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Ozempic: The Wonder Weight-loss Drug

Ozempic is a pharmaceutical developed by Novo Nordisk in 2017 in order to treat type 2 diabetes. One of the most commonly prescribed medications for diabetes patients, Ozempic has established itself as a cornerstone of diabetes treatment. However, in recent years, Ozempic has become a phenomenon, sparking conversations about its off-label use for weight-loss. Ozempic hasn’t been approved for weight loss by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), yet the drug’s popularity continues to soar, particularly in the United States. Countless medical professionals, and celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Tracy Morgan and Amy Schumer have advocated for its potential beyond its original purpose. As a result, Ozempic has turned into more than just a medication: it has become a topic of heated debate and a symbol of the evolving landscape of weight-loss medications.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is the brand name for semaglutide, an injectable medication that belongs to the class of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs). These drugs work by mimicking the biochemical action of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 is released by the intestines to aid in regulating blood sugar levels. When Ozempic is injected, it activates GLP-1 (the activation of protein receptors on the cell membrane to enable the secretion of insulin) receptors in the pancreas, leading to increased insulin secretion. This lowers blood sugar levels, and improves glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes. An interesting side effect of Ozempic, however, is its impact on appetite and weight regulation; it has been associated with appetite suppression, which can contribute to weight loss. Despite its potential for weight loss, however, Ozempic has not received approval from the FDAfor this specific purpose. Nevertheless, growing interest and anecdotal reports of weight loss have sparked a wave of off-label usage and discussions surrounding the medication.

Figure 1

GLP-1 RA Mechanism of Action

Source: MedLink

Dangers of Ozempic

While Ozempic can be effective for weight loss, there are potential dangers associated with its use. Common side effects of Ozempic include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, while more serious side effects may include pancreatitis, kidney problems, and allergic reactions. Side effects are usually experienced during dose escalation, the process of gradually increasing the drug’s dosage until the maximum dose is reached. For instance, nausea was reported in trials by 15.8% of patients on 0.5 mg doses, and 20.3% of individuals on 1 mg doses. The use of Ozempic for weight loss rather than diabetes has raised even more concerns about malnutrition and disordered eating, as People taking Ozempic tend to lose weight because they consume fewer calories, not because the drug itself burns fat. If not closely monitored by healthcare professionals, this can lead to or exacerbate disordered eating.

Figure 2

Ozempic is an injectable medication to help with type-2 diabetes

Source: NPR News


Although Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, its use for this purpose has gained significant attention because of its potential to suppress appetite. It is important to note, however, that using Ozempic for weight loss comes with potential dangers, including gastrointestinal side effects, pancreatitis, kidney problems, and the risk of malnutrition and disordered eating. Regardless of rumors surrounding its ability to act as a weight-loss medication,, Ozempic’s approved function remains the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. With this in mind, it is crucial for individuals considering its off-label use for weight loss to consult healthcare professionals for proper monitoring and guidance to mitigate potential risks associated with its use.



Ozempic. (2023). What is ozempic?

UCLA Health. (2023, January 12). Semaglutide for weight loss – what you need to know.,signal%20you%20to%20feel%20full.

Delong, C., & Preuss, C. (2023, February 11). Black box warning. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2021, June 4). FDA approves new drug treatment for chronic weight management, first since 2014.

Mitchell, E. (2023, May 29). Fears grow over illegal sale of Wegovy and Ozempic. Healthnews.

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