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Weighing in on Weight Loss Medications

Cedars-Sinai’s Amanda Velazquez, MD, Featured on ABC Network’s Oprah Special on Treating Obesity

Oprah Winfrey recently interviewed Amanda Velazquez, MD, director of Obesity Medicine in the Department of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, about the global impact new prescription weight loss medications are having on healthcare, the economy, patients and culture.

Amanda Velazquez, MDMillions tuned in to the ABC prime-time event, An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution, as Velazquez, other medical experts and Winfrey discussed obesity as a chronic disease and addressed the life-changing impact as well as side effects of weight loss medications.

“A multipronged approach is the way it has to be,” Velazquez told Winfrey. “I think a lot of times people think that they can just pick up the medication and take it without any other counseling. The key, however, is that you’re working with a healthcare team that is multidisciplinary.”

Velazquez emphasized that obesity is a complex medical condition, and diet or exercise alone may not be enough for a person to lose weight, keep it off long term and prevent weight-related diseases.

In the special, Winfrey talked about her own experience of feeling weight shamed for 25 years.  

“It is a very personal topic for me and for the hundreds of millions of people impacted around the globe who have for years struggled with weight and obesity,” said Winfrey, who also revealed that she began taking a prescription weight loss medication in the past year.

Velazquez explained that anti-obesity medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration—such as semaglutide (Ozempic)—have been shown to be safe, if taken correctly and long term.

“We have good trials showing that when patients stop medication, the disease comes back,” Velazquez said.  

Velazquez also was included in media coverage of the special, including in The New York Times, Oprah Daily, and Time.  

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Weight-Loss Drugs, What to Know Now.