Celebrities and influencers have recently shone a light on a new trend. And no, it’s not BBLs or a new celeb skincare brand. It’s Ozempic: a prescription medication being used for weight loss. But here’s the thing: It’s not technically for that purpose. And it comes with some not-so-trendy risks and side effects.
What is Ozempic and why are people using it?
Ozempic is an injectable prescription for people with Type 2 diabetes. It helps regulate blood sugar and insulin and may even help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s injected in the abdomen, upper arms, or thighs. The active ingredient is semaglutide (say that five times fast) — which slows down food movement in the stomach and imitates a natural hormone that makes you feel full faster and for longer. And social media and celebrities (looking at you, Elon Musk) have helped make these types of drugs popular for its off-label use: weight loss.
In recent months, there's been a huge spike in demand for Ozempic. Partly because of a shortage of Wegovy, another prescription semaglutide drug that was specifically made as a weight loss injection. It was approved by the FDA last year, but the supply has been running dry amid high demand. Mounjaro, a similar diabetes drug, has also experienced supply issues. But now there’s an Ozempic shortage, too. Which is making it harder for people with diabetes to access it.
Is Ozempic safe for weight loss?
There doesn't seem to be enough research to determine that it’s safe for non-diabetics. And the FDA hasn’t approved Ozempic for weight loss. But that’s not stopping doctors from prescribing it for off-label use (read: for something that is not the medication’s primary purpose). Even so, some experts are warning against taking Ozempic for reasons other than diabetes or to help prevent weight-related health issues like heart conditions or kidney disease.
What are the side effects of Ozempic?
Like any medication, it comes with a few. The semaglutide side effects can range from vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea, to more serious conditions like pancreatitis or gallstones.
And what happens if you take too much Ozempic?
Too much of the drug can cause vomiting, nausea, and even a severe drop in blood sugar. If you’re taking Ozempic, make sure you only take the amount your doctor prescribes. If that or any other side effects happens, call your doctor right away.
Your FYP might be filled with before-and-afters of people using Ozempic or similar weight loss shots. Before you ask your doctor for a prescription, remember that there's still more research that needs to be done on whether it's safe for non-diabetics. And getting your hands on it means there'll be less access for those who really need it.
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