FDA approves new weight-loss drug

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug that can be used as a weight-loss medication. 

Wegovy is specifically for chronic weight management in overweight or obese adults with "at least one weight-related comorbidity," according to pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, the maker of the drug. Wegovy is a higher dose of Novo's diabetes drug semaglutide.

In company-funded studies, participants taking Wegovy had average weight loss of 15%, about 34 pounds (15.3 kilograms). Participants lost weight steadily for 14 months before plateauing. In a comparison group getting dummy shots, the average weight loss was about 2.5%, or just under 6 pounds.

Novo's anti-obesity drug, in particular, is said to induce weight loss in patients by reducing hunger while increasing the feeling of fullness. 

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The drug, which is injected by the patient once a week, is intended to be used in addition to diet and exercise, according to Novo.

A four-week supply of Wegovy, which is essentially four injections, will cost consumers around $1,300.  

The product is available with a prescription from a health care professional and is slated to be available at pharmacies later this month.  

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"Despite the best efforts to lose weight, many people with obesity struggle to achieve and maintain weight loss due to physiological responses that favor weight regain," Martin Holst Lange, executive vice president of development at Novo Nordisk, said. 

According to Lange, it marks "a new era in the treatment of obesity." 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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