Pros, Cons of Weight Loss Drugs; Jordan's Princess Tackles Cancer in the Arab World; and Doctors Embrace Corporate Jobs

Patrick Lee

December 15, 2022

Pros, Cons of Weight Loss Drugs

The US recently approved new weight loss drugs that have become popular and carry new benefits but also potentially negative side effects. The FDA approved Wegovy (semaglutide), a once-weekly injection, in June 2021. It also green-lighted Ozempic, a lower dose of semaglutide, in January 2020 for improving glucose regulation in diabetes. Another drug, Mounjaro (tirzepatide), is on a fast track at the FDA to be approved for weight loss after its approval for diabetes in May 2022.

The results: Semaglutide and tirzepatide underwent randomized, placebo-controlled trials for obesity. Tirzepatide achieved 20% body weight reduction or more. Semaglutide resulted in about a 17% reduction.

Clinical and side effects: The two drugs have similar effects, including enhanced satiety, delayed gastric emptying, increased insulin, decreased glucagon, and reduced high glucose levels. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.

Jordan's Princess Tackles Cancer in the Arab World

Jordan's Princess Ghida Talal, chairperson of the King Hussein Cancer Foundation and Center in Amman, argued for increased cancer research and treatment in Arab nations. Most advanced cancer research takes place in Western nations and mainly benefits residents of those countries, Talal told Dr John Whyte, the chief medical officer at WebMD, on Change Makers: The Future of Health. As a result, some 75% of the cancer burden will eventually fall on low-income countries. "This is why it is extremely important to support and encourage research coming from the Arab world," said Talal, "because the Arab world is facing genetic, behavioral and environmental factors that affect cancers in a very different way than it affects it in the West."

Jordan's contribution: The King Hussein Cancer Center has become the cornerstone for cancer care for the entire Middle East region to fill the tremendous need for treatment and research.

More support needed: "We have brilliant talent, brilliant minds in the Arab scientific community, but we just have to support them in a stronger way so that they can also produce cancer research that is relevant to the populations of this part of the world," said Talal.

Doctors Embrace Corporate Jobs

More doctors are taking corporate jobs in lieu of private practice for a variety of reasons. The pros of such employment outweigh the cons, doctors tell Medscape. They include a steady salary and the resources to focus on caring for patients. Some complain about the rigidity of employer's rules or a lack of input into key decisions. But more physicians are likely to choose employment over private practice in the years ahead.

No business issues: "I'd rather not deal with day-to-day business issues such as staffing and billing and buying EHR systems or malpractice insurance," said Kevin Zakrzewski, MD, who practices general internal medicine in a group practice owned by Jefferson-Health, a health system in Philadelphia.

Work-life balance: "I'm a cardiologist and a father to two amazing children; it's important to me to take them to school, to spend days off with them and go on vacations with them," said Jason Wasfy, MD, medical director at Massachusetts General Physicians Organization.

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