Trending Weight Loss Medications

Are Trending Weight Loss Medications Worth the Hype? – A Bariatric Surgeon’s Perspective

April 13, 2023

If you’ve seen the news or been on social media in recent months, then you’ve undoubtedly heard the hype about trending medications used for weight loss. While celebrities are quick to tout their success using these drugs, are they really safe and effective for long-term weight Loss?

Before jumping on the latest weight loss trend, here are some serious considerations anyone looking to lose weight should make.


How much do you want to spend to get healthy?

Weight loss medications can be costly and are less-than-affordable for the average American. Injections like Wegovy cost around $1,300 per month, with some sources quoting injections as high as $1,800 per month. Annual costs of a Wegovy prescription can run more than $15,000 per year. And the cost of these medications is rarely covered by insurance.

In comparison, bariatric surgery, a proven method for weight loss, is often covered by insurance. Even if you opt to pay out of pocket for your procedure, you could have gastric sleeve surgery for as little as $10,000 with financing options available as low as $254 per month.


Are you looking for lasting results or a quick fix?

Weight loss with medications or injections is dependent on constant maintenance, which many patients find difficult over a long period of time. Typically, when a patient is using weight loss medications, as soon as they stop taking those meds, they regain the weight that was lost. Many times, they will gain back more, setting them even further away from their weight loss goals.

Weight loss surgery provides more lasting and permanent results. When patients adhere to the recommendations and guidelines of the bariatric clinic, they are guaranteed success.


How much weight do you want to lose?

Patients who lose at least 15 percent of their body weight can achieve significant health benefits. Still, historically, weight loss medications were typically ideal for patients with a lower starting body mass index. Wegovy and higher doses of Ozempic may be better suited for patients with obesity than other meds, but studies show that patients lose more weight with bariatric surgery.


Is it worth the potential risk?

It cannot go without saying that no one knows the long- term side effects of giving non-diabetic patients medications intended to treat diabetes. There are no studies showing the long-term effects or long-term results of these medications when used for weight loss. Long-term studies comparing drugs like Wegovy to bariatric procedures do not exist.

Common side effects of Semaglutide (available by prescription under the name Wegovy for weight loss and Ozempic for diabetes) may include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and constipation. This medication may also cause serious side effects including thyroid tumors (including cancer), kidney failure, gallbladder problems and pancreatitis. Some users of Ozempic have also reported a side effect known as “Ozempic face,” causing sagging of the facial skin and facial aging. These side effects should all be taken into consideration when considering whether or not to take medication for weight loss purposes.

While these medications promise quick results, even for people with a significant amount of weight to lose, the reality is that true and lasting weight loss must be accompanied by a change in habits. Additionally, obesity is not a stigma that can be treated with an injection. Obesity is a disease and a biological condition that should be addressed under the careful eye of a Physician.

Bariatric surgery is proven for long-term treatment of obesity as it addresses physiological contributors to obesity that make it hard for obese individuals to lose weight and keep it off. On-going support from a bariatric team helps patients manage the environmental and psychological contributors to weight gain, leading to the development of lifelong, healthy habits.

Dr. Nick Nicholson is one of the nation’s leading bariatric surgeons and practices out of the Nicholson Clinic for Weight Loss Surgery.



Dr. Nick Nicholson is one of the nation’s leading bariatric surgeons. He’s been performing weight loss surgery since 2001 and has helped patients from ALL 50 states and 11 countries. He leads a team of top surgeons, specializing in Sleeve Gastrectomy, Gastric Bypass, LAP-BAND, Revisions, Gastric Balloon, and abdominal cosmetic surgery after weight loss. He practices out of the Nicholson Clinic for Weight Loss Surgery. Read more articles by Dr. Nick Nicholson!