Is Ozempic a Safe Weight Loss Drug? Ever since celebrities started swearing about its effects, Ozempic has been popularized as a magic weight loss pill, helping you lose unwanted fat in a matter of days. However, the Novo Nordisk medication isn’t a novelty, and its role in managing type 2 diabetes has been known and approved since 2017. What is the science saying about it and can it really help lose unwanted weight in a safe and efficient way? Here’s what we know.
What is Ozempic?
Generically classified as a semaglutide, Ozempic is a weekly injection drug that’s been approved by the FDA in 2017 as a part of treatment for type 2 diabetes. Its role is to encourage the pancreas to make more insulin and thus help lower blood sugar levels. With more than 37 million Americans struggling with this serious health condition, Ozempic has been a revolutionary drug since its discovery.
One of its main, and positive side effects, is weight loss and now, it’s been promoted as the new magic pill for not just those suffering from type 2 diabetes, but also for overweight and obese individuals. Although this sounds promising and a great potential solution to the obesity pandemic we’re dealing with in the US, it also leaves plenty of room for misuse, especially amongst people who want a quick fix or only want to tone down for the summer. After all, it’s a pharmaceutical drug that’s intended for specific purposes, and using it without a medical reason or guidance may result in negative consequences.
Its ability to help lose weight fairly quickly has drawn people to drastically change their lifestyle habits and move away from their “clean diet and exercise” routine to a weekly shot of Ozempic. Some of them even developed what’s now known as the “Ozempic face,” a very gaunt and dull face look that occurs when someone loses weight too quickly.
How Does Ozempic Work?
Ozempic works as a receptor agonist for a specific hormone, also known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1). When those levels are on the rise, your pancreas naturally produces insulin. Ozempic helps stimulate this production, lowering fasting and postprandial blood glucose levels, similarly to healthy individuals.
Studies also show that Ozempic causes a minor delay in gastric emptying. This results in a reduced rate of glucose in postprandial circulation. In the abovementioned pharmacodynamic study, adults with type 2 diabetes were treated with a specialized diet, exercise, and metformin, another FDA-approved drug in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and Ozempic provided a similar insulin response to people without type 2 diabetes, showcasing its correlation with 94% sequence homology to human GLP‑1.
Pros of Ozempic
The most obvious pro of Ozempic is its ability to effectively and quickly lower blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin production. This can result in weight loss, which, in situations where the extra weight poses a health risk, can be beneficial for one’s overall health. A healthy weight loss (where needed) can reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues, chronic inflammation, and even stroke.
Ozempic is also an appetite suppressant, which is not controlled and it’s a non-stimulant, making it a better option for those who have heart problems and are already on certain medications.
The ease of administering also falls under its pros. Instead of a daily pill that needs to be taken at a specific time, Ozempic is a once-a-week injection that comes with no downtime. This helps create consistency and reduces the stress of forgetting to take it on a daily basis. It’s therefore considered safe for long-term use instead of oral appetite suppressants.
Cons of Ozempic
Although it’s FDA-approved and research-backed, Ozempic comes with a long list of possible cons, which is why it’s not officially approved for any other condition outside of type 2 diabetes. Studies show that Ozempic might pose a higher risk for potentially serious stomach and intestinal issues than other weight loss drugs. Many people complain about constipation and nausea, which some clinics deal with by giving their patients anti-nausea drugs and stool softeners.
Additionally, there have been concerns about allergic reactions to semaglutide and other ingredients in Ozempic, as well as reports of hair loss. Even though there’s no direct link between the use of semaglutide and hair loss, this has been known to be one of the main side effects of rapid weight loss since the 1970s.
But, probably one of the most serious Ozempic side effects shows up in people who are type-1 diabetic or if they have a family or personal history of thyroid cancer. Even on their official website, there’s important safety information that warns how Ozempic may cause thyroid tumors and even cancer, also known as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Why does this semaglutide drug have the ability to cause MTC is still unknown, but it’s one of the reasons why it’s recommended to avoid taking Ozempic if you have a family (or personal) history of MTC as well as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).
And lastly, it’s important to note that in the history of Ozempic’s use for weight loss, a large amount of anecdotal evidence suggests that the weight loss is rarely permanent when the drug is removed from the equation. And if something needs to be taken constantly in order for you to keep the weight off, it’s typically a sign your body is not doing what it should on its own.
Fallbrook Medical Center Is Ozempic a Safe Weight Loss Drug
The controversial topic of weight loss has always been at the forefront of health and well-being. Whether talking about serious health conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes, or toning down after childbirth or for the summer season, weight loss has always been considered something positive. Still, the question of how to achieve healthy weight loss hasn’t always coincided with the fast-promising and somewhat magical results. The misuse of Ozempic clearly shows how there is no magical pill (or in this case, injection), and that taking care of your health (and weight management) has to combine every aspect of your lifestyle. From your food choices and fitness to sleep management and stress.