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Patients Hate ‘Forever’ Drugs. Is Wegovy Different?

Most people, study after study shows, don’t take the medicines prescribed for them. It doesn’t matter what they are — statins, high blood pressure drugs, drugs to lower blood sugar, asthma drugs. Either patients never start taking them, or they stop.

It’s a problem that doctors call nonadherence — the common human tendency to resist medical treatment — and it leads to countless deaths and billions of dollars of preventable medical costs each year.

But that resistance may be overcome by the blockbuster obesity drugs Wegovy and Zepbound, which have astounded the world with the way they help people lose weight and keep it off. Though it’s still early days, and there is a paucity of data on compliance with the new drugs,doctors say they are noticing another astounding effect: Patients seem to take them faithfully, week in and week out.

Some patients may have to get over an initial reluctance to start. A national survey showed that when people were told they would gain weight back if they stopped taking the drugs, most lost interest in starting them.

In one small study, patients stopped refilling prescriptions for months at a time, perhaps because of side effects, lack of availability, or insurance and cost issues.

But anecdotally, doctors and patients say, those who begin taking the drugs are continuing.

“I don’t intend to ever stop taking this medicine,” said Kimberly DelRosso of Pembroke, Mass., who takes Wegovy.

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