Ozempic as a weight loss drug: Is it for everybody?
It was intended to help diabetics, but Semaglutide, originally marketed under the name Ozempic, quickly became known for its ability to help patients lose weight quickly. That's when the drugmaker began offering a high-dose version specifically for weight loss.
What happened next was a social media storm that never stopped.
Nurse practitioner and spa owner Danielle Oyasu takes her own medication.
“I think this whole class of drugs is definitely going to be a game-changer,” she said. “You can really go about your normal daily activities and lose weight.”
At age 50, she lost 30 pounds while taking semaglutide.
Dramatic photos posted on social media showed users showing off their svelte figures. Celebrities started the trend, and word of mouth and prescriptions swelled from Hollywood to communities across the country. At the same time, users began to shrink.
“I eat less, I don't think about food as much,” she said. “The hunger I experienced before taking the medicine was also an issue.”
The drug is popular at her suburban Park Ridge clinic Exquisite new.
“There are so many people that we now have a waiting list of 50 people. So we can't keep up with demand,” she said.
Oyasu uses a special pharmacy mix of doses that patients inject once a week.
“It's a compound form of the drug that's perfectly legal and it makes the drug more widely available,” she said.
cost in Exquisite new It's $599 per month.
Dr Lucie Bianchi stocks Wegovy at her clinic in the northwestern suburb of Hoffman Estates, though she has fewer than 10 people using the more expensive name-brand version of semaglutide.
“The number of patients I've been asking for this has been high. Yet my population can't afford $1,500 a month for the drug,” she said.
Bianchi said certain women were good candidates.
“If I got my nickels every time I heard this, ‘I'm doing the same thing. I'm working out. I'm eating right. Why do I have such a big belly? The answer is always menopause.”
She recommends the drug to perimenopausal women and prediabetics of both sexes.
“These people are already having trouble losing weight, and most of these subgroups are doing the right things, but not really getting the results they're hoping for,” she said.
Wegovy or Semaglutide mimics natural hormones in the stomach. Instead of fast-tracking food and raising blood sugar, this drug slows digestion. The idea is to give the body more time to produce enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels normal. The result is that people feel full faster.
“You'll get the cue sooner, so you might be hungry, like, ‘Oh, I'm going to eat four of these pizzas.' And then you start eating it, and after a few bites, you're so full that you can't finish it. ,” Bianchi said.
Dr. Siri Greeley treats diabetic patients at the University of Chicago School of Medicine.
“We're all addicted to carbs in one way or another,” says Greeley. “So these drugs are really very helpful in blocking this addictive response and helping people to better control their impulses. And help with appetite loss.”
But there is not enough supply in 2022.
“A lot of people who would have been using Wegovy are using Ozempic, and that's what's causing the shortage,” Greely said.
This shift has left some people with type 2 diabetes in the dark.
“We're experiencing shortages. It's a very real thing,” Greeley said.
According to the latest news from Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic and Wegovy, production has been ramped up to meet unprecedented demand.
Nick Draus started taking semaglutide last July.
“My biggest problem is eating too much. When I eat, I can't stop,” he said. “When I'm filming, if I'm eating like crap, I'm going to be sick, like sick.”
It's a common side effect of the 36-year-old's nearly 20-pound loss.
“The drug has to be started at a very low dose so that you can tolerate it without persistent nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain,” Bianchi said.
Since going off the drug in January, Draus now balances exercise with a healthier diet.
“I couldn't think of a way to lose weight with COVID-19, so this helped to get to the point where I felt comfortable going back to the gym,” he said. “And my philosophy is, now it's me who makes these Change.”
“If you don't plan to change your lifestyle and eat like you did before, you're likely to regain the weight,” Oyasu said.
The drug has other disadvantages, including the risk of kidney damage or failure, so patients should stay well hydrated and be properly monitored.
“Anyone who wants to use this drug should have a full checkup and some lab work should be done so we can know what the kidney function and liver function are like,” Bianchi said.
People who should not take Wegovy or Semaglutide include those with a family history of certain endocrine disorders — the drugs can increase the risk of thyroid cancer.
“It's just the latest and greatest diet fad, and the truth is it works, but if you don't change your habits, it's not going to last. So like anything else, it's probably a temporary loss,” said Bishop. Angie said.
Some people report gaining more weight than they lose once they stop taking the drug, while others complain of new wrinkles due to rapid weight loss.
As for the cost, some insurance plans may cover weight loss medications. There are other drugs in development that may be more effective, including one that helps the body break down sugar and fat.