Harold Bays, MD: A Different World for Obesity Treatment


A look into the uptake of semaglutide, what the agent represents, and what is coming further in obesity management.

For many clinicians, the approval of semaglutide for chronic weight management in patients with overweight or obesity may have represented what they had been waiting for in a weight treatment.

Harold Bays, MD, Chief Science Officer, Obesity Medicine Association, explained that while there have been other safe and effacious anti-obesity drugs, there was not a treatment that always met expectations of the patients.

"Up until semaglutide, we just really didn't have the kind of anti-obesity drug treatment that met the degree of expectation that we often often find from patients where they would like to lose that 10 to 15% of their body weight," he said. "And I think that's the biggest central message."

In an interview with HCPLive, Bays discussed the increased demand for semaglutide and the patient populations that benefit the most, including those with diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia. He noted the demand may have even surprised the manufacturers, as demand often exceeded supply.

As for being the gold standard, Bays is hesistant to name it that, calling to mind the need for greater widespread use and an increase in supply. Moreover, Bays discussed waiting for the results of a large cardiovascular disease outcome study to call it the standard.

"I think if semaglutide has this background in substantial improvement in body weight beyond what we've seen from other agents and if it continues to show what's been shown in numerous clinical trials that it can improve blood sugar, blood pressure, lipids and those types of things," Bays said. "If there can be shown a reduction in cardiovascular disease events, I think until somebody knocks them down, then they're king of the hill."

Bays wrapped up by highlighting the ever evolving treatment space and how many of these treatments eventually became the standard of care, with new agents still to come.

"I think you're going to find a whole series of other agents that are coming down the pike, that likewise are going to be looking for not just improving the weight of patients, but improving the health of patients, because that's what we're really focused upon," Bays said.

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