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Ozempic: Not FDA but 'The Hollywood-Approved Diabetes Drug' That's Shaping Celebrity Figures

Comedian and US actor Amy Schumer recently made headlines for her candid remarks about weight loss and calling out celebrities who she believes are dishonest with their audience about their weight loss journey. During an episode of Bravo writer and producer Andy Cohen’s interactive talk-show Watch What Happens Live, Schumer expressed frustration with the falsified advice of ‘smaller portionsand called on celebrities to be more truthful.  


Amy stated, "Everyone has been lying, saying, 'Oh, smaller portions.' Like, shut the f up. You are on Ozempic or one of those things, or you got work done. Just stop." She urged celebrities to be genuine and transparent about their experiences with weight loss, much like she was when she openly discussed her experience while undergoing liposuction. 


Although Schumer's statement has sparked public debate on the topic of Ozempic, this is not the first time this drug has been the centre of attention. A drug originally developed for diabetes is now a favourite among many Hollywood celebrities and even Technology moguls for exceptional weight loss effects 


On 12 March this year, Jimmy Kimmel who was hosting the 95th annual Academy Awards, joked about using the injectable prescription drug to lose weight. He claimed, "Everybody looks so great. When I look around this room, I can't help but wonder, 'Is Ozempic right for me?'"  


The Ozempic fan-base does not end here. In October 2022, business mogul and investor Elon Musk wrote on Twitter that he was using Semaglutide (brand name being Ozempic). Musk said the once-weekly injectable was his secret weapon for looking "fit, ripped and healthy".


What is Ozempic? 


Ozempic is one of many in a drug class known as Incretins or gut hormones. According to the Dailymail, The drug manufactured by the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk costs around 900 dollars per dose. Ozempic was made as a once-weekly injectable medication formulated to help adults with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar. It was never made as a weight loss drug. Research suggests that people who use Ozempic may lose modest amounts of weight while on the medication.  

However, the active ingredient in Ozempic (Semaglutide), is FDA-approved at higher doses for treating individuals living with obesity and other weight-related medical problems under the name Wegovy. According to UK's leading diabetes charity, Diabetes UK, this medication increases the levels of incretins – a hormone that helps your body produce more insulin when needed. It also suppresses the amount of glucose produced by the liver.   


How does it work?  


Semaglutide affects weight by reducing hunger and appetite. With their appetite gone, people on this medication begin to eat less. it also slows down the movement of food in your gut, meaning you stay full for longer. In a clinical trial, adults with excess weight or obesity who took Semaglutide and paired it with relevant lifestyle changes, lost a significant amount of weight compared to those who took a placebo.  



It is worth mentioning that Ozempic is FDA-approved for treating diabetes only, and is not specifically meant for weight loss. Its sister medication, Wegovy, is specifically approved for weight loss. However, Wegovy has been facing a shortage of supply due to distribution issues, leading the uber-rich to use off-label Ozempic for weight loss. 


Side Effects 


As the saying goes, everything comes at a price. While Ozempic may help with weight loss, most people tend to regain much of the lost weight if they stop using the medication. Therefore, GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic are usually intended for long-term use to manage chronic conditions like diabetes and obesity.  


According to Diabetes UK, most medicines can have side effects, and Ozempic is no different. Common side effects include constipation and diarrhoea, while less common ones include altered taste and acute pancreatitis. If you have diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) and are using insulin, then Ozempic may worsen your vision, which may require treatment.  


It is also essential that you take individual advice from your healthcare team before starting Ozempic treatment, and report any side effects if you experience any. In her interview, Schumer also spoke about the side effects of the drugs. She claimed that she had to stop taking the product because it left her feeling "sick". She explained: "So, like a year ago, I tried it. It's like, you know, you try it. And I was one of the people that felt like so sick and like couldn't like play with my son. I was so skinny.” 


The actor indicated that her four year old son Gene would throw a ball at her and that she wouldn’t be able to throw it back.

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