These drugs aren’t perfect—common side effects include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Many patients must stay on the drugs for life to keep the weight off, and the long-term impacts of these treatments remain unknown. The drugs are also expensive, costing more than $1,000 per month, and most insurance plans don’t cover them for weight loss.
Nevertheless, the treatments could improve the health of millions of people. Some studies even suggest that they alleviate symptoms of heart failure. Dozens of companies are now developing new versions of these weight-loss medications, some of which can be taken orally.
In the coming year, expect to see more companies entering the final stages of trials and seeking approval as demand skyrockets.