In the last year, supplements such as Ozempic and Mounjaro have sparked a buzz online. People have become curious about the drug and its side effects.
The Injectable Rave
Although doctors primarily use Ozempic to treat type 2 diabetes, it has gained attention for its weight loss properties. Studies have found that the use of Ozempic can result in suppressed appetite, leading to rapid weight loss. Tirzepatide is also a diet suppressant, which manufacturers are selling under the brand name “Mounjaro,” which also promotes weight loss.
Ozempic and Mounjaro are injected once a week and have quickly taken TikTok and the internet by storm, with content creators often crediting the diabetes drug with the speed of their weight loss. Even WeightWatchers took notice of the increasing push for weight loss prescriptions. In March, the company announced plans to purchase a telehealth service. The subscription-based plan connects patients with doctors who can prescribe weight loss medicines like Ozempic.
All the attention has increased the demand for Ozempic. Last year, medical reports stated that purchases of weight control drugs drove down the supply for diabetes patients who need them to manage their symptoms.
A Slippery-Slope Remedy
According to Dr. Glenn Vallecillos, a Beverly Hills-based Plastic Surgeon, the issue of Ozempic is a complicated one. He says it’s not all bad.
“The upside is that if you suffer from obesity, Ozempic helps with weight loss and the control of diabetes. Ozempic also helps promote the release of insulin, which helps reduce blood sugar,” Vallecillos said. “It has also been shown to help with cardiovascular health by helping reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks.”
But the plastic surgeon warns, using Ozempic does have its downfalls.
“When people lose so much weight, they look unhealthy and emaciated. Patients taking Ozempic for weight loss must know that if they abruptly stop taking it, they will likely regain two-thirds of the weight they lost,” Vallecillos said.
Dr. Nicholas Dragolea, founder of Noble Medical, says there is a lot of uncertainty around the weight loss injectable rave.
“The disadvantage of the drug is that long-term effects in nondiabetics have not been thoroughly studied yet. The drug does work quite well as an appetite suppressant, but what happens when you stop taking it? Is this something you are going to take for the rest of your life?” Drafolea said. “We don’t know the long-term effects, which can include inflammation of the pancreas and other issues we don’t know of yet. Although it can help you lose weight, the trick is keeping this weight off when you come off the drug.”
Dragolea also points out that future data indicating the safety of the long-term use of the drug will help.
“If data from future studies show that the drug is safe for long-term use, then, of course, it can be used to help maintain a healthy weight over time, but for now, I believe that we are still in the early stages,” Dragolea said.