Pros and Cons of Ozempic: What You Need to Know
It’s important that those considering losing weight understand the pros and cons of Ozempic as a medicine that can help you to achieve those goals.
Ozempic is a relatively new medication that has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, it has also gained popularity as a potential weight loss aid. This medication works by mimicking the effects of a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps regulate blood sugar levels and suppress appetite. It’s the appetite suppression effect that makes Ozempic a popular medication in a country where nearly 42% of the population is obese.
Used off-label, Ozempic can be an effective tool for weight loss, with the potential to help people lose and keep off some weight over time. However, like all medications, it is not without its drawbacks. People considering taking Ozempic for weight loss should weigh the pros and cons carefully and discuss the potential risks and benefits with a bariatric specialist. Additionally, while Ozempic can help people lose and keep off some weight, the amount of weight actually lost achievable might not be enough to move someone out of the category of being obese or overweight. Like other weight loss drugs, it should only be used as part of a comprehensive weight loss plan that includes medical supervision, healthy diet, regular exercise and other lifestyle interventions.
Before taking Ozempic regularly, it is important that individuals and their medical professionals carefully consider the pros and cons of taking the drug for weight loss.
Moderately Effective: Studies have shown that Ozempic can be an effective tool for weight loss. In one study, participants who took Ozempic lost an average of 13.5 pounds over 26 weeks, compared to an average weight loss of only 2.5 pounds in the control group. This weight loss was sustained over time, with participants maintaining an average weight loss of 11.5 pounds after one year.
Suppresses Appetite: Ozempic works by mimicking the effects of GLP-1, a hormone that helps regulate appetite. This means that it can help people feel fuller for longer periods of time, reducing the likelihood of overeating.
Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Ozempic has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for people with type 2 diabetes. Improved insulin sensitivity can also help promote weight loss.
Convenient: Ozempic is a once-weekly injection, which is much more convenient than other weight loss medications that require daily dosing.
“[Ozempic users] can expect an average weight loss of 11.5 pounds after one year.”
Cancer: Users should be aware that the FDA has issued a black box warning (the most serious level of warning that a drug can be given) advising of a link between thyroid cancer and the regular use of Ozempic.
Side Effects: Like all medications, Ozempic has the potential to cause side effects. Common side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The drug also slows digestion of fats and proteins so can cause indigestion and bloating if you eat foods that includes both of these nutrients, such as meat. Drinking alcohol with Ozempic may lower blood sugar levels to the point of hypoglycemia, which could be deadly. Living with these common side effects may be intolerable for some people.
Expensive: Ozempic can be expensive, with current prices hovering around $1,000 per month for the medication. This may make it difficult for many people to afford.
May Not Be Suitable for Everyone: Ozempic is not suitable for everyone. It should not be taken by people with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2. It should also be used with caution in people with a history of pancreatitis.
Long-Term Safety Unknown: Ozempic is a relatively new medication, and its long-term safety is not yet known. It is possible that there may be unknown risks associated with long-term use of this medication.
Moderately Effective: While Ozempic has generally been effective in helping people lose weight in studies, at the one-year mark this weight loss has only been 12 pounds on average. 12 pounds of sustainable weight loss can be impressive, but it may not be significant enough to warrant the side effects and health risks that the drug poses to users.
There are some who may overstate the results that can come from using Ozempic. If you are trying to lose weight, these claims can sound extremely alluring, however be sure not to be misguided into taking the drug without making additional changes to your eating habits and lifestyle.
Work with your bariatric specialist to determine what role, if any, Ozempic can play as part of a comprehensive and medically supervised weight loss program
Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center
Dr. Amir’s Weight Loss and Metabolism Center is a state-of-the-art facility that offers patients a customized, multidisciplinary approach to weight loss management. With longer consultations, careful use of obesity medications when appropriate, and the latest in technology, this center has a proven track record of getting great results. If you’re ready to take control of your weight and improve your overall health, we encourage you to book an initial consultation with Dr. Amir today. Click here to learn more and take the first step on your journey to a healthier, happier you!