Ozempic Weight Loss: Diabetes Drug Becomes A Viral Weight Loss Hit!
Ozempic Weight Loss: Ozempic is an injectable drug prescribed once every week to help adults with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar. Even though Ozempic is not a recognized weight reduction medication, studies indicate that those who take it may see some mild weight loss.
The FDA has approved the active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, at larger doses for treating people with obesity and other weight-related medical issues under the brand name Wegovy. People without type 2 diabetes have started using Ozempic off-label for weight loss due to a Wegovy scarcity and its weight loss effects becoming viral on social media.
This article discusses the rising popularity of weight loss. It offers medical experts’ perspectives on the efficacy of Ozempic for weight loss, safety, and things to think about before using Ozempic for weight loss.
What Is Ozempic?
An FDA-approved prescription drug called Ozempic treats type 2 diabetes in adults. Research stated on Ozempic’s website shows that it lowers hemoglobin A1C, a measure of blood glucose over time, and helps persons with type 2 diabetes have better blood sugar.
Additionally, it lowers the risk of cardiovascular events like a stroke or heart attack in persons with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Semaglutide, the drug’s main ingredient, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor, an agonist.
It functions by turning on GLP-1 receptors all over the body and boosting the effects of the GLP-1 hormone produced naturally. According to Christopher McGowan, M.D., a gastroenterologist with expertise in endobariatrics and obesity management and the founder of True You Weight Loss in North Carolina, “GLP-1 plays numerous important functions in the body.”
“It increases the pancreas’ secretion of insulin in response to ingesting meals, which aids with blood sugar regulation. Additionally, it helps to manage blood sugar by lowering the production of the hormone glucagon, which raises blood glucose. Semaglutide is injected by the patient once each week as part of Ozempic. It is available in quantities of 0.5 milligrams, 1 milligram, or 2 milligrams.
Is Ozempic Insulin?
Insulin is not ozempic. When your blood sugar level is high, it aids your pancreas in producing more insulin. According to Lydia Alexander, M.D., a board-certified obesity medicine specialist from California and president-elect of the Obesity Medicine Association, the largest group of medical professionals devoted to preventing, treating, and reversing the disease of obesity, “Ozempic rarely causes low blood sugar, unlike insulin.”
Ozempic For Weight Loss: How Does It Work?
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, is not officially listed as a weight loss medication. However, research supported by Novo Nordisk, the company that manufactures Ozempic, suggests users may experience weight loss.
The FDA gave Semaglutide the go-ahead in 2021 under the trade name Wegovy for weight loss. Wegovy, on the other hand, contains a more significant amount of semaglutide than Ozempic—2.4 milligrams of semaglutide as opposed to 0.5, 1, or 2 milligrams in Ozempic.
Semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, increases the effects of the GLP-1 hormone, a naturally occurring hormone. Dr. McGowan notes that GLP-1 affects weight through two main processes in addition to its impact on blood sugar and diabetes:
- It involves the hunger centers in the brain (specifically, in the hypothalamus), reducing hunger, appetite, and cravings
- Slows the rate of stomach emptying, effectively prolonging fullness and satiety after meals
Dr. McGowan continues, “The overall effect is decreased hunger, extended fullness, and ultimately weight loss.” One thousand nine hundred sixty-one persons who were overweight or obese but did not have diabetes were given 2.4 mg of semaglutide or a placebo once a week for 68 weeks, along with lifestyle counseling in a significant clinical trial funded by Novo Nordisk.
Diabetes Med Ozempic in Short Supply as Americans Use It for Weight Loss – https://t.co/TXiTPdKyvG
— Drugs.com (@Drugscom) December 21, 2022
Semaglutide users lost 14.9% more body weight than semaglutide placebo users (2.4% less). It’s crucial to remember that the study’s semaglutide dose was more significant than the dose offered by Ozempic. The amount of semaglutide in the FDA-approved weight reduction medication Wegovy is 2.4 milligrams.
“The FDA has only approved Ozempic for the treatment of diabetes. It is not a drug for weight loss, says Dr. McGowan. He continues, “Its sibling drug, Wegovy, is particularly licensed for weight management.” Even though Ozempic and Wegovy are virtually the same drugs (only offered in different doses), it should be noted that while Wegovy is frequently not covered by insurance, it is frequently the case with Ozempic.
