 

But for others, that economic toll and the limited benefits you’d get from losing 10 percent of your body weight might mean you need to explore other avenues, Dr Levy told this website. 

‘I think that it’s important to discuss with your doctor if the 10% durable weight loss is enough for the particular patient, or do they need to combine it with other treatment modalities, such as bariatric surgery,’ she said. 

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