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Ozempic for Weight Loss – Does it Work?

Discover the serious side effects linked to this weight loss drug

In the world of weight loss drugs, a new contender has emerged – Ozempic. Known primarily as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, Ozempic has recently gained attention for its potential to help individuals shed unwanted pounds.

Find out how Ozempic works, why it’s being used for weight loss, and the potential dangers associated with this seemingly quick-fix approach.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It was initially developed to regulate blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. The medication mimics the function of a hormone called GLP-1, which naturally occurs in the body. However, it’s essential to note that while Ozempic is related to diabetes management, its use as a weight loss aid is an off-label application, meaning it’s not FDA-approved for this purpose.

How does Ozempic work?

Ozempic is typically self-administered via a subcutaneous injection once a week. The injection is typically given in the abdomen, thigh or upper arm. It works by primarily influencing two key aspects that can aid in weight loss:

  • Appetite suppression: The hormone GLP-1 plays a role in regulating appetite. By using Ozempic, individuals may experience a reduced desire to eat, resulting in fewer calories consumed.
  • Slowed gastric emptying: Ozempic also slows down the emptying of the stomach, which contributes to feelings of fullness and satiation after a meal. This can further reduce food intake.

Ozempic vs. Wegovy

Wegovy is a medication developed by the same company that produces Ozempic (Novo Nordis). While both drugs contain the active ingredient semaglutide, they are prescribed for different conditions and Wegovy is a higher-dose formulation. Ozempic is used to manage blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes; Wegovy is specifically formulated for weight management and the treatment of obesity in overweight adults (who have a BMI of 27 or more) with weight-related health conditions such as high blood pressure.

Wegovy is harder to access as it’s not usually covered by healthcare plans which is why many people have turned to using Ozempic off-label for weight loss. In September 2023, Novo Nordisk made a limited supply of Wegovy available to those meeting certain criteria within NHS weight management services or via private healthcare providers.

The dangers of using Ozempic (and Wegovy)

While Ozempic’s weight loss potential sounds alluring, don’t be fooled by its seemingly quick-fix approach to losing unwanted pounds. There are numerous dangers and drawbacks associated with this so-called miracle weight-loss drug.

Gastrointestinal side effects including nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea are common, especially during the initial weeks of treatment. These side effects can be uncomfortable and distressing

Hypersensitivity reactions such as itching, rashes, difficulty breathing and swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.

Dehydration due to increased urination associated with taking the drug and from excess fluid loss if experiencing vomiting and diarrhoea.

Hypoglycaemia: Ozempic can cause low blood sugar levels, especially when combined with other blood sugar-lowering medications. This can result in dizziness, confusion, and in severe cases, fainting.

Pancreatitis: There have been reports of pancreatitis, a rare but severe inflammation of the pancreas, among Ozempic users. This condition can be life-threatening and may require hospitalisation.

Gallbladder problems: Ozempic can increase the risk of gallstones which can cause abdominal pain and may result in surgery to remove the gallbladder.

Thyroid C-cell tumours: Taking this drug can increase the risk of thyroid cancer.

Kidney impairment: Like other medications, Ozempic can indirectly impact the kidneys due to its effects on blood glucose control. In some cases, this can put more strain on the kidneys.

The long-term safety effects are largely unknown. While Ozempic has demonstrated short-term weight loss benefits, its extended use lacks comprehensive long-term safety and efficacy data. This gap raises concerns about its sustained effectiveness and potential unforeseen effects

What’s the alternative for weight loss?

There are easy and sustainable ways to lose weight which don’t come with unwanted side effects and risks. The best way to lose weight is through diet and exercise. The CNM Naturopathic Diet has proven highly effective for weight management. This approach involves adhering to a whole-food diet rich in nutrients and avoiding high-sugar and salty foods, refined carbohydrates and processed foods, with a maximum of three meals per day and eliminating snacks. Combining foods correctly is a crucial component.

For each meal, ensure a balance of fresh vegetables, quality protein and healthy fats while being mindful of portion sizes. Weight loss can be hindered by the consumption of coffee and alcohol, so it’s advisable to avoid these habits.

Another successful method is Intermittent Fasting which entails skipping one meal per day. Managing stress and prioritising good-quality sleep play vital roles in achieving weight management goals.

Here are some weight loss resources you may find useful:

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Blog/Article content reflects the author's research and diverse opinions, not necessarily CNM's views. Items may not be regularly updated, so represent the best available understanding at the time of publication.

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