What is Ozempic?
Ozempic, or its generic name Semaglutide, is a treatment used by Type 2 diabetes patients to help regulate blood sugar. Ozempic can also aid in weight loss, which can help those who struggle with obesity to lessen the risk of complications such as heart disease and strokes.
The medication tends to come in the form of an injectable pen which is injected on a weekly basis.
Ozempic is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, which in simple terms, the NHS explains “ mimics (copy) the action of a hormone (chemical substance) called GLP-1. Your stomach naturally releases this hormone when you eat food”, this will “help your body make more insulin, reduce the amount of sugar (glucose) that your liver makes, slow down the absorption of food so that it takes longer for your body to absorb (take in) the sugar from meals, and, reduce your appetite.” These effects of Ozempic are paired together to create the perfect conditions for weight loss, which is why this diabetes drug has quickly become a trend.
The rise in popularity of Ozempic
Ozempic and a similar product, Wegovy, have exploded in popularity in recent years. This explosion in fame originated from famous celebrities talking about or being rumoured to have taken the drug. Ozempic’s rise to fame has been coined the “worst kept secret in Hollywood history.”
Billionaire Elon Musk tweeted about the product following his rapid weight loss. The billionaire had lost 13kg (approx 28 pounds) and had tweeted his secret, sharing: “ Fasting + Ozempic/Wegovy+ no tasty food around me” on November 16, 2022. This candid response has pushed Ozempic and its similar counterparts into mainstream interest.
Diet culture has always been a topic of interest to the masses. New diet fads or techniques are constantly appearing and exploding in popularity as audiences crave to meet societal standards of beauty. Ozempic has hit a particular nerve of interest as it has been shown as incredibly easy, as many on the drug will just ‘forget to eat’ as their hunger has been suppressed.
The celebrity sphere has pushed this messaging further as famous faces have seemed to lose enormous tonnes of weight in incredibly short periods of time. Rumours have circled many female celebrities, such as the Kardashians and Mindy Kailing. These rumours tend to have little proof and only use the women’s rapid weight loss as concrete proof. The rumours tend to focus solely on women and echo misogynistic messaging about women’s bodies and weight loss. These rumours have nonetheless aided the rise in the drug's popularity.
Some celebrities have gone on the record and have spoken about their experiences with Ozempic. Chelsea Handler, an American comedian, has spoken about taking the drug without knowing. Handler spoke on the Call her Daddy podcast, about how her doctor would “[hand] it out to anybody.” The comedian shared that the drug made her feel “nauseous”. When Handler discovered the medication she was on was Ozempic, she stopped taking it, labelling her use of it “irresponsible”.
Side effects of the drug
While some are trying to promote this drug as ‘simple’ weight loss, this is not strictly true. Ozempic lists many uncomfortable side effects that come with the use of the drug. Side effects include intense nausea, constipation, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pains. These side effects aid in the weight loss factor of the drug. The image of simple and painless weight loss is simply not true while on Ozempic.
Dangers and consequences of Ozempic’s popularity
Ozempic can be safely administered for weight loss. However, this must be done with the help of a true professional and by someone who truly needs to lose weight. Obesity can lead to dangerous health complications such as heart problems and an increased risk of strokes. Under the supervision of a professional, Ozempic can yield incredible and life-changing results for weight loss.
The danger arises when this drug is misused by patients who are not medically obese. A physician specialising in obesity and lipids, Dr. Spencer Nadolsky, explains that one could lose around 15% of their body fat using Ozempic. This is dangerous for those who do not need to lose weight as this level of weight loss can lead to malnutrition and becoming severely underweight. Healthline reports that being underweight presents its own considerable risks, such as anaemia, osteoporosis and decreased immune function.
This rise in popularity has resulted in a shortage of the Ozempic and its counterparts. Many who need the drug to help with their Type 2 diabetes and for medical weight loss can not.
The rise in popularity of Ozempic is a phenomenon that comes from a long and painful history with diet culture that has affected generations. The promise of Ozempic as the miracle drug is one founded on unrealistic expectations and a long history of searching for the miracle drug. The popularity of Ozempic is still on the rise, with swirling rumours of celebrities fueling the allure of the drug. The long-term effects of this popularity and surge in use are still unknown.
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