A growing number of users are choosing diabetes drug to help with weight loss, but experts advise against it as an effective treatment.
Ozempic, the drug that is that treats diabetes has recently gained attention as stars including a tech mogul as well as TikTok influencers have spoken about taking Ozempic to lose weight over a short time frame.
The Food and Drug Administration first approved the injectable drug to treat diabetes in 2017. The agency also approved a medication with an increased dose of Ozempic’s active ingredient called semaglutide for treating obesity in 2021 with the name Wegovy. Since then, news about the drug has surfaced on the internet. Elon Musk was asked if the look of his body was “fit well, muscular and healthy” said he took Wegovy. Andy Cohen posted about Ozempic’s rising popularity. The following month, Variety reported that actors and directors “are silently singing the praises of the drug” on Signal which is an encrypted messaging application. On TikTok the hashtag #Ozempic has been seen more than 273 million times with people expressing surprise at their supposed weight loss, and sharing stories about the side negative effects.
The F.D.A. has identified both Ozempic along with Wegovy as among the hundreds of medicines that are out of stock. A spokesperson for Novo Nordisk, which manufactures the medications, stated in an announcement that the company was experiencing “intermittent supply disruptions for various dosages of Ozempic owing to the tremendous demand and global supply issues.” The spokesperson also said that the problem with Wegovy is likely to end within the next few days, and they are “on the right track” to have all dosage strengths of the drug available by the end of December.
It’s not uncommon for physicians to prescribe medication for “off-label” usage or to serve a different use than the one the drug is specifically designed for, according to the Dr. Disha Narang, an endocrinologist at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital. The interest in Ozempic grown, certain experts believe more patients have been seeking ways to use the medication for weight loss through either seeking out a doctor who can prescribe it without a prescription or searching for the drug on the internet. Doctor. Narang herself has seen patients “who have somehow got access to this drug,” taking the medication off-label, she explained. (Dr. Narang previously served on an advisory panel of Novo Nordisk, a common method for professionals working in this field.)
She is concerned that when the drug becomes more well-known, people will associate the drug to “vanity,” not as an essential treatment for diabetes patients.
We’ve got the facts on what medication is able to, and cannot do, and for whom should be taking it.
What is Ozempic function?
Ozempic, as well as Wegovy are each designed to be injected every week into the arm, stomach or thigh.
Semaglutide reduces glucose levels in the blood and controls insulin levels, which is vital for people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. The drug also mimics an endocrine called glucagon-like Peptide-1 which is produced naturally in our intestines. It reduces appetite by telling our bodies that we’re full, and prompting our stomachs to empty slowly. In the end, those with weight problems and related health problems have shed excess weight while taking the drug. People are more full as per the Dr. Janice Jin Hwang, head of the department of metabolism and endocrinology the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. For those taking the medication, “foods that used to be exciting for them aren’t anymore exciting,” she said. The drug has not been thoroughly studied in patients who do not have diabetes or excessive weight.
The medication also helps reduce the risk of heart disease in people who have diabetes, according to doctor. Robert Gabbay, chief medical and scientific officer at the American Diabetes Association.
The F.D.A. has not granted approval for Ozempic to treat weight loss, according to that Dr. Andrew Kraftson, a clinical associate professor in the department of endocrinology, metabolism and the study of diabetes in Michigan Medicine. However, after the F.D.A. approved Wegovy to help lose weight There was such a an interest in the drug that some health professionals were forced to use Ozempic because they could not get Wegovy as he explained.
Like some people who are prescribed medication to treat high cholesterol or blood pressure for a long time, patients suffering from overweight may be prescribed medication such as Wegovy for a prolonged time frame according to the doctor. Kraftson said. People who quit using the drug may gain the weight that they have lost by taking Wegovy the doctor said.
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“These medications were not made for overweight people who would like to lose weight and become ultra thin.” Dr. Hwang declared.
Who should be taking Ozempic or Wegovy?
Following the F.D.A. approved Ozempic for those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, the agency has also approved Wegovy for adults who suffer from overweight or obesity with at minimum one “weight-related disease,” which the agency believes to be issues such as excessive blood pressure Type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol. The F.D.A. defines overweight and obesity with an metric called the Body Mass Index, an well-established, but highly debated measure.
The drug is costly without insurance . The cost of the list price for Wegovy is more than $1300 for a 28-day supply and Ozempic is around $892 per month without insurance . those who don’t meet F.D.A. ‘s requirements are likely to be unable to obtain insurance coverage that will cover the expense.
However however, the increase in patients taking Ozempic off-label is likely to exacerbate the problem in the market, Narang said. Narang said, noting that people suffering from obesity and diabetes are having trouble to obtain the medication.
“It’s been truly, truly awful because patients don’t know what to do,” she said. “We’ve become hamsters on an endless wheel, trying to figure it out.”
“While we acknowledge that certain health professionals may prescribe Ozempic for patients who are trying to shed weight, it’s left the decision-making of every health professional to select the appropriate approach to treatment that is appropriate for the patient,” a representative from Novo Nordisk wrote in a statement, stating that the company doesn’t “promote or advocate for non-approved use of our medicines.”
What are the possible side adverse effects?
Patients taking Ozempic as well as Wegovy in combination for F.D.A. approved and off-label use could suffer from vomiting and thirst. Patients may also experience fatigue and feel malaise. They may also experience a change in their bowel movements as some patients experience diarrhea, while others are severely constipated. “It could be so severe that people have to go to for an E.R.,” Dr. Kraftson said. “It’s not a fun.” Patients must be watched while taking these medications Dr. Kraftson said. He also explained that doctors might prescribe anti-nausea drugs and stool softeners or laxatives. In rare instances the medication may raise the chance of suffering from pancreatitis which is a painful condition which causes inflammation in the pancreas. Patients may also develop gallstones. Doctor. Gabbay said he had observed patients suffering from such extreme vomiting that they needed to take a break from the medication.
Doctors usually begin patients on lower doses of drugs such as Ozempic or Wegovy and gradually ramp up, in order to lessen these adverse consequences the doctor. Gabbay said.
Are off-label uses of these medicines a danger?
Doctors believe there’s not enough evidence to determine whether these medications are beneficial or risky for people who don’t meet the F.D.A.’s guidelines. Although tempting the thought of a weight loss drug loss could be, experts advised against those who seek the medication off-label. Patients who are taking Ozempic and Wegovy should be watched closely according to Doctor. Kraftson said. “If you’re only receiving this via the internet there’s probably not going to be the same level that protect you,” he said. “I would rather not watch people gamble on their own health.”
The drug isn’t thoroughly tested on people who weigh less Dr. Hwang said, and it’s possible that people who aren’t part of the group that which the drug is designed for may experience more severe adverse effects. In the absence of further studies is unclear how harmful these negative side effects can be.