During a hangout at Khloe’s Hidden Hills home, Scott Disick tells the ladies how ‘good’ and ‘tiny’ they’re both looking.
He then asks Kim and Khloe — both of whom are recently single — if their drastic shrink downs are the result of ‘break-up diets.’
‘Break-up diets?’ Kim exclaims, before giving Scott a funny face.
Kim’s last dated SNL star Pete Davidson for nine months while Khloe parted ways with her philandering ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson in 2021 after learning he’d secretly fathered a child with another woman.
Though there have been rumors that she’s rekindled their controversial romance for the third time.
Shrinking sisters: Kim Kardashian and Khloe Kardashian’s extreme weight loss transformations were briefly addressed during the premiere episode of The Kardashians season three on Thursday
The sisters’ bodies have gone through major transformations over the past years, which has led to accusations that the duo are taking Hollywood’ hottest weight loss drug Ozempic.
Ozempic is manufactured by Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk and costs around $900 per dose.
The injectable version can be used on the stomach, thigh or arm, and it quickly works to suppress a person’s appetite, which can be useful in allowing them to shed weight.
It is currently only approved by the FDA as a type 2 diabetes treatment, but many medical providers have begun prescribing it off label as a weight-loss drug recently, and it has skyrocketed in popularity among wealthy customers looking to slim down.
However, the rush of rich people looking to buy the drug has created shortages that harm diabetic people who most need it for their health.
Khloe has slammed claims that her or any of her sisters have used the medication to achieve their incredibly svelte figures.
‘Let’s not discredit my years of working out,’ commented Khloe in response to an Instagram troll who called her body ‘skinny’ and ‘disturbing.’
She continued: ‘I get up 5 days a week at 6am to train. Please stop with your assumptions.’
Kim faced backlash last year after she admitted to dropping 16 pounds in just two weeks in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the 2022 Met Gala.
Kim insisted that she ‘didn’t do anything unhealthy’ to achieve her goal.
She compared her transformation to that of Christian Bale’s drastic weight loss for his supporting role in The Fighter (2010), which earned him an Oscar.
She ended up losing five more pounds in the weeks that followed — bringing her total weight loss to 21 pounds.
While appearing on TODAY last year, the mother-of-four said the experience ‘taught me a lot about my lifestyle and my health’ and that she ‘more energy than ever.’
She revealed to hosts Hoda Kotb and Savannah Guthrie that she completely cut out sugar, junk food and fried foods from her diet.
Like Khloe, Kim also partakes in daily 5AM workouts with her fitness trainer Melissa Alcantara and has committed herself to ‘no days off.’
Back in August, Kim took a test to measure her bone density and body fat percentage, revealing she is in the athlete category.
The tests showed that she had reduced her body fat percentage from 25% in May 2021 to 18.8%.
During the episode, Scott Disick asks Kim and Khloe — both of whom are recently single — if their drastic shrink downs are the result of ‘break-up diets’
‘Break-up diets?’ Kim exclaims, before giving Scott a funny face
Single ladies: Kim’s last dated SNL star Pete Davidson for nine months while Khloe parted ways with her philandering ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson in 2021 after learning he’d secretly fathered a child with another woman
In Thursday’s The Kardashians episode, Kim calls back to her nine-month romance with Pete.
‘I’m single,’ she tells the camera reluctantly, after producers reminded her that she was in the throws of love in season two.
She continues: ‘…and I’m not ready to mingle and that’s ok.’
‘So, how are you feeling [about] the first breakup since being married,’ asks Scott of Kim’s split from Pete.
Fans will remember that Pete was Kim’s first boyfriend following her shock divorce from controversial rapper Kanye West, 25, in February 2021.
She began dating Pete that October and the romance sparked a fire inside Kim’s ex, who waged an online war on the comedian.
Despite this, Kim and Pete continued to date until August 2022.
‘Breakups are just not my thing,’ Kim replies.
‘Are they anybodies thing?’ Says Scott.
Kim elaborates: ‘It’s just that I’m proud of myself.’
The SKIMS founder revealed that she and Pete had ‘talks and talks’ about calling it quits.
