Ozempic is STILL less effective at burning fat and much more expensive in the long run than weight loss surgery, study shows

They’ve been hyped up as an antidote to America’s obesity crisis, but weight-loss drugs like Ozempic are still more expensive and less effective than plain old surgery.

The injections turned out to cost twice as much and lead to about four percent less weight loss compared to an operation that has been going on for years.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that weight-loss drugs containing semaglutide cost more than $53,000 over five years, compared to a “stomach punch” which was less than $20,000.

The operation, which involves sewing up part of the stomach to make it smaller, was also found to be more effective at maintaining most of the weight loss after five years: people’s BMI after the weight-loss surgery was 31.7 compared to 33.0.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that weight-loss drugs containing semaglutide cost more than $53,000 over five years, compared to a “stomach stab” surgery that cost less than $20,000.

Researchers said the price of Ozempic and similar drugs would have to be reduced threefold, from $13,618 to $3,591, for it to become the preferred option.

Semaglutide has become popular because of its non-invasive nature, ease of use as a weekly injection and short-term effectiveness, the researchers said.

An endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty (ESG), on the other hand, is a one-time procedure that can be repeated a few years later if the stomach has stretched or stitches have loosened.

ESG is a minimally invasive weight loss procedure that reduces the size of the stomach without the need for an incision through the skin.

TV celebrity Stacey Silva underwent the procedure and reality star Alana “Honey Boo Boo” Thompson will also undergo the surgery.

The study compared ESG with semaglutide for the treatment of patients with class 2 obesity, meaning they had a BMI of 35-39.9, over a period of five years.

The base case they looked at was a 45-year-old patient with a BMI of 37. They then used publicly available clinical trial data to simulate other hypothetical patients.

The researchers simulated two treatment strategies – semaglutide and ESG – versus no treatment.

An ESG is performed using a flexible tube passed down the throat with a camera attached. A surgeon then closes off part of the stomach with stitches.

This reduces size, limiting how much a person can eat.

The model included the cost of ESG, repeat ESG, and the cost of treating possible side effects after surgery, such as temporary abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.

As with any type of surgery, there is a very small risk of serious complications during the operation itself. These can include bleeding, infections, and tears in the stomach.

a meta-analysis of studies found that the rate of side effects ranged from 1.5 percent to 2.3 percent.

For Ozempic, researchers calculated the monthly cost of semaglutide, which is approximately $1,000 per month.

An endoscopic sleeve gastroplasty usually costs between $7,000 and $9,000, according to Bagshahi Bariatric and General Surgery in Texas. Health insurance may cover some of the costs if the person is clinically obese.

Semaglutide is a once-a-week injection that works by delaying stomach emptying, helping patients feel full longer and reducing overall appetite.

The shots can cause a variety of unpleasant side effects. Users often complain of nausea, vomiting, constipation and diarrhea.

In one study, about 15.8 percent of patients taking Ozempic experienced nausea, 7.3 percent experienced abdominal pain, and 8.5 percent had diarrhea.

In more severe cases, the drug has been shown to increase the risk of a paralyzed stomach, pancreatitis, and intestinal blockages.

Patients should continue taking the medication for life, and because they may lose weight again when they stop taking it.

The research was published in the journal JAMA Network.