Losing weight with the diabetic drug Ozempic: a dangerous trend

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Von: Juliane Gutman

Help with losing weight: It should be possible with the drug Ozempic – at least that’s what TikTok users claim. Pharmacists see consequences for diabetes patients.

Fashion, makeup to nutrition tips: not all TikTok trends are harmless. The diabetes drug Ozempic with the active ingredient semaglutide is currently experiencing a hype that can have dangerous consequences for diabetics like them German Pharmacist Newspaper (DAZ) informed. Ozempic is approved as a drug to treat Typ-2-Diabetes and for long-term weight control. “Ozempic is a diabetes medicine that is used in addition to diet and exercise to treat adults whose type 2 diabetes is not adequately controlled,” it says European Medicines Agency EMA. Again Pharmaindex Yellow List informed, it requires a prescription and is offered as an injection in a pre-filled pen. Injected once a week, the active ingredient semaglutide in Ozempic promotes the release of Insulin in the body, which helps control blood sugar levels. This effect prevents, for example, food cravings, which makes the preparation interesting in terms of body weight control.

According to the German Society for Endocrinology, semaglutide can help with weight loss, “because semaglutide leads to a weight loss of about 15 percent even in people without diabetes,” the society is told by the DAZ quoted. The active ingredient is increasingly being used “off label” in overweight people. As a result, the care of diabetics is endangered DAZ. And possible side effects must also be taken seriously.

Ozempic is a drug prescribed to people with diabetes. But there are also people who use it for weight loss. © Remko de Waal/Imago

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Diabetes drug Ozempic promoted by TikTok users as a slimming product

The problem is not new. Again and again, diabetes medication is misused and used exclusively for weight loss. That’s how it happened German pharmacist newspaper according to the beginning of the year to a supply shortage of the preparation Trulicity with the active ingredient dulaglutide, which also reduce body weight can.

Study: Why many people think their food is healthier than it is

TikTok also contributes to the fact that diabetes preparations are used as lifestyle drugs. About six months ago, a viral TikTok trend in Australia led to a shortage of the diabetes drug Ozempic. TikTok users had advertised the drug as a slimming product. And currently a TikTok hype is causing Ozempic delivery bottlenecks, as the DAZ informed in November 2022. In the post quotes the DAZ Professor Schneider:

There (Editor’s note: In the USA) the prescription diabetes drug Ozempic is used very heavily off-label, i.e. without approval, for weight loss; also because many celebrities like Elon Musk promote it heavily. The hashtag #Ozempic alone has been shared 350 million times on social media.

Side Effects of Ozempic

The off-label use (the use of drugs for diseases for which the drug authorities have not approved a preparation) is dangerous, especially with regard to supply bottlenecks. In the worst case, diabetics can no longer be cared for in the best possible way, if Medications like Ozempic missing on the market. Taking Ozempic can be dangerous if not under medical supervision. Interactions with other medications and side effects are possible, including the EMA and the Yellow List according to:

  • diarrhea, vomiting and nausea
  • stomach pain
  • constipation
  • gallstones
  • Exhaustion Syndrome (Fatigue)
  • dizziness
  • taste disorders
  • Serious to life-threatening side effects: inflammation of the pancreas, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), kidney problems including kidney failure, thyroid tumors and cancer, vision problems (diabetic retinopathy) and severe allergic reactions

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