With nearly half of those living in the U.S. clinically considered obese, the idea that massive weight loss is achievable by taking a single pill each day may sound deceivingly simple.

Recent studies into the effects of high-dose oral versions of semaglutide-based medications have produced promising results.

As previously covered in The Dallas Express, injectable drugs containing the active ingredient semaglutide, marketed as Ozempic and Wegovy, have taken the public by storm.

Although initially developed to help manage type 2 diabetes, these drugs were quickly noticed for producing some astounding results for weight loss among the broader public.

Some Ozempic and Wegovy users have even suffered undesirable consequences like loose, saggy skin due to the rapidity of their weight loss.

Yet with obesity being linked to increasingly more adverse health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and more, making these game-changing weight loss drugs available in convenient tablet form may spur greater uptake.

“If you ask people a random question, ‘Would you rather take a pill or an injection?’ People overwhelmingly prefer a pill,” explained Dr. Daniel Bessesen, Denver Health’s chief of endocrinology, according to NBC 5.

While the creator of Wegovy Novo Nordisk already offers an oral semaglutide drug called Rybelsus, its maximum dose is 14 milligrams.

The two recent trials of oral semaglutide looked at the effectiveness of daily doses as high as 50 milligrams among overweight or obese participants.

As published in the medical journal The Lancet, the results of the trials — one conducted on type 2 diabetic participants and the other on non-diabetics — noted that significant weight loss occurred among all participants.

Moreover, the higher the dose, the greater the amount of weight lost.

For instance, in the study focusing on type 2 diabetics, about 1,600 people were observed for 16 months, and those on higher doses of oral semaglutide saw nearly double — between 15 and 20 pounds on a baseline weight of 212 pounds — the weight loss of those on a lower dose — approximately 10 pounds.

Similarly, the other study of 660 participants recorded an average weight loss of 15% of their body weight after 16 months of taking a 50-milligram daily pill. This weight loss of about 35 pounds was far greater than the 6 pounds averaged by participants taking a placebo.

While high-dose oral semaglutide performed similarly to the injectable medication in terms of weight loss, some negative side effects were encountered in the trials.

Mild digestive issues such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation, as well as skin issues like sensitivity and tingling, were reported. Researchers also witnessed an uptick in the prevalence of benign tumors.

Novo Nordisk plans will seek approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the oral medication later this year, according to NBC 5.

Meanwhile, other pharmaceutical companies continue to explore oral semaglutide options, with both Eli Lilly and Co. and Pfizer similarly having also reported encouraging results.