Losing weight without actually having to work out sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? Well, it's not, as long as you have access to the right doctors. Ozempic, a drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) only six years ago in 2017, has become the new go-to for weight loss. Here’s how the Ozempic trend turned dangerous and is affecting our society and diabetic community.
Ozempic is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists; with its generic name is semaglutide. Ozempic is primarily prescribed to manage blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. This injectable medication has gained popularity for its efficacy in helping patients achieve better glycemic control.
The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, mimics the action of regulating blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin release and inhibiting glucagon secretion.Activating GLP-1 receptors, Ozempic helps enhance glucose-dependent insulin secretion, reduces inappropriate glucagon release, and slows down gastric emptying. These effects collectively contribute to better blood sugar management in individuals with diabetes.
As with any medication, Ozempic is not without potential side effects. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. These side effects are generally mild and tend to subside over time. In rare cases, more serious side effects such as pancreatitis or allergic reactions may occur, and patients are advised to seek medical attention if they experience any unusual symptoms.
It's important to note that Ozempic is typically prescribed as part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, which may include lifestyle modifications such as diet and exercise, as well as other medications. The choice of treatment is individualized, taking into account the patient's overall health, preferences, and specific needs.
However, due to remarkable results of weight loss within patients, it has started being prescribed to more than just diabetic patients. Many individuals with type 2 diabetes struggle with obesity, and some diabetes medications may contribute to weight gain. Additionally, a significant portion of Americans facing substantial weight gain has led to the drug being used beyond its original scope.The exact mechanism behind this weight loss is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to the medication's effects on appetite regulation and energy balance.
As a result, the ozempic crisis has started. The drug has stirred insane social media chatter and generated massive profit. Doctors are continuing to write more & more prescriptions for ozempic, as long as a patient has a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or above, considering them "obese" and in need of a weight loss aid. However, this has created a disparity, as individuals in populated cities like Los Angeles can easily obtain prescriptions regardless of their weight. Ozempic has proliferated rampant among celebrities, civilians, and even young teenagers. Doctors across the nation are justifying it as a reasonable solution to solve the obesity crisis. Anne Peters, an endocrinologist at Keck Medicine states, “Obesity is an epidemic. Many people are obese and overweight in the United States. That causes all sorts of problems. So, if we can get them to lose weight easily and simply, why not?”
The question itself- why not? It would make sense if providing everyone who wanted to lose weight with an injectable drug to do all the work. Although dealing with side effects like nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, headaches, etc., might be challenging, the allure of being skinny makes it seem worthwhile. Except, there is simply not enough of the drug to go around. This means that the portion of the population missing out on Ozempic, are those with diabetes. Individuals with type two diabetes, who the drug was originally made for, are missing out on prescriptions because of a shortage. With many influential individuals partaking in the drug, or buying it to sell for profit, there's little left for those in actual need. For people with diabetes, this has meant lowering their weekly recommended dosage or even switching to a completely new medicine all together.
Dr. Christopher McGowan, an obesity specialist, states, “The messaging has been derailed from this being a medical breakthrough to a celebrity short-term weight-loss drug. It’s not a quick fix.” The delays of Ozempic medication getting to diabetic patients is increasing daily, but as of now there are no actions to limit the prescriptions being made to the general public. An individual can have an online Telehealth appointment and be prescribed a life altering drug, without even having to leave their house.
The rise of Ozempic, fueled by social media, celebrities, and even the everyday person, has made the drug almost inaccessible. The hope is that, with time, there will be restrictions on who can gain access to the drug and how easily. After all, there are many ways to lose weight, but not many different ways for your body to regulate blood sugar.
Edited by: Sally (Anh) Ngo
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