As people nationwide look for an easier alternative to losing weight, many are turning to Ozempic, a medication used to treat individuals with Type 2 diabetes. Rather than dieting or exercising, which most people lack the time or energy to do, taking this appetite-suppressing drug has become increasingly popular in Hollywood, and now amongst the everyday person.
Ozempic has been shown to reduce the feeling of hunger, as its main ingredient, semaglutide, specifically targets the portion of the brain that controls cravings and appetite sensations. Diabetics suffering from Type 2 also struggle with high blood sugar, which is often paired with obesity and are able to achieve healthy levels upon taking this medicine.
Until recently however, people without this life-threatening disease have caught on and realized that Ozempic may be a new method of weight loss. Dr. Christopher McGowan, an expert in obesity and gastroenterology, said that those taking the drug will experience “decreased hunger, prolonged fullness and ultimately weight loss”, since its mechanisms impede the process of digestion, sustaining the feeling of being full.
This new diet fad originally stems from Wegovy, a medication similar to Ozempic, which also became popular for its weight loss benefits. Wegovy was approved by the FDA for this specific use and also contains semaglutide, but has recently seen mass shortages on the market. Now, more people are instead using Ozempic, creating issues in their supply chain as well and hindering those with diabetes from receiving their medication.
The guidelines for being prescribed Ozempic are extremely lose, which only contributes to the growth of this trend. Insurance will even cover the costs of the medication for anyone with high blood pressure, cholesterol or BMI, which are extremely common. Dr. Melina Jampolis, the Chief Nutrition Officer for BLK water and Board of Directors for the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, argues that 95% of individuals who are on Ozempic for vanity reasons, are abusing its intended purpose and are taking it without thoroughly understanding the potential side effects.
This only complicates and diminishes the accessibility of this drug for patients who actually rely on it. Shane Anthony, who has been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, explained his frustrations with attempting to receive treatment while battling the drug shortage generated by this trend. For over three months, Shane has been unable to obtain Ozempic, and said diabetics “need it to stay alive and keep functioning on an everyday basis”, and noticed a rise in his blood sugar after doctors failed to prescribe the drug. People with Type 2 diabetes across the nation have been struggling to find their medication, and have been forced to take similar drugs, which are not nearly effective enough.
This trend, however, may eventually decline as new studies are showing that the majority of people will regain the weight they had lost while taking the drug, as it is meant to be taken forever.
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