What you should know about Ozempic: Diabetes drug becomes viral weight-loss hit (Elon Musk brags about using it) creating shortage

Spread the love

top line

Ozempic, “Hollywood’s worst kept secret”, has become increasingly popular due to its weight loss results, touted even by billionaire Elon Musk, causing a shortage, despite the fact that it is actually intended for patients with type two diabetes.

key facts

Ozempic (known generically as semaglutide) is an injection used to lower blood sugar and hemoglobin A1C (the part of red blood cells to which glucose binds) in type 2 diabetics; Low A1C levels decrease diabetes complications such as stroke, high blood pressure, and blindness.

Manufactured by Novo Nordisk, the drug is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor antagonist (a class of drugs used to treat diabetes) that was first approved for use in type 2 diabetics in 2017.

To lower blood sugar and A1C, the medication works with the body in three ways: it helps the pancreas make more insulin when blood sugar is high, it slows down the process of food leaving the stomach, and it prevents the liver makes and releases too much sugar.

It is intended to be injected once a week into the thigh, stomach or upper arm, with or without food at any time of the day, and patients usually start taking a 0.25mg dose, although after four weeks increase to 0.5 mg and then up to 1 mg if “more glycemic control is needed”.

Of the more than 37 million Americans with diabetes, the vast majority, between 90% and 95%, have type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

One of the side effects of Ozempic is weight loss, so some doctors have prescribed the drug as an off-label use (the off-label use of an approved drug) for weight loss in people without diabetes. Ozempic has not been approved by the FDA. as a weight loss medication.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that those who took Ozempic for 68 weeks, along with a reduced-calorie diet and a more active lifestyle, saw an average change in body weight of 14.9% compared to a 2.4% change in body weight. placebo group.

These findings have prompted both obese and slightly overweight people to ask their doctors for prescriptions for Ozempic.

Although Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, Wegovy, a higher-dose version of Ozempic, was approved for weight loss by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2021 for overweight or obese adults with at minus a weight-related condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

news pin

Wegovy and Ozempic are listed by the FDA as two of nearly 200 drugs in short supply. Its recent rise in popularity for weight loss is believed to be the reason for its scarcity. Francisco Prieto, a California-based physician told the Los Angeles Times that due to shortages, his patients taking Ozempic have to “call several pharmacies and drive around town to see if they are in stock,” with some still unable to fill their prescriptions.

chief critic

According to the chief of clinical nutrition at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Zhaoping Li, people should be careful about using diabetes medications to lose weight. “The problem is that this is one of the tools in our box, it’s not the end of it,” he said. Variety. “The longest study ever done on these injections was conducted for less than two years. Many questions have not been answered.”

Side effects

Some of the more common side effects that Ozempic causes are nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain. However, more serious side effects can occur, such as possible thyroid tumors and cancer. According to Novo Nordisk, if someone is taking the medication and experiencing shortness of breath, a lump or swelling in the neck, difficulty swallowing, or hoarseness, they should contact their primary care physician.


Ozempic and other diabetes drugs like Mounjaro have made their way into Hollywood, with different celebrities and influencers pushing their weight loss as a result of the drugs. For example, when someone pointed out Elon Musk’s weight loss on Twitter in October, Musk answered who achieved the look through fasting “and Wegovy”. His comment was met with a mix of praise and criticism, with someone mentioning a shortage of medicines, claiming Musk didn’t “need it to lose weight, diabetics REALLY need it.” According to Variety, Drugs have “devotees from every corner of the industry,” with actors, executives and agents glorifying them on Signal, an encrypted instant messaging service used for confidential conversations. Even simple speculation is enough to spark controversy, and the hashtag #ozempic has over 350 million views on TikTok. Thousands of videos are posted using the hashtag with people sharing their weight loss journeys and before-and-after pictures, with some blaming the drug’s rise in popularity on the app to a shortage of supply.

Other reading

What is Ozempic and why is it getting so much attention? (New York Times)

Hollywood’s New Secret Weight-Loss Drug Revealed: The Hype And Dangers Of Ozempic (Variety)

TikTok trend depletes supply of Ozempic, leaving people with diabetes dizzy and scared (Los Angeles Times)

#Ozempic #Diabetes #drug #viral #weightloss #hit #Elon #Musk #brags #creating #shortage

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *