For years, we’ve been hearing about magical weight loss products that promise to melt away the pounds. Some are far-fetched, some are so dangerous they’re illegal, and some have made their way into the limelight – most recently Ozempic and WeGovy. Medicines originally intended to treat diabetes are now often prescribed via Telehealth to people who want to lose weight. And it all started in Hollywood.
Variety reports that Ozempic and WeGovy have taken the industry by storm, with everyone from reality stars to movie producers and actors trying them out. (Chelsea Handler said her doctor prescribed her Ozempic — without explaining what it was — in case she wanted to lose five pounds. Elon Musk tweeted that WeGovy helps her look fit and polished.) Because many health insurance companies refuse to cover the cost (about $1,200 to $1,500 a month) for anyone who isn’t diabetic, only the rich can afford the points. However, the average consumer shouldn’t be envious of celebrities who can pay off by losing weight – because these drugs have some potentially serious side effects.
How Ozempic and WeGovy work
Ozempic and WeGovy both have the same active ingredient: semaglutide. It comes as a solution that is injected into the stomach once a week and works by stimulating the release of insulin. The drug also inhibits the secretion of glucagon (a hormone produced by the pancreas that increases blood glucose levels) – but only when blood sugar levels are already high. This reduces the risk of hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar). Finally, semaglutide slows down digestion, making the patient feel fuller for longer. All this can lead to great weight loss.
Semaglutide negative side effects
Although some users believe that semaglutide is one of the best ways to start a healthy lifestyle, health experts warn that the drug has some serious side effects, which are listed below.
Nausea, stomach pain, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea or vomiting
Rash, itching, swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, throat, legs, ankles or feet
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Vision changes, fainting or dizziness
You may gain some or all of your weight back when you stop taking the medicine
Your blood sugar may drop too far if you take this medicine with other blood sugar-lowering medicines
In addition, some users of semaglutide have developed serious kidney problems, including acute kidney injury. Symptoms of this include bloody urine, decreased urination, muscle twitching, nausea, rapid weight gain and seizures. Do not use semaglutide if you have had thyroid cancer or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).
If you’re curious about taking generic semaglutide, Ozempic, or WeGovy for weight loss, talk to your doctor—not just a Telehealth doctor. There’s a good chance it’s more trouble than it’s worth, depending on your health and potential side effects. In addition, the drug’s sudden popularity makes it difficult for people with severe diabetes to fill their own prescriptions. (Although even some prediabetics and diabetics who have taken the drug say it’s not worth the risks.) Finally, weight-loss drugs reinforce a “thin is ideal” mentality—something experts worry is harmful to people in recovery from eating disorders.
You are more than just a number on a scale – don’t let Hollywood tell you otherwise.
If you or someone close to you has an eating disorder, The National Eating Disorders Association has a toll-free helpline at 1-800-931-2237 or text 1-800-931-2237.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always talk to your doctor before completing any treatment plan.