CNN: The questions eating disorder experts have about weight loss medications

The University of Cincinnati's Susan McElroy, MD, spoke with CNN about the impact weight loss medications like semaglutide have on people with eating disorders. McElroy's research focuses on eating disorders, bipolar disorder and the cooccurrence of psychiatric illness with obesity.

Semaglutide, sold under brand names like Ozempic and Wegovy, are a kind of drug called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists or GLP-1 agonists. While originally prescribed for diabetes, semaglutide is becoming more and more popular for weight loss.

McElroy said there is little research on the connection between eating disorders and weight loss medications.

“I view eating disorders as the last frontier in psychiatry,” said McElroy, the Linda and Harry Fath endowed professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience in UC’s College of Medicine and chief research officer at the Lindner Center of HOPE. “The eating disorder field is hard because we’re just ignored.”

In general, medications that cause weight loss have a good chance to also reduce binge eating, McElroy said, but there currently isn't enough research into how to treat disorders like binge eating disorder with these medications.

“We desperately need more compounds to treat people with eating disorders,” McElroy said.

Read the CNN story.

Featured photo at top of a semaglutide injection pen. Photo/aprott/iStock.

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