Ozempic has quickly made headlines and continues to gain attention. While Ozempic has been a well-known medication used to help manage Type 2 diabetes, celebrities, the media, TikTok, and everyone in between can’t stop talking about Ozempic and weight loss.
In this article, we delve into the buzz surrounding Ozempic, its uses, how it works, as well as some of the concerns. We will also discuss how a healthy lifestyle is irreplaceable when it comes to reaching your health and wellness goals, plus why working with a doctor to address your individual needs is key.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic, scientifically known as semaglutide, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. Ozempic is produced by Novo Nordisk, a global pharmaceutical company renowned for its work in diabetes care. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for use in adults with Type 2 diabetes. Currently, it’s available as an injectable medication, but a pill form of the medication may be on the horizon.
What is a GLP-1?
GLP-1 is a hormone in the body that plays a pivotal role in glucose metabolism. It’s produced in the intestines in response to food intake. Once released, GLP-1 has several effects, including insulin release and decreased glucagon production, both of which help lower blood sugar levels. GLP-1 also helps slow gastric emptying and, therefore, helps to slow the rate at which glucose from food enters into the bloodstream, and it reduces appetite.
The natural GLP-1 hormone’s action is short-lived in the body. GLP-1 receptor agonists, however, are designed to resist this rapid breakdown, allowing for longer-lasting effects, which are beneficial for maintaining steady blood glucose levels.
What’s All The Buzz About Ozempic?
The recent buzz around Ozempic is largely due to its dual effectiveness in managing both blood sugar levels and potential weight loss in those with Type 2 diabetes.
With the interest in understanding how medications like Ozempic affect weight loss, there’s also be an increased interest in its sister medication, Wegovy.
Wegovy, is another prescription semaglutide injectable medication that is FDA-approved for chronic weight management. The FDA released a statement stating that Wegovy is approved for “chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol), for use in addition to a reduced calorie diet and increased physical activity.”
As more research is being done on the long-term effects of these medications, it’s important to stay informed.
Concerns and Side Effects of Ozempic
Ozempic Isn’t FDA-Approved For Weight Loss
It’s important to note that Ozempic is not a weight loss medication. In fact, on the Ozempic website, it states that the medication may help you lose some weight but that “Ozempic is not for weight loss.”
Using Ozempic for weight loss, especially when not prescribed by a doctor who has an understanding of your specific health history, can be dangerous. It’s critical to work with your doctor about any questions you have about your weight loss goals.
Potential Side Effects
As with all medications, Ozempic isn’t without its side effects. Some of the most common side effects reported include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and decreased appetite. More serious side effects include pancreatitis, changes in vision, hypoglycemia, kidney problems, gallbladder problems, and serious allergic reactions. Recent headlines have showcased some potential bizarre side effects, such as “Ozempic face,” and there have even been some recent lawsuits.
Rebound Weight Gain Effects
A new study published in Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism A Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics has shown that there may be rebound weight gain effects after stopping Ozempic. The study found that one year after stopping the once-weekly semaglutide injection, participants regained two-thirds of their prior weight loss with similar changes in their cardiometabolic variables.
Ozempic Shortages For Those Who Need It For Diabetes
Another area of concern is the fact that with such an increase in demand for this medication, paired with reported global supply issues, there have been news reports that this has led to shortages for those who need this medication to manage their Type 2 diabetes.
There is Still Lots to be Learned
There is still a lot to be learned about the long-term effects of Ozempic, and with its use not being FDA-approved for weight loss, it’s crucial to be informed and to work with a doctor regarding any medical decision.
A Healthy Lifestyle is Irreplaceable
We have to be careful not to get into a “quick fix” mentality, as there’s no such thing as a “quick fix” when it comes to sustainable long-term weight loss. While certain medication interventions may be appropriate for some based on doctor recommendations, this shouldn’t replace a healthy lifestyle. And, as the research has shown, upon stopping Ozempic, the weight that was lost is often regained.
A long-term approach to weight loss and health must include sustainable healthy habits. Adopting a balanced diet, rich in whole foods and low in processed sugars, can enhance the body’s insulin sensitivity, and support weight loss efforts. Consistent physical activity can also aid in weight management, reducing the risk of obesity-related complications. Integrating practices like mindfulness and meditation can also help ease stress, and optimizing sleep habits is key for supporting weight loss efforts and general health.
Even the Ozempic website states that “once-weekly prescription Ozempic, along with diet and exercise, lowers blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes.” These lifestyle habits play a pivotal role in regulating blood sugar, weight, and overall well-being.
The Bottom Line
It’s hard to open up your phone and not see a news report or an article about Ozempic — the buzz around this medication is everywhere. However, as with any medical decision, the use of Ozempic needs to be made between the patient and their medical provider, with everyone’s unique health history taken into account. It’s also important to be educated and informed about how this medication works, what it’s designed for, and the risk factors so that you can always make the most informed decision alongside your medical provider.