TikTok Docs Boosting Views and Profits with Weight Loss Drugs

TikTok has proven to be an effective marketing tool for another product: diet pills.

Several doctors say promoting new weight-loss pills, including Ozempic and Wegovy, has made them more successful from opinion to actual business, Insider reports.

“I gave people information and put it out there, and then it just exploded,” said Jennifer Harris, an ob-gyn nurse practitioner in River Valley, Arkansas, according to Insider.

@jenharrisaprn in reply to @whitneyarmer #compoundedsemaglutide #obesity #obesitymedicine #weightloss #semaglutide♬ Original Sound – Jen Harris, APRN

These drugs are branded versions of the compound semaglutide, which helps the body regulate insulin production and is commonly used to help people manage type 2 diabetes. One drug is approved specifically for weight management (Wegovy) and the other is for off-label use, but both drugs are used to promote weight loss.

“What drives a video to go viral is whether you can spark some sort of discussion,” says Dr. Nelson Simmons, an internist According to Insider, Personal MD Wellness & Aesthetics in McKinney, Texas.

@personalmd Anyone can lose weight! Stop using age, hormones, thyroid, and any other excuses you've used in the past. With all the new options available to help people reach their weight goals, I encourage you to seek medical support. . #wegovy #semaglutide #weightloss #obesity #overweight #medicalweightloss #fyp♬ Pretty Boy Swag – Soulja Boy

Amy Oden, a nurse practitioner who works at a medical spa in Tulsa, Oklahoma, told Insider that posting on TikTok has “acquired a lot of new business” from people of all ages, And have been trying to lose weight other ways.

What are Ozempic and Wegovy?

Ozempic and Wegovy are injectable drugs that use semaglutide, which helps the pancreas release insulin when blood sugar levels are actually high, improving how sugar moves through the body, according to the company.

A double-blind placebo study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology found that the drug helped people lose an average of 6% to 13.6% of their body weight.

Ozempic is approved to treat type 2 diabetes, but doctors can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss because the FDA allows doctors to give patients the drug “off-label” when they think it's in the patient's best interest. It has been approved for this use since 2017, but, as The Cut reports, The drug really took off when celebrities like Elon Musk and Chelsea Handler said they had used the substance.

“I've filled 1,400 prescriptions for semaglutide in the past six months,” Dr. Holly Lofton of the NYU Langone Weight Management Program told the media.

Risks include an increased chance of developing thyroid cancer, as well as side effects such as nausea and fatigue, according to the company. Another risk is what doctors call “ozone face.” Dr. Gary Motykie, a prominent TikTok plastic surgeon, said “ozone face” is when people find their faces loose after using the drug.

@dr.90210 What is #OzempicFace? What can you do if it happens to you? #Ozempic #OzempicWeightLoss #OzempicJourney #PlasticSurgeonExplains #PlasticSurgeonReacts #PlasticSurgeryNews #Semaglutide #SemaglutideForWeightLoss #CelebrityWeightLoss #CelebrityPlasticSurgery #OzempicsHot #WeightLossFace #WeightLossFaceEdition #CosmeticSurgery #PlasticSurgeryTrends #PlasticSurgerySecrets #PlasticSurgeonTok #PlasticSurgeryTikTok #JessicaSimpson #PostMalone #KyleRichards #ChelseaHandler ♬ Balanço – Staysee

But that hasn't stopped people clamoring for the drug, even among those who don't have type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic's maker, Novo Nordisk, has not officially promoted the drug for off-label use. (A Novo Nordisk spokesperson told Insider that it “does not advocate, recommend or encourage off-label use of our medicines.”)

But the drug brought in huge sales.

The company's operating profit has jumped 58% since it started selling the drug in 2017, The Cut reported. Driven by Ozempic, which reported third-quarter profit in November that beat analysts' estimates by 32 percent, Some people speculate.

Now, a wave of online interest is fueling the drugs' popularity even further.

TikTok Is Pushing Weight Loss Drugs

TikTok has seen a wave of people posting videos of them using drugs to lose weight.

According to a November 2022 article in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, TikTok videos about drugs like Ozempic garner millions of views and often feature people in their 20s and 30s. women as protagonists.

“TikTok trends are fueling a surge in demand for the drug, compromising availability for people with type 2 diabetes and leading to global shortages that could persist until 2023,” the abstract warns. Many are reportedly having difficulty finding the drug in pharmacies .

Ozempic can run you upwards of $800 without insurance. You can also buy generic ingredients from compounding pharmacies for less.

In addition to cost, concerns have been raised about the spread of the vaccine, as people who have been successfully vaccinated need to keep getting shots to maintain results, an ongoing debate about how body weight can lead to discrimination by doctors against employers, and, as Vox points out, increased Fear of fat.

Another article, published in the Canadian Journal of Bioethics, warns clinicians to consider how they recommend weight loss to patients, for example, given that studies show doctors often dislike treating obese people and reduce the quality of their care.

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