Before: Kim, who calls herself a ‘shapeshifter’, is pictured here in a candid snap in 2017. Khloe is pictured right in 2018
Khloe has slammed claims that her or any of her sisters have used drugs like Ozempic to shed pounds, instead she credits strict exercise routines and diet
Kim faced backlash last year after she admitted to dropping 16 pounds in just two weeks in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the 2022 Met Gala
‘We’d been talking about it. So it was just both of us just, like, communicating really well about it,’ she explained. ‘It’s obviously sad.’
‘How long were you guys together?’ Scott asks.
Nine months. That’s like a long time. I don’t have random hookups and relationships, you know what I mean? And everything I’ve been in is kind of like a longtime.’
Kim also says that she was plagued by a lot of guilt over what Pete had to endure during their time together — alluding to her ex-husband’s online abuse.
‘There was a lot of guilt. He went through a lot because, you know, my relationship,’ she tells Scott and Khloe.
‘Sometimes I’m like, ‘Who is ever gonna wanna date me? I have four kids. I’m in my 40s.’,’ she admits in confessional. ‘Who wants to deal with all the [drama]?’
Despite the intrusive thoughts, Kim knows that her ‘person’ won’t be deterred by her extraordinary life.
‘My person will be like, ‘F**k all that! Like, it’s gonna be hard but we’re together! And like, we’re gonna do this,’ she imagines.
‘I’m just waiting for that person.’
Scott then changes the subject by asking Khloe about her newborn son Tatum.
She tells the duo that she feels ‘guilty’ over her lack of connection to her son and wishes people were more ‘honest’ with her about the realities of surrogacy.
Khloe admits that she felt the entire experience was ‘transactional.’
Khloe’s baby boy was born via surrogate last July and he is the second child she shares with philandering ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson.
The Good American founder, 38, learned just weeks after they went through with the embryo transfer in November 2021 that he’d secretly fathered a child with fitness model Maralee Nichols.
Khloe recalls just how ‘hard the surrogate process’ was for her, with Kim adding that her sister had ‘a hard time accepting’ it all.
‘It was a mindf**k,’ Khloe remarks. ‘It’s just the weirdest thing.’
‘I do think there is a difference when the baby is in your belly, the baby actually feels your real heart. There is no one else on this planet who will feel you from the inside like that,’ explains Kim, who used surrogacy for two of her four pregnancies.
‘People can connect in different ways, some cannot connect.’
Scott asks Khloe: ‘So do you feel less connected?’
Khloe reluctantly admits to the disconnect but also acknowledges that people have told her it can take time.
Khloe does appear to envy the fact that Kim had an ‘easy’ time connecting with her two youngest children born via surrogacy.
‘I definitely buried my head in the sand during that pregnancy and that I didn’t digest what was happening,’ Khloe explains in confessional.
‘So I think when I went to the hospital, I really think that was the first time that it really registered,’ she explains.
Khloe insists that her feelings have ‘nothing to do with the baby,’ but more so the circumstances and how it felt ‘transactional’ to her.
‘You’re just like, “Ok, we’re having a baby and this is my son and I’m taking him home with me,”‘ she explains.
‘I definitely was in a state of shock from my entire experience. I felt really guilty that this woman just had my baby and I take the baby and I go in another room and we are sort of separated.
‘I felt that it was such a transactional experience because it’s not about him.’
All in all, Khloe says that she wishes she had known more about surrogacy and the complexities of if.
‘I wish someone was honest about surrogacy and the difference of it. It doesn’t mean it’s bad or good. It’s still great. It’s just very different.’
Khloe also takes fans a long as she embarks on a ‘really scary’ journey after discovering a suspicious bump on her face that turned out to be melanoma.
Khloe — who is predisposed to the skin cancer — is asked about the ‘band-aid on you face’ by Scott during their hangout with Kim.
She tells the audience that she had a bump on her face biopsied after keeping an eye on it for ‘seven or eight months.’
‘I am just waiting for the results,’ says Khloe.
She remarks that the ordeal is just another blow following her ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson’s paternity scandal as well as the issues she’s had connecting with their newborn.
Khloe’s mom Kris reveals the results of the biopsy while speaking to younger daughter Kylie Jenner at a party celebrating Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila line.
