ABC 4 Investigates: The 'Skinny Shot'

- SALT LAKE (ABC 4 News) – In a world obsessed with model bodies, a medical drug is helping patients shed the pounds.

For Xylina Smith, the key to losing weight is found at the tip of a needle.

“I started noticing my pants were fitting looser and looser,” Smith, a type 2 diabetic, said.

Smith injects herself with Victoza, a shot designed for type 2 diabetics to manage their blood sugar. The shot has an added benefit of weight loss.

Devora Eisenberg lost 30 pounds and several dress sizes using Victoza.

“I think my highest size when I was not pregnant was a 14 and now I’m a 4,” Eisenberg said.

Three shots for type 2 diabetics are on the market: Victoza, Byetta and Bydureon. The shots trick the mind into thinking the body is fuller faster.

The prescriptions range from about $200 to $400 and if the patient stops taking the shot, the weight is likely to return.

Dr. Timothy Graham, Associate Director of the Cardio Metabolic Risk Reduction Clinic at the University of Utah, said he has seen significant weight loss especially in type 3 diabetics, but the drug is not safe for everyone.

Graham said he would not prescribe the shot to anyone who is not diabetic because of the potential side effects, which include nausea and in severe cases an inflamed pancreas or death.

“The idea that this is just an easy fix for obesity is probably misguided,” Graham added.

Yet, Smith and Eisenberg said the weight or lack of it is worth the risk.

“Believe it or not, I went from a 276 pounds to 230 pounds in a five month period,” Smith added.

Eisenberg agrees with the results.

“Compared to other medicine regimens, this requires the least amount of thinking on my part,” she said.

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