The High Cost of ‘Ozempic Face’: The Unintended Consequences of Wegovy’s Popularity

The demand for Wegovy, a drug containing semaglutide and commonly used for weight loss, has caused a shortage of its sister drug, Ozempic, which is meant to treat type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is also being used off-label for weight loss, further constraining the drug's supply for diabetes patients.[0] Both drugs are manufactured by Novo Nordisk and are injected weekly, though Wegovy contains a higher dose of semaglutide and is approved specifically for weight loss. Common side effects of Ozempic and Wegovy include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and “Ozempic face.”[1]

The popularity of Ozempic for weight loss has grown among celebrities, who are paying top dollar to get the drug off-label.[2] This has caused a drug shortage for diabetes patients, and the trend has even led to the emergence of “Ozempic face,” a side effect of using the drug without proper medical supervision.[3]

Semaglutide works by interfering with insulin production and suppressing appetites, causing people to eat less than they did before.[4] It can cause weight loss, but it’s important to note that a balanced diet and regular exercise are still essential for long-term weight loss and body weight management.[5] If the drug is stopped, people tend to regain two-thirds of the weight they lost, so it has to be taken continuously to remain effective.[1]

Wegovy and Ozempic are not interchangeable, as the maximum dose of semaglutide is 2 milligrams for Ozempic and 2.4 milligrams for Wegovy. Wegovy is effective within its approved use and was found to reduce body weight by 12% when combined with lifestyle changes.[6]

Unfortunately, taking Ozempic or Wegovy comes with a steep price tag, with the drugs potentially costing up to $13,000 a year. Considering the potential side effects and the drug’s price, it’s important to talk to your doctor about a full range of treatment options.[7] If your weight is already in a healthy range, it’s not a good idea to take a medication to become thinner.[7]

0. “Doctors raise concerns over diabetes medication popular for weight loss” kuna noticias y kuna radio, 21 Feb. 2023,

1. “What to Know About Ozempic, Wegovy and the Weight-Loss Market” CNET, 23 Feb. 2023,

2. “Ozempic's off-label use creates buzz beyond Hollywood” MD Linx, 21 Feb. 2023,

3. “The Alarming Side Effect Of Ozempic's Popularity As A Weight-Loss Solution” Medical Daily, 19 Feb. 2023,

4. “Healthy Living: Danger of using diabetes medication for rapid weight loss” ABC7 News, 22 Feb. 2023,

5. “10 before and after Ozempic Weight Loss Photos You Need to See to Believe” Sportskeeda, 24 Feb. 2023,

6. “Diabetes drug Ozempic used for weight loss suffers shortages” WVNS-TV, 23 Feb. 2023,

7. “What happens when a drug goes viral?” Harvard Health, 21 Feb. 2023,

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