Doctors Petition FDA for Labeling Changes on Wegovy
Labels should alert patients that a plant-based diet can treat weight loss without health risks, group says
WASHINGTON, DC—Novo Nordisk’s labeling information for semaglutide drugs Ozempic and Wegovy should alert patients that diet can be a safer and more effective approach to weight loss, says a petition to be filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today.
The petition comes just a few weeks after the FDA issued a warning about compounded versions of Wegovy and Ozempic, the most common side effects of which are nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, and hair loss.
The petition is being filed by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit health advocacy organization of 17,000 doctors. It asks the FDA to require that Wegovy and other semaglutide drugs in its class include product packaging and labeling that says:
A low-fat plant-based diet (one free of animal products) has been shown to be as effective or more effective at lowering weight, compared with weight loss medication. Appropriately planned plant-based diets avoid the increased risks of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, gallbladder disease, and pancreatitis, thyroid cancer, and fetal harm associated with GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Once people stop taking these weight loss drugs, they tend to regain the weight. In one trial, after stopping Wegovy for a year, participants gained back two-thirds of the weight they had lost.
“These drugs are not a long-term solution, and the side effects of taking them for an extended period are unknown,” says Physicians Committee President Neal Barnard, MD, FACC. “What we do know is that a low-fat plant-based diet that excludes animal products is the best solution for reaching and maintaining a healthy weight.”
One recent study compared the Mediterranean diet to a low-fat plant-based diet and found that a plant-based diet is more effective for weight loss. It also had better outcomes for body composition, insulin sensitivity, and cholesterol levels, compared with the Mediterranean diet, a diet often touted as best for weight loss. The randomized crossover trial was published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Within 16 weeks, participants lost an average of 13 pounds on the vegan diet.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in education and research.