December 1, 2023

You’ve possible seen the commercials through the nightly news – you know, the ones proclaiming “O-O-O-Ozempic!” to the catchy 1974 tune “Magic” by the band Pilot. All those advertisements highlight a diabetic issues treatment that’s been receiving a whole lot of interest recently since of its almost magical skill to aid some individuals get rid of major amounts of weight.

Shot of a doctor showing a patient some information on a digital tablet

(Getty Photographs)

Essentially, Ozempic will make you consume much less, while the exact system isn’t really crystal clear, explains Dr. Heather Martin, a family medication doctor centered in Tennessee. The medication, nevertheless, retains the tummy comprehensive for for a longer time, which cuts down hunger.

Ozempic also has an effect on intestine bacteria, which can assistance with weight loss, suggests Dr. Neil Paulvin, a board-qualified doctor in spouse and children follow and regenerative drugs in private practice in New York Town.

Trials of this course of treatment have shown it can aid buyers lose 10% to 15% of their overall human body excess weight, he adds.

How Does Ozempic Work?

“Ozempic is semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist,” points out Dr. Andres Acosta, who is an assistant professor of medicine, a consultant in gastroenterology and hepatology and the director of the nutrition obesity research application at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Semaglutide and other GLP-1 prescription drugs mimic the function of a hormone referred to as glucagon-like peptide 1. In response to the rise in blood sugar you practical experience soon after having a meal, GLP-1 receptor agonists assistance the physique create additional insulin to preserve those people blood sugar stages from spiking.

Martin, who is also health care director of the primary treatment plan at K Health, a digital key care follow headquartered in New York Metropolis, says this medicine is shipped as a as soon as-weekly injection that you administer on your own. “That could sound a minor frightening, but the unit helps make it simple,” she points out. “You just put the little needle towards your pores and skin and push a button, and it’s around in an fast with just a little pinch.”

Martin also uses Ozempic herself. “I was the 1st K Health and fitness affected person who begun on Ozempic,” she recalls. “Since I started off taking it, it is really hard for me to end all the foods on my plate, which is a new and welcome transform for me.”

There are other remedies in this class of medications, which include Wegovy, which is the correct very same compound, semaglutide, just at a greater dose. When Ozempic is authorised for the remedy of Style 2 diabetes, Wegovy is utilised for obesity management.

Ozempic lowers blood sugars “independently of its effect on bodyweight, but its potential to support men and women shed weight has produced it captivating to non-diabetics as very well as diabetics,” points out Dr. Joe Barrera, an endocrinologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Orange County, California. “It can be much easier and considerably less expensive to get by means of insurance policy overage when compared to Wegovy, (which) has led to a substantial variety of off-label prescriptions to non-diabetics.”

In all situations, you really should focus on your possibilities with your health care provider. Your doctor “can determine if Ozempic or an different treatment, this sort of as Wegovy, might be a far more ideal option,” Barrera provides.


Ozempic and other semaglutide prescription drugs function for a lot of individuals, but your benefits might not be the exact as another person else’s, notes Acosta, who is also the co-founder of Phenomix Sciences, a precision weight problems biotechnology company primarily based in Excelsior, Minnesota.

“We know from the a long time of function we have finished at Mayo Clinic and the experiments of just about every of these medicines that not all clients react to them,” he claims. “So, it is vital to develop tools to determine the ideal responders to every single obesity intervention.”

To that stop, Acosta claims that the Nationwide Institutes of Wellbeing is supporting ongoing perform at Mayo Clinic to create serious-entire world evidence for how to recognize “the most effective responders for being overweight interventions. We lately determined that individuals with irregular postprandial satiety, also termed ‘hungry gut phenotype,’ are the very best responders.”

Figuring out how to recognize hungry intestine phenotypes ahead of prescribing drugs is the subsequent frontier in their investigate, he provides. “Our Mayo Clinic spinout organization, Phenomix Sciences, is doing work on the first-of-its-kind hungry intestine response examination,” Acosta describes. “They have been equipped to acquire a check that tells suppliers that ‘yes,’ a client will reply, or ‘no,’ a affected person will not reply to a presented intervention. This is a large step forward for the discipline of being overweight and for individuals since for the initially time, people are currently being told what form of weight problems they have and how it ought to be handled.”

Martin claims that “as a prescriber, I have seen patients’ wellness improve drastically because of their bodyweight loss.” Some have viewed enhancement in blood stress, cholesterol and electricity, alongside with other benefits. “Obesity is correlated to a good deal of really serious persistent illnesses,” she provides, “and currently being capable to take care of and handle individuals for these ailments in the principal treatment environment is important.”

In her possess life, Martin states this new class of drugs has been a video game changer. “I have been obese since clinical university and have tried diverse diets and overall health applications, but even when I managed to lose bodyweight, it constantly came again,” she explains. “My blood pressure and cholesterol have been elevated, and I experienced rest apnea, that means my respiration would stop and commence without having observe when sleeping. It is a perhaps significant situation that can add to high blood pressure, tiredness and coronary heart issues, amid other adverse wellness outcomes.”

Since of the snooze apnea, “(I) wore a snooze apnea mask each evening and I was tired each and every working day,” Martin remembers. “I didn’t have a ton of strength to perform with my young children, and I was starting to produce again and joint problems from the don and tear of carrying much more weight all around than my 5’4” frame could simply aid.”

But considering that she started out getting semaglutide, Martin has misplaced 16% of her entire body fat and says she feels greater than ever. “My BMI is no lengthier in the overweight or obese selection. I’m eating a much healthier quantity and staying much more active, and I have an easier time participating in with my young ones. I also have stopped possessing to use my snooze apnea mask, a enormous, welcome modify to my excellent of lifetime.”

