Some even call it a ‘wonder drug’
In a culture that rewards thinness, promising easy fixes for losing weight will surely earn you riches beyond your imagination. Over the years, pharmaceutical companies have come up with extremely weird hacks, from jaw-wiring to lap band operations, to help you lose extra pounds. But none of them really captured the public imagination so quickly and effectively as Ozempic, the latest breakthrough in the realm of weight-losing drugs. Originally developed to treat Type-2 diabetes, Ozempic is the brand name for semaglutide injections that slow down the gastric emptying time, thus making you feel satiated for longer.
The A-Listers have fallen in love with this wonder drug that lets you lose weight without burning sweat. American comedian Amy Schumacher took Ozempic to lose weight, though she stopped after noticing some side effects. On being asked about the secret to a “fit and ripped body”, Elon Musk credited Wegovy, another name for the same drug. American comedian and TV host Jimmy Kimmel, while hosting this year’s Academy Award, joked about the alleged widespread use of Ozempic. In America, more than ten million Ozempic and Wegovy prescriptions were written last year.
Closer home, the Bollywood actor Ali Fazal recently shared an article on the side effects of this drug, advising people not to take it. Although the drug is awaiting its approval in India, some e-retailers like IndiaMart sell it publicly. Your local vendor might not get you but with the right contact and a pocket deep enough to afford Rs 26,000 per week, it’s not that hard to procure it from physical stores too. While the Ozempic revolution hasn’t really swayed India so far, doctors in luxury clinics are already prescribing Ozempic or Wegovy off-label to their patients, confirms Archana Batra, the Delhi-based dietitian. “Some of my clients have been recommended Ozempic by their endocrinologists,” says Batra.
How Does Ozempic Work?
Semaglutide, a peptide that mimics naturally occurring hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), is the major component of both Ozempic and Wegovy, or whichever brand it’s sold under. “Ozempic is basically a GLP-1 agonist, meaning it imitates the action of GLP-1. It increases the production of insulin in the body and reduces glucagon secretion. This slows down the process of gastric emptying, and you feel satiated for longer,” says Batra. For a diabetic person, it works by stimulating insulin secretion and suppressing hunger cravings, thus resulting in weight loss.
It’s the effectiveness of the Ozempic that has made it the numero uno choice for celebrities. A clinical trial conducted on 1961 adults by The New England Journal of Medicine found that a weekly dosage of subcutaneous semaglutide resulted in a 15% decrease in body weight. However, it should be stated that the research was funded by Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of both Ozempic and Wegovy.
Novo Nordisk holds the lion’s share of the market, but there’s a new competition in the town for them. Eli Lilly, the American pharma giant, claims that their latest offering Mounjaoro helps in reducing almost a quarter of one’s body weight. Just like Ozempic or Wegovy, Mounjaoro is a GLP-1 agonist. NBA star Charles Barkley revealed that he lost 60 lbs in six months after taking Mounjaro, generically known as tirzepatide. “My doctor, she is amazing. I know a lot of people take Ozempic, but my doctor prefers Mounjaro,” said Barkley on Dan Patrick Show.
Should You Take Ozempic To Lose Weight?
When stars like Musk, Schumer and Oprah Winfrey revel in the success that taking Ozempic brought, it’s easy to get lured. Even common people have found immediate success in their weight-loss journey. #OzempicJourney on Instagram has thousands of posts from people across the world sharing their success story injecting the Ozempic. Down almost 43 pounds and this is the best I’ve felt in a two-piece ever,” writes one user. Mez Christou from Australia writes, “5 months on Ozempic and I am seeing the difference… 18 Kilos down and going!!! starting weight 139 kilos current weight 121 kilos..”
Should you try it or go down the conventional route? Avinash Mansukhani, the body recomposition and transformation specialist, says he wouldn’t go down the semaglutide route yet. “There’s not enough research on this drug, and so we don’t really know what exactly is going down with it. If you can lose weight by conventional way of working out and manipulating input in your body, without having to use stress hormone, that’s what I’d recommend,” he says.
Mansukhani’s skepticism isn’t unfounded. As the popularity of the drug grows at an unprecedented rate, there are more stories of potential side effects coming out. “Since Ozempic works on your pancreas by decreasing glucaogon and promting insulin secretion, it puts pressure on our pancreas, and it may cause pancreatitis, “explains Batra, who runs the diet clinic in Gurgaon, adding that there’s also a possibility of getting thyroid cancer.
Some have also experienced drastic change in their facial feature, especially the sagging of skin which makes you look older. Batra says, “Any drug that promises instant weight loss by reducing your appetite is not taking care of nutrient intake. The skin sagging happens because of protein deficiency.” Moreover, chances are you’ll regain the weight once you stop taking semaglutide.
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