All posts tagged: medical community

Boomers Will Define the Ozempic Era

Boomers Will Define the Ozempic Era

Imagine an older man goes in to see his doctor. He’s 72 years old and moderately overweight: 5-foot-10, 190 pounds. His blood tests show high levels of triglycerides. Given his BMI—27.3—the man qualifies for taking semaglutide or tirzepatide, two of the wildly popular injectable drugs for diabetes and obesity that have produced dramatic weight loss in clinical trials. So he asks for a prescription, because his 50th college reunion is approaching and he’d like to get back to his freshman-year weight. He certainly could use these drugs to lose weight, says Thomas Wadden, a clinical psychologist and obesity researcher at the University Pennsylvania, who recently laid out this hypothetical in an academic paper. But should he? And what about the tens of millions of Americans 65 and older who aren’t simply trying to slim down for a cocktail party, but live with diagnosable obesity? Should they be on Wegovy or Zepbound? Already, seniors make up 26.6 percent of the people who have been prescribed these and other GLP-1 agonists, including Ozempic, since 2018, according to …

Obesity Drugs Are Giving New Life to BMI

Obesity Drugs Are Giving New Life to BMI

If anything defines America’s current obesity-drug boom, it’s this: Many more people want these injections than can actually get them. The roadblocks include exorbitant costs that can stretch beyond $1,000 a month, limited insurance coverage, and constant supply shortages. But before all of those issues come into play, anyone attempting to get a prescription will inevitably confront the same obstacle: their body mass index, or BMI. So much depends on the simple calculation of dividing one’s weight by the square of their height. According to the FDA, people qualify for prescriptions of Wegovy and Zepbound—the obesity-drug versions of the diabetes medications Ozempic and Mounjaro—only if their BMI is 3o or higher, or 27 or higher with a weight-related health issue such as hypertension. Many who do get on the medication use BMI to track their progress. That BMI is the single biggest factor determining who gets prescribed these drugs, and who doesn’t, is the result of how deeply entrenched this metric has become in how both doctors and regular people approach health: Low BMI is …

It’s the Best Time in History to Have a Migraine

It’s the Best Time in History to Have a Migraine

Here is a straightforward, clinical description of a migraine: intense throbbing headache, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and noise, lasting for hours or days. And here is a fuller, more honest picture: an intense, throbbing sense of annoyance as the pain around my eye blooms. Wondering what the trigger was this time. Popping my beloved Excedrin—a combination of acetaminophen, aspirin, and caffeine—and hoping it has a chance to percolate in my system before I start vomiting. There’s the drawing of the curtains, the curling up in bed, the dash to the toilet to puke my guts out. I am not a religious person, but during my worst migraines, I have whimpered at the universe, my hands jammed into the side of my skull, and begged it for relief. That probably sounds melodramatic, but listen: Migraines are miserable. They’re miserable for about 40 million Americans, most of them women, though the precise symptoms and their severity vary across sufferers. For about a quarter, myself included, the onset is sometimes preceded by an aura, a short-lived …