She pulls the Kylie Cosmetics founder aside and tells her that the bump is cancerous.
‘I’m just a little worried and now she has to have it removed,’ Kris whispers.
‘Wow,’ Kylie reacts.
Kris says that Khloe has a ‘history of melanoma and cancerous legions’ so this latest bout on her face is ‘very concerning’ to her and the family.
‘You have to go in and you don’t know how much of your cheek they’re gonna take,’ Kris explains to Kylie of Khloe’s next steps.
In confessional, Kylie recalls seeing the bump on Khloe’s face and how this entire situation is ‘really scary.’
‘I just hope that everything’s going to be ok,’ the mother-of-two adds.
After learning of her sister’s predicament, Kylie finds Khloe at the party and pulls her aside to talk to her one-on-one about what the surgery will entail.
‘I have to get a plastic surgeon to cut the whole thing out,’ Khloe says bluntly.
‘They said that they won’t know until they open up my cheek how big they have to cut.’
Khloe admits that having her face cut into is especially worrisome since it’s so visible.
‘I just don’t want a big scar on my face.’
Khloe explains in confessional that doctors told her it was ‘incredibly rare’ for someone at her age to have this so ‘they have to go in more to see if it spread.
‘So at this point it seems a little scary.’
Fans get a closer look at Khloe’s bandaged face while visiting her sister Kourtney Kardashian at the home she shares with her husband Travis Barker in Calabasas.
Khloe previously had surgery at age 19 to remove melanoma on her back.
In October 2022, the mother-of-two took to her stories to explain the bandage on her face after fans called it out online.
She confessed that she has to undergo an ‘immediate operation’ after having the lingering bump on her cheek checked out, which was later determined to be cancerous.
At the time, Khloe happily stated that her margins were clear and that she was focused on her healing process.
Later in the episode, Kourtney keeps her sister Khloe and production waiting for nearly 20 minutes so she could enjoy a quick hookup with Travis.
Kourtney reveals to her sister — who had stopped by to visit the couple — that she’s ‘ovulating’ and needs to quickly take advantage of the opportunity.
‘If you give us five minutes to go do something really fast,’ Kourtney hints at her sister through grinning teeth before leaving the room with her rockstar husband.
‘Are you really ovulating,’ asks Khloe.
‘Yes I am,’ Kourtney confidently replies as she strips off her mic pack and leaves it on a chair.
‘Well, let’s see if it takes five minutes,’ Khloe says, before starting the timer on her phone.
The Good American founder tells the cameras that this moment reminds her of the time when she fell asleep in her parents Kris and Caitlyn Jenner’s closet and woke up to them ‘having sex.
‘And this is sort of triggering me.’
What was supposed to be a five-minute break turned into a 15-minute sex session.
Kourtney eventually returns to the room and Khloe asks her to ‘guess’ the time on her stopwatch.
Khloe shows her the screen and Kourtney hilariously remarks that that’s ‘record time’ for her and Travis.
Kourtney tells fans that ‘wife life’ is treating her ‘amazing.’
The couple happily wed in May 2022 at Dolce and Gabbana’s Portofino Villa after legally tying the knot the week prior at a Santa Barbara courthouse.
Kourtney then confirms to fans that she is done with IVF treatment after hoping it would help her conceive a child with husband Travis.
They embarked on the journey last year, which she previously confessed had not ‘been the most amazing experience.’
The reality star is mother to Mason, 13; Penelope, 10; and Reign, eight— with her former partner Scott Disick, whom she dated from 2005 until 2015.
‘We would love a baby more than anything but I just really believe in what God has in store for us,’ she says in confessional.
Kourtney notes that she had ‘seven frozen eggs from years ago before Travis’ that those around her had pushed her to get.
‘When I was 38 or 39 everyone was like pushing me to do that and most of mine didn’t survive the thaw because eggs are one cell and none of them made it to an embryo,’ she explains.
The mother-of-three was always aware that the ‘freezing of the eggs is not a guarantee’ and wants more women to understand that.
Regardless, Kourtney knows that her and Travis already ‘have a full, blessed life.’
