The Untapped Promise of Obesity Medications

Injectable diabetes medications containing semaglutide have caught attention for helping some people lose significant weight. Caroline Apovian, MD, co-director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness, says semaglutide and other therapies hold promise for people with obesity—if only they were more accessible.

“There are side effects like nausea and vomiting, but overall this is a safe, effective medication that trials have shown helped a third of patients with obesity lose 20% of their body weight,” says Apovian. “So it’s frustrating when we can’t provide this drug to patients due to shortage issues or because their insurance won’t cover it for obesity.”

Apovian pushes back against the idea that all patients with obesity should manage it solely through diet and exercise. She says, “We would never expect that of someone with hypertension or diabetes. We can’t allow stigma to stand in the way of viable anti-obesity treatments that emerge.” 


Though 40% of Americans have obesity, just 1% of U.S. doctors are trained in obesity medicine.