If you have been on the internet recently, you might have come across Ozempic. The drug has been making waves all over the internet because it is being popularized as an effective weight loss drug by some celebrities and influencers on TikTok.
Nigeria is among the top 6 consumers of TikTok in 2022. Therefore, such influence is likely to have real impact in the country if care is not taken.
The use is Ozempic is rapidly gaining grounds in Nigeria, to the point that some spas and aesthetic clinics now routinely administer the drug to their clients.
Regardless of the rave, the current verdict remains that Ozempic is not safe for weight loss.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is the brand name of a drug called semaglutide, a member of a class of drugs called glucagon-like-peptides 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 RAs) which is used to regulate blood sugar levels.
The alleged weight loss drug is actually an anti-diabetic drug, used specifically in some cases of Type 2 Diabetics.
Ozempic comes as a liquid injectable drug which is prefilled into a disposable plastic pen and injected into the skin of the abdomen, thighs or upper arm. There is currently no oral form of the drug.
How does Ozempic work?
The GLP-1 receptor agonist is the active ingredient of the drug, and it works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 which is naturally produced in the body.
By imitating the hormone, Ozempic reduces the rate of gastric emptying (makes food pass slowly through the intestines), therefore slowing down digestion and causing people to fill full for longer. All these work to reduce craving and appetite for food.
The anti-diabetic medication also regulates insulin action in the body and lowers blood glucose.
Not everyone with Type 2 diabetes mellitus uses the injection, there are several anti-diabetic medications and Ozempic is just one of many.
How did Ozempic become so popular?
As with many other things, the answer is simple: social media.
Some celebrities and influencers like Elon Musk have taken to social media to promote a semaglutide-containing weight loss drug called Wegovy. Although both Wegovy and Ozempic contain semaglutide as their active ingredient, Wegovy is FDA approved for weight loss while Ozempic is strictly for treating diabetes.
The Ozempic frenzy arose when the demand for the approved weight loss drug increased, and caused a scarcity. People then turned to Ozempic as an alternative, using the logic that both could be used for weight loss since they contained the same ingredient.
Does Ozempic work for weight loss?
Some Type 2 diabetics have reported weight loss as a side effect of taking their prescribed Ozempic injection. In such cases, the weight loss side effect is mostly favorable since weight loss helps to improve the body’s response to insulin and reduce blood sugar.
Although this is safe for diabetics, it is dangerous for the general population.
Ozempic is not a weight loss drug. It can harm the body.
What are the side effects of Ozempic?
In addition to lowering blood sugar to dangerously low levels which can lead to coma and death, Ozempic can also cause:
- Severe vomiting requiring hospital admission
- Gall bladder stones
- Acute pancreatitis
- Thyroid cancer
- Allergic reactions.
A word from Healthfacts
Not all social media trends are safe. Avoid self-medication and consult your doctor before starting any new drug. Weight loss can be achieved safely and naturally through good nutrition and exercise.
Share to create awareness.