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Newsletter #18: Weight Loss Drugs, Blood Pressure, COVID, Cats, and more

February 2024

Medical News and Commentary

What happens when you stop taking weight-loss drugs? It’s not pretty. 

Everyone has heard about the new generation of weight loss drugs. These are all versions of the same class of medication. They all increase the body's level of a naturally occurring hormone called Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 (GLP–1). This hormone stimulates the release of insulin. GLP–1 drugs help to lower blood sugar and delay stomach emptying, making people feel full longer, thus decreasing their appetite as well as total calorie intake. Do they work? In a word, yes. These drugs can result in significant weight loss over time. However, they are frequently accompanied by side effects, the most common of which is nausea.


But what happens when you stop taking them?  When you stop taking them, the mechanisms at work that helped you to lose weight will effectively stop. Your appetite will return and your chances of gaining weight increase significantly, especially if you have made no changes to your lifestyle. On average, one year after stopping GLP–1 drugs people have regained two-thirds of the weight they originally lost. So in order for them to be continually effective, you must take them for a lifetime. At about $1200 a month, that is pretty tough for the average person.



Is your BP medication linked to suicide? Two of the most commonly prescribed categories of blood pressure lowering medications include ACE inhibitors(lisinopril, ramipril, enalopril, etc.) and ARBs(losartan, olmesartan, telmisartan, etc.). Both are effective in helping to lower blood pressure. A recent study published in JAMA Open Network suggests that patients who are on ARBs have a 63% increased risk of suicide when compared to those patients on ACE inhibitors. While the overall suicide rate is quite low, this is a cause for concern. In patients who have a history of depression or suicidal thoughts, it may be better to avoid ARBs and consider trying a different category of blood pressure lowering medication.



Who are you getting your health information from? The source matters. Hopefully, you are reading this newsletter because you consider it a trusted source of medical information. As you know, the internet is filled with content creators of questionable qualifications and intentions.  The attached article published in Yahoo News provides a nice guide to help you navigate the world of wellness influencers.  



Got Covid? Saltwater gargles can help.  A new study being presented at this year's American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology annual scientific meeting determined that both low and high dose saline gargles are associated with lower hospitalization rates for Covid infections. Hospitalization rates were lowered by 18.5% and 21.4% respectively.


Dr. Paz comments: If you have had a recent exposure to Covid–19, I would strongly consider regular Saline Gargles four times daily for a period of 3 or 4 days after exposure. I think this could potentially lower your risk of significant infection with minimal side effects. Saline nasal sprays, such as Simply Saline may also be beneficial.



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