Dr. McGowan points out that the availability of Wegovy has been significantly hampered by high demand, resulting in inventory issues and supply chain difficulties. Because of this, Wegovy has frequently been out of stock since it was first introduced, and many people are now using Ozempic for weight loss off-label.
Dr. McGowan observes that this affects the accessibility of Ozempic for people with diabetes. While semaglutide may aid in weight loss while being taken, most people will gain back a significant amount of the weight if they stop taking it.
As noted by Rekha Kumar, M.D., head of Medical Affairs at an evidence-based weight care program Found and practicing endocrinologist at an academic medical center in New York City, “Studies show that stopping Ozempic completely will likely lead to regaining most of the weight lost within several months.”
The medication Ozempic has become so popular for weight loss that diabetics are having a hard time finding it. pic.twitter.com/XXfhgFhRpr
— attn (@attn) December 26, 2022
Dr. McGowan states, “GLP-1 drugs are designed to be taken long-term.” They are long-term drugs used to treat chronic diseases, including diabetes and obesity. You may also check Orlando Brown Mental Illness and Brenda Gantt Illness.
Is Ozempic Safe?
According to Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., an obesity medicine physician-scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the Harvard Medical School Unit, and member of the advisory board at Sweetch, “Ozempic is a safe medication with a variety of benefits.”
“About 80% of type 2 diabetes patients also have concomitant obesity. As a result, these individuals gain in two ways from treating their obesity and diabetes. Dr. Cody Stanford continues, “Ozempic has also proved to prevent severe unfavorable coronary events, including heart attacks and strokes, and offers a range of other benefits.”
Ozempic is not risk-free for everyone, nevertheless. The following conditions, according to the business, should prevent anyone from using Ozempic:
- Type 1 diabetes
- Under 18 years of age
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Problems with the pancreas or kidneys
- Family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
- Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2), an endocrine system condition
It’s crucial to speak with your doctor or another licensed healthcare professional before taking any prescription drug to determine whether it’s safe for you to use and the best dosage for you.
Common Side Effects Of Ozempic
“Overall, Ozempic is a very safe medication,” explains Dr. McGowan. “The most common side effects are gastrointestinal: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation.” While most people who take Ozempic will likely experience these symptoms at some point during their treatment, they should subside over time, according to Dr. McGowan.
“Since Ozempic slows down gastric emptying, there may be a feeling of early satiety [fullness],” adds Dr. Alexander, who recommends individuals eat slowly to help improve these and other gastrointestinal side effects of Ozempic.
“These side effects are usually short-term and improve a few days to a few weeks after starting Ozempic or changing the dose,” she adds. According to the company, taking Ozempic may cause other less common but more severe side effects. These include:
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Vision changes
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Kidney problems
- Allergic reactions
- Gallbladder problems
- Thyroid tumors or cancer
Should I Use Ozempic To Lose Weight?
Dr. McGowen urges persons with type 2 diabetes, particularly those who are obese or have a lot of additional weight, to speak with their doctor to determine whether Ozempic may be an effective treatment option for helping them manage their blood sugar and shed some pounds.
Wegovy is an excellent alternative for patients who have struggled to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, have a BMI of 30 or higher (or 27 or higher with obesity-related comorbidity), and are ready to utilize a once-weekly injection for the long term, the author continues.
The GLP-1 drugs, he says, “should be considered first-line pharmacotherapy for the treatment of obesity” since they are “much more successful for the treatment of weight than prior anti-obesity therapies.” Dr. McGowan does not advise using Ozempic for short-term, cosmetic weight loss.
Ozempic and other GLP-1 drugs are not intended to be taken in this manner, they can cause potential adverse events, and ultimately the weight loss will be gained back even though this has received much media attention.
The availability of Ozempic for those with type 2 diabetes (or, in the case of Wegovy, people with obesity)—those who need it most—is also negatively impacted by this off-label use, he adds. Dr. Cody Stanford adds that anyone with contraindications such as a history of pancreatitis, multiple endocrine neoplasias, or medullary thyroid cancer shouldn’t use Ozempic.
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