‘All the thing that came with IVF took a toll on me physically. My health is still impacted because it’s hormones. And also mentally it took a toll,’ the POOSH founder reveals.
‘So, I think just being happy is most important and being a good parent to my kids. We are just embracing that whatever is meant to be will be.’
Kourtney tells Khloe that although their family likes to ‘lift each other up’ in times of crisis, she feels that it’s mostly in a ‘superficial way.’
‘Like I don’t think that we know how to be there for each other on like a deeper level,’ she says.
This shocks Khloe, who insists that she believes she’s always there for family in a deep way.
‘When there’s something pretty dramatic or devastating in the family, we’re all by the person’s side. That’s my experience,’ she says in confessional.
‘But if Kourtney doesn’t feel that way then I feel badly for her. But I could easily say, “Yeah, like how you didn’t checkup on me with the baby.”
‘But, she’s in her love bubble,’ Khloe concludes.
Kourtney acknowledges that her and Khloe have always had a deep connection since they were little and that she will always be her ‘soulmate after her true soulmate’ Travis.
‘With Khloe and I there is no competition, we are just genuinely obsessed with each other,’ she tells the audience with a smile.
‘We also vibed a lot on making fun of Kim and then I think when that was gone, Kim and Khloe were, like, vibing and then I was the one that got ganged up on,’ she explains.
Kourtney’s aware that people have been saying Kim is Khloe’s ‘new Kourtney,’ but she confidently states: ‘No one could be as funny as me, obviously.’
Regardless of their distance, Kourtney insists that the sisters would ‘do anything for each other and, like, ride for each other until the end.
‘But it is a different thing.’
Khloe explains to Kourtney that they’re no longer doing ‘one-on-one activities together’ like they used to because she is always with Travis or with her children.
‘Which I get, I would be, too,’ she adds.
Khloe suggests that her and Kourtney ‘have a day together’ to catch up like old times.
‘Let’s pretend we’re back in Miami,’ says Khloe, with Kourtney dismissively adding: ‘And yelling on the streets…’
‘We don’t even have to leave the gates [of your home]. Do you know how much fun we have together no matter where we go?’ Khloe says.
‘I will let you pick anything you want.’
Kourtney seems interested in the idea but the two fail to nail down any specific plans for the future.
Later in the episode, Kylie meets up with her older sister Kendall to learn how to drive stick shift in the model’s black 1997 Porsche.
‘I was flattered because when she asks me to help her with something that I love doing, I couldn’t be more excited to hangout with her,’ Kendall says in confessional.
Kylie says she’s ‘determined’ to learn and looking forward to bonding with the sister that she previously said she has the least in common with.
Despite looking very overwhelmed while Kendall explains how to to shift gears, Kylie bravely gets into the drivers seat.
Kylie’s worried about locating the break while Kendall is mostly concerned with the idea of Kylie ‘crashing my car.’
Kylie performs her test drive in a parking lot and Kendall compliments her for giving it a go, but she admits in confessional that her vintage car got a bit of beating.
Putting all her faith into her little sister, Kendall allows Kylie to drive them back home.
She cheers her on from the passengers seat while Kylie stares straight forward with her eyes wide.
After the driving lesson, Kendall attends her annual 818 party which is held on August 18 in honor of her successful 818 Tequila line.
Kim, Kris, Kris’ boyfriend Corey Gamble, Khloe and Kylie all turned out for the big event.
Kendall praises her family’ for their devotion to ‘supporting’ each other’s business endeavors.
The Kardashian-Jenner clan doesn’t hesitate to grab their favorite tequila drinks as the party gets going.
Kylie admits in confessional that she’s the sister that can ‘drink the most and hold it the best.’
I mean I can drink A LOT,’ she emphasizes.
Kylie tells to viewers that Kendall and Kim are the sisters who get tipsy the quickest
‘They have trouble hiding it. They have two shots [and then] they’re announcing it to everyone.’
Kylie reveals that Kourtney ‘will pee on everybody and everywhere and in public’ when she’s drunk.
‘She’s like naked somewhere… she’s a free lady [when drunk].’
