The Pros and Cons of Ozempic: A Diabetes Drug Used For Weight Loss
Ozempic, otherwise known as semaglutide, is a medication developed to help manage Type 2 diabetes, but has recently gained attention for its drastic side effect: weight loss. Ozempic was approved by the FDA in 2017 to help improve glycemic control in adults with diabetes, and more recently, a higher dose of semaglutide was approved under the name Wegovy for chronic weight management. However, some experts caution against using the drug for weight loss, as it can have serious side effects.
Ozempic is an injectable drug, typically administered in the thigh, stomach or arm, and works by stimulating insulin production and also targeting areas of the brain that regulate appetite. According to the FDA, Ozempic is not marketed as a prescription for weight loss, yet the manufacturing company warns buyers that semaglutide, its main ingredient, could cause users to experience a reduction in body mass.
Studies have found that the drug is effective for patients with diabetes, obesity, and some cardiovascular diseases. The STEP-2 study found that semaglutide, taken at a dose of 2.4 mg once a week, helped participants lose around 10% of their body weight after 68 weeks.
While taking Ozempic can be beneficial for some, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects. Gastrointestinal side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, are relatively common. Also, some users have reported a side effect coined the “Ozempic face drop,” where the rapid weight loss can leave some patients’ faces looking hollowed out, sagged, and aged.
While losing 10-15% of body weight can improve one’s liver function and reduce sleep apnea, it is important to note that Ozempic is not meant to be used as a quick fix for weight loss. It is a long-term medication used to manage weight and should only be used with a doctor’s approval. Moreover, the drug is currently in short supply, so it is important to be mindful of its use.
Rachel Schorr is one patient who has seen the benefits of Ozempic. After beginning to take the drug in February 2022, Schorr was able to fit into her wedding dress again and lose 50 pounds in 11 months.
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