What Happens If…. You Take Ozempic When You Don’t Need It

The diabetes drug has controversially become popular with celebs due to its ability to aid weight loss.
GEORGE FREY via Reuters

It seems like everyone is talking about Ozempic of late. The #ozempic search on TikTok has over 816.6 million hits and search terms like ‘Ozempic weightloss’ and ‘Ozempic challenge’ are similarly as popular.

It’s become such a hot button topic that Jimmy Kimmel even poked fun at it at the Oscars earlier this year when he said to the crowd, “Everybody looks so great. When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder, ‘Is Ozempic right for me?’”

Some celebs, such as Elon Musk and Chelsea Handler have been open about utilising the drug – when asked about his weight loss recently, Elon attributed it to ‘Fasting and Ozempic’ – while others, such as the Kardashians, have denied use.

Khloe Kardashian was forced to address rumours that she used Ozempic to slim down for her Sorbet Magazine cover in January, posting on her Instagram: “Let’s not discredit my years of working out. I get up five days a week at 6am to train.”

With some stars admitting using it, it seems that Ozempic is the drug du jour of Hollywood’s finest. But what exactly is it, and how can taking a drug aimed at those with diabetes affect people who… don’t?

What Is Ozempic?

The brand name for the diabetes drug semaglutide, Ozempic aids those with diabetes in stimulating insulin and regulating blood sugar, but can also aid weight loss.

According to Diabetes UK, Ozempic is taken as a once-weekly injection to manage blood glucose levels and hba1c in people with type-2 diabetes.

As a glp-1 analogue medication, it increases the levels of incretins – a hormone – which helps your body to produce more insulin when needed. It also suppresses the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Ozempic And Weight Loss

People with type-2 diabetes who use Ozempic can lose weight while using the medication, which happens partly due to its effect on reducing your appetite so you eat less and slowing down the movement of food in your gut meaning you stay full for longer.

The drug affects the hunger centres in the brain’s hypothalamus, reducing hunger, appetite and cravings, as well as slowing the rate of the stomach emptying, which can have the effect of satiety.

What Happens If You Take Ozempic When You Don’t Need It?

Obviously, we shouldn’t be taking medications that aren’t prescribed to us. But what happens to the body if we take Ozempic when we don’t have diabetes type-2?

Dr Christopher McGowan, M.D., a gastroenterologist specialising in obesity medicine doesn’t recommend using Ozempic for cosmetic weight loss. He explains: “While this has received significant attention in the media, Ozempic and related medications aren’t designed to be used in this way, can lead to potential adverse events and ultimately, the weight that is lost will be regained.

“Further, this off-label use of Ozempic is greatly impacting availability of the medication for those who need it most – individuals with type-2 diabetes.”

As well as the main side effects of nausea and gastrointestinal issues, the following are some less common effects of taking Ozempic:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Vision changes
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Kidney problems
  • Allergic reactions
  • Thyroid tumours
  • Gallbladder problems

So, we vote that if you’re looking to lose weight, you’re probably best doing it the old-fashioned way – good old exercise and a balanced diet!

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