What orthopedic leaders have to say about weight loss drugs

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The popularity of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic has skyrocketed over the past few years. 

Here's what three orthopedic surgeons have to say about the drugs' potential impact on the field:

Note: These responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Thomas DeBerardino, MD. Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon at UT Health San Antonio: GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Ozempic and Wegovy will be a positive disruptive force in the orthopedic industry, by providing a new way to better control Type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 receptor agonists such as these have also been shown to reduce fracture risk in this subset of patients. Reducing hip fractures (by almost 40% in one study) in patients with Type 2 diabetes would be an incredible secondary benefit.

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John Prunskis, MD. CEO and Medical Director of the Illinois Pain & Spine Institute (Elgin): I am seeing increased usage of GLP drugs. Initially, the effect of these drugs will have little impact on spine and orthopedics; however, in a few years time, it will have a bearish effect as thinner people will have fewer spine and orthopedic problems. After a few more years business will pick up again since people will be living longer. I believe usage of this class of drugs will increase.

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Kevin Stone, MD. Orthopedic Surgeon at the Stone Clinic (San Francisco): Weight loss drugs will help people be much more active, which will drive more muscular usage. Patients will experience more skeletal injuries and more desire to have pain-free joints for older arthritic patients. Therefore, surgical volumes will go up, partial and total knee replacements will go up and sports related injuries will go up.

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