Elon Musk took to his favorite social media outlet Twitter recently to reveal that fasting and Novo Nordisk’s weight loss drug Wegovy (semaglutide) have been the secrets behind his slimmer and trimmer appearance.
Musk made the revelation in response to a question he received on the social media platform, which he is set to purchase after a long legal battle, about his secret to looking “awesome, fit, ripped & healthy,” saying “Fasting” helped him shed the pounds “And Wegovy.”
The unexpected endorsement would have been a nice surprise for Novo Nordisk, which received approval for Wegovy from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last summer for chronic weight management in adults with obesity (BMI≥30) or who are overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol) with a BMI of 27 or greater.
Given that the drug is indicated for people with obesity and specific BMI thresholds, it isn’t clear to some whether Musk should be taking the drug, making his endorsement somewhat problematic according to some industry experts.
For this reason, “these kinds of unexpected endorsements can be a double-edged sword for companies” says Insider.
Semaglutide is a GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist that was first designed and approved for diabetes management, with Novo having two versions of it, Ozempic and Rybelsus. GLP-1 is involved in the regulation of appetite and caloric intake.
Wegovy is Novo Nordisk’s higher-dose injectable form of semaglutide repurposed for chronic weight management.
By acting on the GLP-1 receptor, Wegovy suppresses appetite and delays digestion. It has been shown to lead to a 15 percent to 20 percent loss of body weight over 68 weeks.
Musk is not connected to Novo Nordisk and a spokesperson from the company told Fierce Pharma Marketing that “we were not aware of Elon Musk’s use of Wegovy before he shared this information publicly.”
A Wegovy rival is in the works from Eli Lilly who submitted a rolling submission to the FDA for its weight loss drug tirzepatide, branded as Mounjaro. The drug was approved in May this year for the management of Type 2 diabetes.
The obesity drug market is a burgeoning sector in pharma, predicted to reach $54 billion by 2030. According to Morgan Stanley Research, obesity treatment could become a top-12 global therapy. Last year alone, Wegovy sales totaled $1.2 billion.
Diabetes drugs repurposed as obesity treatments (along with diet and exercise in most cases) not only target weight, but more and more studies are showing that they can also cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular deaths by as much as 17 percent.