Tips for Thought

The Risks of Taking Ozempic for Weight Loss

Wanting to lose weight is relatively common for people who wish to achieve an ideal figure or improve their overall health. However, countless “miracle solutions” like tummy teas, devices, supplements, creams, and non-invasive surgical procedures have become part of the mainstream throughout the years.

It’s not surprising why these things have become popular. Many people struggle with traditional weight loss for many reasons. Some have metabolic issues, others with financial problems, and some live in food deserts.

Of course, the factors above are only a few reasons why it’s hard for some people to lose weight. When the traditional route becomes difficult, it’s expected that people will want to find alternative ways to fix their situation.

Ozempic is the latest “miracle solution” to weight loss, but it was not created for that purpose.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription drug for managing blood sugar levels for adults with Type 2 diabetes. It also lowers the risk for specific heart or blood vessel problems in adults with heart disease and diabetes. These risks include a heart attack or stroke due to heart or blood vessel issues. Ozempic usually comes as a liquid solution within disposable pens, which users will then inject under their skin.

What Are the Effects of Ozempic?

Ozempic works through the following mechanics:

  • It stimulates insulin secretion. Patients with Type 2 diabetes develop insulin resistance which makes it difficult for the pancreas to secret insulin—Ozempic works by stimulating insulin secretion.
  • It lowers glucagon secretion. Glucagon is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels. While insulin decreases blood sugar levels, glucagon increases them. Patients with type 2 diabetes have increased blood sugar levels in their system. Using Ozempic can help regulate glucagon levels in a manageable amount.
  • It suppresses appetite. Ozempic mimics GLP-1, a hormone that slows your stomach from emptying. Ozempic enables people to feel fuller for extended periods. This effect decreases appetite, making people less likely to binge during treatment. Many people undergoing a weight loss journey often use Ozempic for this specific effect.

How Did Ozempic Gain Popularity?

Ozempic has been around since 2017, but it has gained traction recently. In a viral TikTok trend called the #OzempicChallenge, social media users share their incredible weight loss results after using Ozempic. This phenomenon garnered millions of views on the platform, leading to famous endorsements from various influencers.

However, TikTok is only one of many platforms that use the drug for weight loss. In Hollywood, where looks are everything, celebrities have “doctors” who prescribe countless medications that ensure they stay in tip-top shape. It’s no surprise that Ozempic was one of these commonly-prescribed drugs. While many celebrities may not admit using it, people like Elon Musk and Chelsea Handler have taken versions of the drug and have been forthright with their experiences.

With these platforms in mind, it’s safe to say that there is a nationwide shortage of Ozempic in the country. This effect is hazardous for diabetic patients who need the drug for its intended use.

Are There Harmful Side Effects of Ozempic?

Like most medications, Ozempic comes with a few side effects of its own. Some of its relatively mild side effects include digestive issues that go away within a few days or weeks. Some of the milder side effects include the following:

  • Constipation;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Nausea;
  • Stomach pain; and
  • Vomiting

Note: If you’re on Ozempic and experiencing these side effects, contact your doctor immediately.

However, Ozempic also has more severe side effects. While they aren’t common, it’s still crucial to note them. Some of the more severe side effects include

  • Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas;
  • Diabetic retinopathy, also known as vision loss caused by diabetes;
  • Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar;
  • Gallbladder disease, which may consist of gallstones or gallbladder inflammation; and
  • Severe allergic reaction

How Can I Use Ozempic for Weight Loss?

As of 2023, Ozempic has yet to be FDA-approved for weight loss. However, it may be prescribed off-label for weight management. Off-label means using the drug for something other than its official use. However, before considering Ozempic as a viable option for weight loss, you must ask your doctor about its additional risks other than the side effects listed above.

Aside from the issue of shortages and limiting diabetic patients’ access to medication, Ozempic is only prescribed for weight management in particular situations. One reason behind that is that it has many risks when used off-label.

In an article in Baptist Health, some of the risks of using Ozempic for weight loss include the following:

1. Increased drug interactions for those taking Ozempic without supervision. It’s not unlikely that people will take advantage of the latest trend and find ways to acquire the drug, even through illegal means.

While Ozempic is effective in weight loss, obtaining the medication without supervision or a legitimate prescription poses risks to the person’s overall health. If you’re on other drugs, Ozempic could potentially alter its effectiveness.

2. Regaining the weight back after stopping Ozempic. Even though Ozempic has impressive results as a weight-loss method, it was created for people with diabetes who will have to use said medication for an extended period. Individuals who plan to use Ozempic for a “lose weight quick” method will most likely regain all that weight if they don’t adopt healthy eating habits.

trial showed that around 2,000 people who stopped taking 2.4 mg of semaglutide regained at least two-thirds of the weight they lost following the year after they stopped using the medication. This instance proved that if you’re thinking of going on Ozempic, even for a short term, its effects will only last if you make lifestyle changes.

Summary:

Ozempic is a diabetic medication now touted as a weight-loss “miracle.” While its effects are extraordinary, the sudden trend in TikTok and Hollywood has caused a medication shortage, making it difficult for diabetic patients to get their much-needed dosage.

Additionally, despite its popularity, Ozempic has yet to be FDA-approved. While it may be prescribed off-label, many experts advise using it primarily for weight loss due to the shortage and its unsustainable effect. Boring as it may sound, the best way to lose and keep weight off is to alter your lifestyle by incorporating a healthy diet and exercise.

However, Ozempic for weight loss is not always controversial. Doctors may even prescribe the medication for people with specific weight issues, provided patients use it responsibly. Contact your doctor today if you’re still curious about Ozempic and whether you’re eligible for use.