Ozempic for weight loss

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What is Ozempic?

According to the Mayo Clinic, Ozempic is an injectable medication that is classified as a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist, a class of drugs used to manage blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Some patients are receiving off-label prescriptions for weight reduction, according to Jamie Alan, Ph.D., an associate professor of toxicology and pharmacology at Michigan State University. Ozempic for weight loss

In conjunction with a diet and exercise regimen, Ozempic is utilized to assist individuals in managing their blood sugar levels. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of the drug, states that it can reduce the risk of mortality, stroke, and heart attack in adults with type 2 diabetes, as well as heart and blood vessel disease. It is administered via injection.

How does Ozempic work?

Alan describes Ozempic as “a protein analogous to glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which is naturally occurring in the body.” Alan states that taking Ozempic “will activate GLP-1 receptors,” adding that “this increases insulin production, which aids in the treatment of diabetes.”

Ozempic reduced A1C levels (a test that measures average blood glucose levels over the past two to three weeks) to less than 7%, as recommended by the American Diabetes Association, according to research.

“The drug also functions by stimulating the pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) pathway in the hypothalamus, which instructs us to eat less and store less,” explains Fatima Cody Stanford, M.D., M.P.H., an associate professor of pediatrics and medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School and an expert in obesity medicine. Additionally, it slows the transit of food through the intestines, “allowing you to feel fuller for longer,” according to Dr. Sanford.

Is Ozempic safe?

While the drug may cause only minimal side effects in some patients, it is not without its risks. As per the Ozempic website, certain patients may develop complications such as pancreatic inflammation (pancreatitis), renal impairments including kidney failure, gastrointestinal issues, and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Furthermore, the FDA cautions that Ozempic may increase the risk of developing thyroid malignancies, including cancer. Additionally, gastroparesis, or gastrointestinal paralysis, has been reported in association with the GLP-1.

It is noteworthy that the FDA granted approval for the use of Ozempic in 2017 specifically for adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. No information regarding the medication’s long-term effects is available at the time of publication. Rare instances of gastroparesis have been associated, however.

Is Ozempic for weight loss safe?

The FDA has authorized Ozempic for the management of blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes; it is not a weight loss medication. However, Alan acknowledges that “off-label use of prescription drugs is ubiquitous.” Alan states that off-label use of medications such as Ozempic is not regarded dangerous if one is under the supervision of a physician. Dr. Stanford concurs. She states, “Semaglutide is also approved for the treatment of obesity under the brand name Wegovy.” “Therefore, off-label use of this medication does not pose any harm, given that it has been approved for this specific indication.”

Ozempic side effects

But, Alan notes, “you are still subject to the same side effects,” whether you take Ozempic for diabetes or weight loss. Those side effects can include:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Changes in vision
  • Kidney problems
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation

Why might people lose weight on Ozempic?

The drug aides in satiety, “so you feel fuller for longer,” as stated previously, by stimulating a hypothalamic pathway that instructs the body to store less food and consume less. Nevertheless, it is possible that Ozempic is more than that; however, this remains unknown. “We are beginning to understand additional potential mechanisms,” says Ph.D. associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology Jamie Alan of Michigan State University.

Although the Ozempic website states that some users have lost as much as 14 pounds, it unequivocally states that the supplement is “not a weight loss drug.” However, the company also highlights that A1C level research revealed that individuals taking Ozempic lost an average of eight pounds when taking 0.5 milligrams and 10 pounds when taking one milligram, compared to three pounds when taking a placebo. The company claims that in another study, participants lost 12 pounds on one milligram of Ozempic and 14 pounds on two milligrams.

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