Another 🚩 for weight loss drugs.

Plus: Recipes to help you manage your weight without the potential for side effects.

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“Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking.”

William Butler Yeats

Tuesday. Over the weekend, baseball superstar Shohei Ohtani signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $700 million over ten years. If I knew baseball paid so well, I would have chosen that over newsletter writing and a passionate disdain for Big Food and Big Pharma. 

Speaking of things that pay well, every pharmaceutical company is trying to cash in on the weight-loss drug gold rush—and some are having more success than others. Let’s dive in. 

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The Empty, Hungry Plate

Another Red Flag 

In the fast-moving gold rush of pharmaceutical companies spinning up drugs to combat obesity, Pfizer’s recent setback with its new drug danuglipron is a stark reminder of just how complicated this can be. With new weight loss drugs becoming increasingly popular, every pharma company wants to put something on the market. And given the fact that most of the popular drugs are currently injectables, the race for a convenient and effective oral weight loss pill is on, and everyone is trying to cash in. 

But it’s just not going to be that easy. There is a reason Pfizer is struggling. There is a delicate balance between efficacy and safety in developing such drugs.

Pfizer’s Danuglipron, a GLP-1 agonist similar to popular obesity treatments from Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly, showed promise in initial phases by leading to significant weight loss compared to placebo. 

However, the high rates of gastrointestinal side effects and participant dropout in Pfizer’s Phase 2b study have led the company to discontinue the development of the twice-daily dose. Notably, more than 50% of participants on some doses of the drug dropped out due to these side effects, which included nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. 

That doesn’t sound like fun. 

Pfizer will now shift its focus to a once-daily version of the drug, with data expected in the first half of next year. This pivot reflects the ongoing challenge of balancing treatment effectiveness with patient tolerability. But is cutting down the dose really the solution here? Does that simply mean a little less nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea? Does anything about that sound like a healthy way to lose weight? 

On the flip side, the fact that danuglipron didn’t show signs of liver toxicity, a concern that led to the discontinuation of Pfizer’s other experimental pill, lotiglipron, is a positive sign. So, at least it won’t destroy a vital organ, but you might just have to deal with non-stop stomach flu symptoms. But hey, it’ll help you lose a couple of pounds. 

The whole situation underscores the broader conversation about the pharmaceutical industry’s role in addressing lifestyle-related health issues. While drugs like GLP-1 agonists can offer benefits, especially for those struggling with obesity-related health complications, they also come with the risk of side effects that can significantly impact quality of life and long-term health. 

The high expectations set by investors and patients alike add further pressure, with the market for GLP-1 drugs projected to reach staggering sales figures in the coming years. 

In this context, Pfizer’s setback is a reminder of the need for caution. As pharmaceutical companies compete in this incredibly profitable sector, there is a risk of rushing treatments to market that might sound too good to be true. 

The key takeaway? Pfizer’s experience with danuglipron should be a cautionary tale as we ramp up production of these popular weight loss drugs. It is clear that we need a balanced approach that prioritizes patient safety and underscores the importance of comprehensive lifestyle interventions alongside medication. 

While medication can be a crucial component of treatment, it’s equally important to address the underlying lifestyle factors contributing to health issues like obesity. This includes promoting healthy eating habits, regular physical activity, and addressing psychological factors contributing to weight gain. There should never really be a magic pill that can replace those healthy habits, so we should be careful in trying to develop one. 

Tonic Shots

1. High Protein And Whole Foods Are The Keys To Healthy Weight Loss!

These sheet pan eggs have it all. And it is an easy food prep item to have on hand for the entire week. Enjoy!

2. Give Me All The Fiber!

A delicious salad is a great way to get some fiber, which is also key for healthy weight management. Enjoy!

3. Chicken Salad With Some Zing!

Chicken salad is such an easy way to get some protein. And it doesn’t have to taste bland! Not with this recipe at least!

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