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Ozempic: Controversial Diet Drug Takes the Internet Despite Health Warnings | News from the USA

Ozempic: Controversial Diet Drug Takes the Internet Despite Health Warnings | News from the USA

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Proponents say it’s a “miracle” diet drug—it can make users physically repulsed by food. But what is the truth about Ozempic?

Ozempic is the controversial drug labeled by the media as Hollywood’s “worst-kept secret” for drastic weight loss, and its seemingly rapid effects have set the internet on fire.

“There’s definitely talk of celebrities doing it,” says Samantha Glasser, a Los Angeles-based art dealer who has been accepting Ozempic since April.

“I completely changed my lifestyle. I didn’t know I could lose 50-some pounds,” she said.

But the drug is also prescribed to treat things like diabetes, and there are concerns that demand is making it harder for doctors to get the drug to patients who need it.

Image:
Samantha Glasser before Ozempic
Samantha Glasser
Image:
Samantha Glasser now

Elon Musk credits his sleek looks to the injection — “down 30 pounds,” he tweeted in November.

Rumors of Ozempic have swirled around Kim Kardashian since her drastic weight change before the MET Gala this year, although she has not confirmed that she uses it.

Only available in the UK for type 2 diabetes patients with a prescription, the drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight loss last year.

Ozempic’s main controversy stems from its immediate effect—mild to severe nausea at the thought of food.

“The biggest complaint I get is that patients go to their favorite restaurant and say, ‘I had two steaks and I can’t eat it, I’m sick,'” says Dr. Daniel Guillaume, whose clinic in Simi Valley, Calif. has been inundated with requests for Ozempic and WeGovy, a similar injectable product.

There are other potential side effects – pancreatitis, gallstones and a potentially increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Dr. Daniel Guillaume
Image:
Dr. Daniel Guillaume

“Reset Your Master Clock”

After initial skepticism, Los Angeles-based nutritionist Kim Shapira is now a convert to Ozempic after working with a variety of clients.

“You hear that someone is voluntarily taking a drug that will make them sick, but then you realize that everything is relative. How sick are you? It’s mild nausea… and there’s medicine to offset that,” she explained.

“You’re actually resetting your master clock. And if you can really do the work and understand your emotional needs while you’re working, I think there will be a lot of benefits.”

Los Angeles-based nutritionist Kim Shapira
Image:
Los Angeles-based nutritionist Kim Shapira

Scarcity for those who rely on it

Shortages are widespread and there are fears that drugs such as Ozempic are becoming less available to diabetes patients who rely on it for their treatment.

Dr Robert Gabbay, who is the American Diabetes Association’s chief scientific and medical director, told Sky News that there are patients who “have to go from pharmacy to pharmacy to find where they can get it”.

“I certainly have patients who have struggled to access the drug and have had to miss doses, putting them at risk for weight gain and higher blood sugar levels,” Dr. Gabbay said.

Dr. Robert Gabey
Image:
Dr. Robert Gabey

Popularity Expected in ‘Obesity Epidemic’

Many say the hype around Ozempic is expected.

The US diet industry is worth about $58 billion and more than a third of its population is obese.

But the cultural dangers of offering people a “quick fix” to lose weight are not lost on the professionals who recommend it.

“We are in an obesity epidemic, the average American gained 29 pounds (13.15 kg) during COVID,” added Ms. Shapira.

“Their size can contribute to high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, high blood sugar…that’s going to make a difference.

“I think doctors have a real responsibility here to make sure it’s prescribed to the right person at the right time for the right reasons.”


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