Ozempic, a drug typically prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes, is seeing a sudden surge in use by non-diabetic individuals in medically healthy weight ranges. Their reason to snag the drug? Usually, thinness-based beauty standards.
Rumoured to be a staple for many renowned celebrities and models for the same reason, Ozempic has made its way to the ordinary person.
TikTokers and fashion influencers are posting before-and-afters, and Ozempic is being hailed as a quick fix for weight loss as it can make you shed several pounds in a short span of time. Many are getting off-label versions of the drug, and are happy to pay a hefty price for it, too.
@ghleanna So here’s my before and after! ☺️ #eyeslipsface #fyp #ozempic #weightlosscheck ♬ energy – Tyla Jane
Everyone is suddenly showing up 25 pounds lighter. What happens when they stop taking #Ozempic ?????
— Andy Cohen (@Andy) September 22, 2022
But doctors, medical experts, and social commentators are sounding the alarm. Ozempic is the brand name for an injectable semaglutide. It’s a non-insulin blood sugar regulator that is meant to be used in tandem with a healthy diet and exercise. And it can lead to some serious side effects if not used properly.
People who have type 2 diabetes and have been prescribed the drug are having trouble finding it at pharmacies. Shortages are already being reported across North America.
the way I had to get prescribed a different medication for my blood sugar bc yall made ozempic trendy for weight loss and now people who actually need the medication can’t get it lol
— ♀️ (@fatfabfeminist) January 17, 2023
One of the more talked about physical side effects of the drug has been called “Ozempic face.” You’ll find several posts on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and other social media platforms if you look up the term.
It’s what happens when you rapidly lose a lot of weight and are left with less fat in your face, making it appear thinner and aging you in the process.
The term “Ozempic face” was first used by New York-based dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank.
“Everybody is either on [Ozempic] or asking how to get on it,” he told The New York Times on Tuesday. “We haven’t seen a prescription drug with this much cocktail and dinner chatter since Viagra came to the market.”
Some people are pointing out that facial aging is often a side effect of weight loss, regardless of how you manage to lose the weight. Arguments are being made about this just being an extension of medical discrimination towards fat bodies.
But aside from facial changes, those using Ozempic can also experience more serious side effects on their organs, even when it is legitimately prescribed by a physician.
According to the drug’s official website, thyroid tumours — even cancerous ones — may occur. The drug can affect your vision and cause kidney failure, pancreatitis, gall bladder problems, and allergic reactions.
Other semaglutide brand names include Wegovy (infamously used by tech billionaire Elon Musk) and Rybelus.
Please complete a thorough consultation with your doctor before using any prescription drugs.