‘Khloe is fun to get drunk with but she can get very aggressive. Like watch out! And there is no stopping her,’ Kylie explains.
Just before dinner is served at Kendall’s party, the runway maven delivers a toast and reflects on how much she’s learned in the tequila industry.
Joining the family at the soiree was close friend and British late-night host James Corden.
Khloe is seated next to James as she sarcastically informs him she ‘had a baby’ when he asks her how she’s been doing.
She remains tightlipped when he inquires about her newborn son’s name, but she happily shows a photo.
Though in confessional Khloe confirms that she has finally decided on a name for her son, it is bleeped out.
‘Naming a human is very hard,’ Khloe says. ‘I feel like I’ve gone through a lot recently, so what’s one more thing on my plate.’
At the episode’s end Kim breaks down in tears while revealing the emotional and mental pain her ex-husband Kanye West has put her through since their divorce.
Kim — who split from the controversial rapper in February 2021 after six years of marriage and four children together — tells her mother Kris that she’s ‘exhausted’ by Kanye’s behavior.
She gets particularly emotional while speaking about how her ex-husband ‘looks down on [her]’ for her infamous 2007 sex tape and ‘brings it up’ whenever he can.
‘All of his shenanigans is going to be far more damaging to the kids one day than my tape will ever be,’ she tells Kris passionately.
The SKIMS founder also reveals her true feelings about Kanye’s habit of making their private text message public.
The scene kicks off with Kim admitting to her mother that she’s been dealing with anxiety attacks as a result of the stress Kanye has put her under.
‘I spent my whole morning having an anxiety attack. I felt like I just couldn’t breathe all day. You know when you just are on the verge of tears it’s like your throat is about to cry? That’s how I felt all day,’ says Kim.
In confessional, Kim acknowledges that there ‘has been a lot going on between me and Kanye right now’ and that it’s dominated the media.
‘Even through all the craziness of things that Kanye says about us like I never comment, I never post,’ she tells her mom.
‘Like, he has made up the most insane narrative about you and the tape and we stay silent and we stay silent through all the lies, all the stuff.’
With Kanye having continually made their family matters public, Kim states that she just ‘[expects] that everything that I text Kanye will be put on the internet.’
Although this pains her, Kim says that Kanye bringing her family, particularly her mother, into his online rants is what sets her over the edge.
‘I think I can handle anything, I just get really heartbroken for my mom that she has to deal with so much from so many different sides,’ she tells the camera.
Kris reminds Kim that she ‘can’t control’ what Kanye does and that ‘he’s doing this to himself.’
The SKIMS founder expresses anger over the fact that Kanye continues to use her in sex tape against her.
‘He looks so down on me for my [sex] tape and like brings it up all over town,’ she claims.
‘All over the media. Thanks for reminding people once again. All of his shenanigans is going to be far more damaging to the kids one day than my tape will ever be.’
While Kanye gets to scream his truth from the rooftops, Kim is frustrated that she’s forced to remain quiet.
But she also knows it’s for the best.
‘And I have to sit here and not say anything ever because I know one day my kids will appreciate that and I know that’s the best thing for them,’ explains Kim, who can barely hold back her tears.
She also notes that she’s had to keep a brave face for her four children, who are unaware of their father’s behavior and often play his music in the presence of their mother.
‘And by the way, I’m the one where s**t can be going down and I get in the car and everyday the kids want to blast dad’s music,’ she tells Kris.
‘And I’m like, “He’s the best! Yeah!” And I put it on and we’re singing along and inside I’m like dying because I will be his biggest cheerleader to them forever and one day they will see for themselves and I will answer whatever they want me to.’
She then slams Kanye’s ‘protector’ persona by telling her mother: ‘The one who does interviews saying they’re my “forever protector” is the one hurting me the most.’
Kim also claims that it was Kanye who ‘started a rumor that I was hooking up with Drake, that I was having an affair our whole marriage.’
She continues: ‘He accused me of that publicly. So, the person that’s supposed to protect me the most publicly would accuse me of having an affair throughout our whole marriage.
‘I really can’t wrap my head around how he thinks he is a protector.’
Kim also touches on the fact that Kanye tries to control everything that is said about him but does not give others the same courtesy.