Security and Achievable Facet Results

Just before you start Ozempic or another semaglutide medication, it’s critical to know what the probable aspect outcomes could be. Paulvin suggests that even if you are just likely to be on it for a several months, it is significant to understand that there will be aspect consequences when you get started it.

Acosta notes that Ozempic has been authorised by the Food and drug administration since this medicine and many others like it have been discovered to be secure throughout medical studies. However, just about every health-related intervention brings the prospective for side consequences, and Ozempic has some drawbacks. The most frequent facet effects of semaglutide medications consist of:

Beginning at a reduce dose and slowing raising the dosage could aid ward off some of these prevalent side effects. “Sometimes we even decrease dosage if the side results become unbearable,” Martin says.
Paulvin adds that persons taking Ozempic must shift to eating “two or 3 lesser foods a day,” somewhat than fasting. Opting for lessen-carb, bigger-protein foods can also assistance nutritious, sustainable weight reduction with Ozempic. ”Most individuals can use about two-thirds of the volume of foodstuff they usually would,” he says.

A lot less normally, some individuals who are getting other remedies for diabetic issues may possibly encounter hypoglycemia, or pretty reduced blood sugar degrees. If you have diabetic issues and begin getting a semaglutide medicine, be guaranteed to check out in with your doctor often to keep an eye on your development.

Paulvin provides that some individuals may see some muscle decline as element of their all round weight reduction on Ozempic. To offset this, he instructs people to eat ample amounts of protein and to have interaction in excess weight-bearing exercise regularly to sustain as considerably muscle mass as doable.

Sufferers with a individual or spouse and children record of medullary thyroid most cancers or a uncommon situation named various endocrine neoplasia 2 need to not take these medicines, Acosta claims. Those with a background of long-term pancreatitis really should also give it a miss out on, Paulvin adds.

For her section, Martin claims she has not knowledgeable any side consequences from Ozempic. “I begun at .25 milligrams for my initially 4 weeks. I increased to .5 milligrams and was at that dosage for 4 weeks. I’m using 1. milligrams and will almost certainly stay on this dose for as lengthy as I keep on to shed fat.” She notes that the optimum dose of Ozempic is 2. milligrams.

So-known as “Ozempic encounter,” or a decline of extra fat in the confront that can direct to a gaunt visual appearance, sagging pores and skin and much more apparent wrinkles, is not formally shown as a aspect effect of the treatment, but some buyers have documented wanting more mature after taking Ozempic for a though. This is a organic consequence of shedding fat, Paulvin states, for the reason that the overall body sheds fats from all around, not in just certain locations. “People who are using it more for beauty causes require to comprehend the pluses and minuses there,” he notes.

Source Shortages

Due to the fact Ozempic has gotten so a lot consideration for its body weight loss results, there is been a extensive and growing demand from customers for the treatment from the much more than 41% of Individuals with obesity. This has led to an ongoing scarcity of the medicine, meaning that some individuals with Form 2 diabetes have experienced problem getting their prescriptions stuffed.

Acosta says that as of February 2023, “it’s my knowing, based on communications from Novo Nordisk, that the quick supply challenges are fixed.”

Continue to, it may possibly be a when until eventually that enhancement trickles down to your community pharmacy. “I’m hearing two to 3 months least,” prior to the lack is resolved, Paulvin suggests. Nevertheless, even that could be an optimistic outlook. “Demand is heading up, and I believe with the summer season coming up, I do not consider that shortage is going to ease whenever shortly,” he adds.

Who Must Use Ozempic?

When Wegovy, the other semaglutide treatment, is permitted to address weight problems, the Fda permitted Ozempic for use especially in men and women with Kind 2 diabetes. Pounds loss is a secondary outcome of the treatment, although, so it is in some cases approved off-label to deal with obesity.

“Obesity is a chronic situation, like Variety 2 diabetes, and should really be taken care of as these kinds of,” Martin says. Due to the fact currently being chubby has been related with a vary of chronic ailments, such as Form 2 diabetes, hypertension and kidney disorder, “safely and sustainably managing your weight is an crucial portion of preserving you balanced for the long haul,” she clarifies. “The new course of GLP-1 receptor agonists is a harmless, efficient way to do so.”

However, Paulvin states you should not plan to be on Ozempic for the relaxation of your existence unless of course you have diabetic issues. Even with its influence on excess weight loss, Barrera also advises reserving this drug for its meant use in individuals with diabetes.

Ozempic should not be viewed as a stand-by yourself resolution possibly. Acosta notes that “it’s crucial to mention that this treatment and other prescription drugs will need to be portion of a multidisciplinary life style plan that contains diet program, work out and physical exercise.” Pharmacological interventions like Ozempic are just one particular piece of a puzzle, but they can be strong tools to “help struggle again the metabolic adaptions that arise with a reduced-calorie food plan.”

Martin provides that Ozempic is not for just anybody who wants to consider to drop a few kilos for their substantial college reunion. She says K Health has rigid criteria for prescribing GLP-1 agonist drugs to make sure they are only going to clients who truly will need them.

“Patients must have a BMI more than 30, or a BMI in excess of 27 with 1 involved issue like hypertension or Type 2 diabetes, and have been unable to reduce and maintain off fat with life-style improvements alone (food plan, workout),” suggests Martin. “We also do a entire consumption, which contains blood checks, to assure you’re a excellent suit.”

Lastly, Martin notes that “weight loss medication is not ‘cheating.’ Weight problems is a persistent problem and is involved with numerous other chronic ailments that could be incredibly harmful to your wellbeing. We are blessed that medicine now exists to assist treat it.”


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