You may have heard a lot recently about a medication called Ozempic. It's a type 2 diabetes drug that’s FDA approved. It's actually a peptide called semaglutide. It's considered to be a a GLP-1 receptor agonist and it works on the glucagon pathway in your brain and your body.
How does Ozempic Work?
Ozempic works by helping to increase fullness or satiety, delay gastric emptying, and also improve insulin secretion or production from the pancreas. So a lot of people are using it for type 2 diabetes.
However, a lot of people are also using it off label for weight loss because a side effect of Ozempic is weight loss. So that's why you've likely heard about it recently because a lot of people are taking it for weight loss, which is an off-label use. There is another drug called Wagovy that's also a semaglutide peptide. That one is FDA approved for weight loss.
Ozempic Dosing and Side Effects
Now, these drugs are very strong. They do work pretty well in most people, although they don't work in everyone. But if you do the dosage correctly--it's generally a once-a-week injection and you start low in the dose and work your way up—and if you follow directions correctly, over time you start to lose more weight. And, as the dose increases, the side effect profile is minimized, meaning you don't get the typical nausea and vomiting that can occur.
There are rare side effects, like pancreatitis or issues with the kidneys, so you need to talk to your doctor about that. And make sure that there are ways for you to reduce those side effects.
Who Should Not Take Ozempic
There's also a strong contraindication with a medullary thyroid cancer that you should be aware of. So any family or personal history of thyroid issues, these drugs are not for you.
The Bottom Line on Ozempic
I do find that drugs like Ozempic are helpful for people. We live in a society where there's just no regulation around the foods that are out there that there's a lot of junk. There's a lot of sugar, there's a lot of processed carbs, highly processed carbohydrates, so a lot of people are struggling with weight issues. I think that these classes of medications are only going to grow in popularity and also in safety too. I do hold a lot of promise that these drugs are going to be very effective for people not only with type 2 diabetes, but also those that are struggling with obesity and want to lose weight.
It's not for everyone. Some people experience side effects, others don't. We don't really know why that's the case, but if you're interested in it, make sure you talk to your doctor about it and be very careful to take the right amount at the suggested dose and timing.