To call Ozempic and Mounjaro miracle drugs is perhaps an understatement. Spend 5 minutes deep-diving into a sub-reddit on the topic and you will get a sense of how these drugs are life-changing for so many people suffering from type 2 diabetes.
Losing weight can have a significant impact on the health of someone suffering from type 2 diabetes. Evidence now shows that getting to and staying at a healthy body weight may in fact stave off or even cure type 2 diabetes. This can in turn help manage or prevent some of the health problems that can come with the disease.
However, these new wonder drugs that tend to both weight loss and type 2 diabetes are there to deal with the effects, but like so many drugs, they do not address remission or even prevention.
Ozempic for Life?
The fact of the matter is, if you’re able to tolerate the side-effects and can afford it, weight loss drugs require you stay on them for life to enjoy their sustained benefits.
From a cost standpoint, Ozempic and Mounjaro may be covered under provincial medicare if you have type 2 diabetes, and meet the necessary criteria set by your province. Diabetes drugs are covered by most private drug plans. Check with your province or insurance provider before starting any new medications to ensure it is covered.
Studies show that patients lose weight while on these drugs, but they also show that they gain it back when they stop taking the medication, hence the need to continue taking the drug.
“By having these hormone mimickers, you quell your appetite, you put a lid on it, but once you take the lid off, it all comes back,” explained Dr. Kaberi Dasgupta, Professor of Medicine at McGill University and specialist in the areas of endocrinology and metabolism.
Dr. Dasgupta is spearheading a collaborative study that is underway in Canada and the UK. The study is exploring how patients can go into remission from type 2 diabetes through restricted calorie diet and a structured exercise program. Dr. Dasgupta is all about prevention and remission.
Diabetes Remission Through Lifestyle Changes?
The Reset for Remission study focuses on health behaviour changes by the individual for the prevention and management of diabetes and its related complications.
In the case of diabetes and weight management, this means dietary changes and an exercise regime. It sounds simple enough, but it clearly isn’t.
“A lot of the reasons why lifestyle change programs don’t work are related to lack of support. It’s hard, we have an environment that really doesn’t help us. It’s a little bit like we’re smokers having trouble quitting smoking because everyone around us is smoking. It’s the same kind of thing with the eating environment and physical activity spaces. In the UK they have some of these supports. They have publicly available diabetes prevention and remission programs throughout England”, said Dr. Dasgupta.
Additionally, health behaviour changes may not always be possible for people who do not have access to or can’t afford fresh food, don’t have time or the budget to put together a formal strength training or exercise program, have limited mental and physical health supports and live in communities where physical activity takes a back seat to driving.
The Importance of Options
This much change on a societal and individual change will not happen overnight and indeed may simply not be the best path for some people, so options such as bariatric surgery and drugs are important.
“These drugs, they are great new drugs, no question. They work and they are less invasive than surgery, are definitely preferred by some people, and the dietary strategies and the meal replacements I talked about are not going to work for everybody, so you do have to have other options” said Dr. Dasgupta.
As with many things in life, having options is key. We’d love to hear from people in our community who are finding success with their diabetes management, whether it’s via medication or through a diet and exercise regime. Let us know on social media or email us at email@example.com.
If you are between the ages of 18 to 46, Iive in Montreal or Edmonton and have type 2 Diabetes, consider joining the study. See here for more information.