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By Luke Andrews Senior Health Reporter for Dailymail.Com

22:32 09 April 2024, Updated 22:54 09 April 2024

Famous for helping thousands of Americans shed excess weight, Ozympic is now being touted as a treatment for many other serious health problems.

In a new study, doctors found that a blockbuster drug could reduce the risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) by 80 percent.

Meanwhile, investigators are starting research projects to see if the drug can alleviate sleep apnea.

The researchers behind the MS study are calling for immediate trials to see if Ozympic can be used as a treatment for the neurodegenerative disorder.

The discovery could have even greater financial benefits for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company behind the drug, which is targeting an $80 billion market for obesity drugs this year.

Doctors have gone so far as to suggest semaglutide ¿ the drug in Ozympic should be investigated as a treatment for MS patients.

The latest findings add to earlier claims of a wider range of benefits, such as heart disease, kidney disease and liver problems. There are also tips to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.

In the MS study, researchers at the University of Nebraska compared reports of MS in patients who took 15 weight-loss medications — including semaglutide (generic name for Ozempic).

The results showed that people using semaglutide had a 76 percent lower risk of developing MS compared to patients taking the other 14 drugs in the database, and 83.5 percent for those using dulaglutide or Trulicity.

Looking for ‘natural’ Ozempic? Try to eat vegetables before your meat

Sometimes called diet cycling, this routine slows down the rate at which food leaves your stomach and keeps you fuller for longer.

Eli Lilly, which works on tirzepatide, revealed in a separate report that it has begun a trial to test how the drug affects people with sleep apnea, a common sleep disorder.

Affecting about 39 million adults, patients temporarily stop breathing during sleep.

The study recruited nearly 500 patients who took the drug Munjaro once a week. The trial was scheduled to end last month, and the results are expected to be announced in the coming months.

Weight loss induced by medicine is expected to improve the condition – excess fat around the neck can worsen, which increases the pressure on the upper respiratory tract.

Dr Angela Fitch, president of the Society for Obesity Medicine, said: ‘We know it works, it’s just how well it works.

‘During this study, it will be interesting to see whether those who lose more weight achieve better remission of sleep apnea and how much weight loss is needed to relieve it.’

With a 300 percent increase between 2019 and 2022 alone, Ozympic and similar drugs come on top of a gold rush among weight loss treatments.

They work by stimulating GLP-1 receptors in the brain, which makes a person feel full even after a long period without eating.

This promise – to lose weight with just one injection per week – has fueled their popularity.

However, there are concerns that concerns are being ignored, as an analysis of FDA data by DailyMail.com found 117 deaths linked to the registered drugs after they were released.

These included a woman in her 20s who was diagnosed with a ‘bowel mass’ and another patient who was pregnant.

None of the deaths were confirmed to be caused by the drug, but associations were reported by patients.

In many cases, the claimed benefits are directly related to their ability to help people lose weight quickly.

Being overweight can damage various tissues in the body, increasing the risk of various diseases.

However, there are some studies that suggest that some of the broader benefits may be factors other than weight loss.

The drug stimulates GLP-1 receptors in other parts of the body, including the blood-brain barrier.

Scientists have pointed out that this has many other effects, including protecting neurons from damage.

In their study of MS, scientists analyzed medical data from more than 600,000 patients using 15 weight loss medications since 2003.

They analyzed data on popular drugs such as semaglutide and tirzepatide and others that have been linked to weight loss, such as metformin and bupropion.

Writing in the paper, printed Medical advances in neurological disordersThe University of Nebraska team wrote: ‘Our findings suggest that antidiabetic weight loss drugs, including semaglutide, may be considered for repurposing.

‘This warrants validation with robust methods and future studies.’

The study was funded by the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Estimates show that the market for weight loss drugs will grow from $3 billion by 2022 to more than $80 billion today.

Novo Nordisk, behind Ozympic, was the first in the market. But Eli Lilly is carrying its own weight-loss drug, tirzepatide, available as Mounjaro. Reports last month suggested the weight-loss drug Zepbon had already overtaken Wegovin in prescriptions.

Ozempic is currently only approved for type 2 diabetes, but is often prescribed off-label for weight loss.

Its sister drug Wegovy – which uses the same drug semaglutide but at a lower dose – is approved for weight loss and earlier this year got the green light for heart patients.

Heart disease is the leading killer in the United States, and it is estimated that more than 120 million adults suffer from this disease.