According to a recent article from Everyday Health, posts featuring Ozempic, a Type 2 diabetes drug, have become popular on social media platforms. According to the article, hashtags like #ozempic and #ozempicweightloss have more than 300 million views on TikTok, with many posts promoting Ozempic as a method for easy and rapid weight loss.
Ozempic is the brand name for injectable semaglutide, a long-acting drug people take weekly to treat Type 2 diabetes. Ozempic works by helping manage a person’s blood sugar levels. However, it can also have the effect of suppressing the user’s appetite, thus helping them lose weight.
In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also approved Wegovy, a higher-dose semaglutide injection. Wegovy is a chronic weight management medication that is approved to treat adults who are obese as well as adults who are overweight and have certain health conditions, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.
Though many experts agree that Ozempic and Wegovy are most appropriate for treating the chronic health conditions they are approved for, the off-label use of these drugs for the sole purpose of promoting weight loss is common.
Is Ozempic Medically Appropriate for Quick Weight Loss?
There are many reasons to think twice before considering the use of Ozempic as a quick weight loss aid. The first of these may be the uncomfortable and potentially serious side effects that can occur when someone uses the drug. Before you consider using Ozempic, it may be helpful to weigh the potential benefits against the possible side effects.
The most common side effects of Ozempic are gastrointestinal in nature and can include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, and gas and burping. Ozempic can also change the way things taste and cause headaches, fatigue, and abdominal pain. Some of the serious side effects are pancreatitis, kidney damage, and rapid heart rate.
Although studies suggest that Ozempic and Wegovy can be effective in helping people lose weight when combined with lifestyle changes, research does not currently support the use of these medications for casual weight loss purposes. To date, research has focused on populations that have chronic weight management needs. So it’s unclear how safe and effective the medication might be for people who do not have weight-related health conditions.
Could Off-Label Ozempic Use Harm My Physical & Mental Health?
If you are intrigued by the current Ozempic fad and curious about whether the drug could be right for you, it’s worth considering some of the additional physical, social, and emotional side effects that are possible.
According to an article from Verywell Health, Ozempic and Wegovy can change the way someone experiences food, making processed food seem unappealing or even off-putting. While there can be benefits associated with developing a preference for more nutritious foods, the inability to stomach foods you once loved might be challenging. For example, you might struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food in general or feel unable to participate in social rituals that were once important to you.
The use of Ozempic for off-label weight loss may also be detrimental to your long-term physical and mental health. By curbing your appetite and altering your relationship with food, off-label Ozempic use could increase your risk for developing eating disorder symptoms or struggling with unhealthy eating behaviors. For many people, holistic health involves living a full and active life with vibrant and enriching food experiences, and Ozempic use, if not medically necessary, can put these experiences in jeopardy.
No Quick Fixes for Holistic Health & Well-Being
Ozempic and Wegovy are long-term health management tools that are generally most safe and effective when people use them with supervision and support from qualified medical professionals as part of well-rounded treatment regimens. They are not designed to be quick-fix weight loss solutions.
If you are struggling with body image challenges or concerns about weight, you are far from alone. Messages promoting diet culture are common online and in the media and can sometimes feel inescapable. Fortunately, there are ways you can combat these influences, including:
- Engaging with social media accounts that celebrate strength and health at every size
- Finding a sense of purpose in goals and achievements that do not involve weight management
- Developing a positive and nurturing relationship with your body and with food and exercise
When you’re making important health decisions, remember that a healthy body and lifestyle can look different for everyone. And that is OK.