‘I think sometimes Kanye will say to me, “Can I have approval on what you say about me on your show?”
‘And I will say, “Well, you just talked about me in this song, this song, this interview, this interview and you didn’t ask my permission.”
‘And I never say anything bad, I never say anything negative. If I say, “I’m exhausted,” I feel guilty about that. I am f**king exhausted.
‘For once can everyone just get their s**t together?’ Kim exclaims, her voice shaking as she tries to hold back tears.
‘So I can lose it, just once. I want to lose it once. I want to have a bad day and I can’t.”
Kim begins to sob as she says that she ‘can’t even be overwhelmed and have a bad day because no one else has theirs s**t together.’
Kris recognizes that Kim is ‘under a lot of stress’ in her current situation.
‘I don’t even think you realize the weight of the world is on your shoulders.’
‘And I don’t even know why I feel bad,’ says Kim. ‘I don’t know what to do and I don’t want to be a part of this narrative.
‘And it’s like when is this ever gonna end? Like it never will.’
Kim explains in confessional that it’s always ‘so intense’ with Kanye and that she has no interest in engaging in a public feud with him.’
‘I feel like I have to do something especially when it involves other people and it hurts other people. Hurt me, just keep it with me.
‘I am stuck with this for the rest of my life,’ she tells Kris.
Kris replies: ‘You can’t control someone else’s behavior you have to look at the history of this. We were there for him for so many years.
‘And then you finally decided that you couldn’t take it anymore and that it wasn’t in the best interest of you or your children.
‘You got a divorce. You did the only thing you could do,’ the matriarch concludes.
Earlier in the episode, Kris notices that Kim is struggling with psoriasis breakouts on her legs as she applies an anti-itch cream.
‘Well, tell the father of my children to stop acting up and then I won’t stress out and get psoriasis,’ Kim snaps at her mother.
She is directly referencing the drawn-out divorce she went through with Kanye West, which was only just resolved in November after nearly two years.
‘Your leg looks pretty good despite what you’re going through,’ Kris remarks.
‘The [drama] is penetrating me 100%. I just feel this is the time where I want to stay single because I fall quickly but I don’t want to,’ Kim explains.
‘Do you think that you’re one of those people that can’t be alone really?’ Kris asks.
Though Kim insists she ‘loves being alone,’ Kris reminds her that she’s almost ‘always’ with someone whether it be a boyfriend or her tight-knit friend group.
Kris notes Kim always ‘[has] to be busy’ and Kim has no problem admitting that she’s a ‘workaholic’ but that she is looking forward to enjoying more time to herself.
‘I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but I just don’t want to be out and it’s so hard because it’s my business and I have to do press for my podcast and I have to do press for this and I have to do press for this,’ she laments.
‘I want to be as private as I want to be and just live my life and not date or date five people if I want to.’
The truth behind new diet drug craze – Hollywood is hooked on it, and social media is fanning demand for the latest weight-loss ‘miracle’
Over the summer I was lucky enough to be invited to a 60th birthday at which the after-dinner entertainment was a private performance by one of the UK’s leading male pop stars. More eye-popping than the actual show, though, was how incredible said star looked. He was a mere shadow of his former self, prancing around the stage in a silver catsuit. His secret? Semaglutide, or Ozempic as it is branded, a new diet drug that everybody – but everybody, darling, including one of the world’s most famous supermodels – is apparently taking.
Originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes, it is used off-label (for a purpose other than that for which it was licensed) in both the US and the UK to treat obesity. In research conducted by its billionaire manufacturer, the Danish-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, patients lost an average of 17 per cent of their overall body weight over 68 weeks. This compares with five to nine per cent for ‘oldschool’ anti-obesity drugs such as Metformin.
Only available in the UK on the NHS if you have type 2 diabetes, Ozempic can be obtained through a private doctor, and if you are willing to take it without medical supervision – not recommended by doctors (see panel) – you can get it online through various weight-loss programmes. It is sometimes taken in tablet form but more commonly as an injection.
Originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes, Semaglutide is used off-label. It has been branded as a new diet drug that everybody is apparently taking
Predictably, Hollywood has been aware of Ozempic for a lot longer than us – Variety magazine recently quipped that the drug deserved its own thank-you speech at the Emmys, as so many stars on the podium had obviously been taking it. Elon Musk raved about its more powerful sister drug, Wegovy, on Twitter; Kim Kardashian, it is hotly rumoured, used semaglutide to lose 16lb in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the Met Ball. On TikTok the hashtag #ozempic has had more than 285 million views.
Thanks to the hype, there has been a surge in demand, causing shortages on both sides of the Atlantic, with a backlash against influencers and celebrities hogging supplies ahead of desperate diabetes sufferers. Predictably, Big Pharma has come up with an alternative – tirzepatide (brand name Mounjaro), manufactured by Eli Lilly – but it has yet to be approved by the US Food & Drug Administration for weight loss.
Novo Nordisk has issued a statement to say its supplies will be replenished by the end of the year, but it hasn’t quelled anxiety. At least two middle-aged male friends of mine who started using it in September are getting themselves in a twist about being caught short before the holidays. As one private London GP remarked to me: ‘It’s like the H RT panic last spring.’
So what exactly is this drug? Semaglutide belongs to a class called GLP-1 agonists, which not only regulate blood sugar but, as was discovered about a decade ago, also mimic the gut hormones that regulate our appetites – the ones that tell the brain when we are hungry or full. There are, of course, side effects: acid reflux, nausea, exacerbation of IBS symptoms and fatigue (but much less so than in earlier GLP-1 agonists such as Saxenda), as well as pancreatitis, gallstones and, in very high doses, it has caused thyroid tumours in rats. Meanwhile, when you stop using it the effect wears off immediately and in some cases it won’t work at all.
‘I would describe semaglutide as an example of very smart science,’ says leading consultant endocrinologist Dr Efthimia Karra from her private practice off London’s Harley Street. ‘But it is not a panacea for everyone. Around a fifth of users do not respond to it. This is because the human body favours weight gain, thus when you lose weight the body will do anything to revert to its highest BMI. The heavier you are the harder it is to lose weight. If a patient has made no progress in three months, I will take them off it.’
Banker’s wife Laura, a native New Yorker in her mid-50s who had hovered between decades, started using it in January. ‘The Paleo diet, 5:2, CBT, NLP, bootcamp, diet delivery services – I’ve tried them all,’ she says from the family home in Hampshire, ‘and I’ve always yo-yoed right back. After my last annual checkup I seriously contemplated giving up. Then my doctor suggested semaglutide.’
After only a month she noticed her clothes had become looser. From then on, the weight started dropping off. ‘The strange thing was, I wasn’t eating anything different. I just couldn’t physically have seconds any more, and the idea of pudding after a full meal had lost its allure.’ Three months on, she is two stone lighter ‒ though occasionally she suffers heartburn if she eats too late at night or drinks alcohol ‒ and when we spoke in autumn, she was looking forward to losing another stone by Christmas.
‘There is a niggling voice that tells me it is both risky and lazy to take a drug to lose weight, and I worry that it will all pile on again if I stop taking it. But if it does, I will seriously consider taking it indefinitely.’
Private London GP Dr Martin Galy has been prescribing semaglutide for about a year to clients who cannot lose the weight they gained in menopause. He has seen it have a transformational effect, too, on much younger women who suffer polycystic ovary syndrome. ‘PCOS sufferers are difficult to treat, and you can imagine how body image plays a very important part when it comes to self-esteem.’
But according to Tom Sanders, professor of nutrition and dietetics at King’s College London, it is not a magic bullet. Commenting on a study on semaglutide published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2021, he says, ‘The challenge post-weight loss is to prevent a regain in weight,’ he wrote. It may prove to be useful in the short term, but ‘public health measures that encourage behavioural changes such as regular physical activity and moderating dietary energy intake are still needed’.
That said, given our rising national obesity statistics and the escalation in accompanying health issues such as heart failure, cancer and obstructive sleep apnoea clogging up hospital beds, we’re going to need something. Semaglutide may be the rich person’s drug today, but might it be approved for more widespread use? Only time will tell.
This content was originally published here.