If you’ve looked into weight loss medications lately, chances are you’ve heard about Ozempic.
This injectable drug has exploded in popularity thanks to its ability to lower blood sugar and also reduce appetite and food cravings.
But is it too good to be true?
Let’s peel back the curtain on Ozempic and its common side effects.
Originally FDA approved to control blood sugar in type 2 diabetics, Ozempic (also called semaglutide) works by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1. This slows digestion, curbs hunger signals in the brain, and regulates insulin production.
Now it’s being prescribed off-label for weight management, sometimes called “diabesity.”
The weight loss results can seem remarkable.
In clinical trials, people lost an average 15% of their body weight over 16 months. Some dropped 30 to 50 pounds or more!
But this potency comes at a price.
Up to 20% of people experience significant stomach issues from Ozempic. Think nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.
These gastric effects tend to be worst when first starting treatment. But for some unfortunate folks, they never fully subside over time.
Additional common side effects include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, gas, acid reflux, gallstones and even pancreatitis. Because it alters blood sugar, there’s also an increased risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Many experts argue the benefits outweigh the risks given the obesity epidemic and related health issues like heart disease.
But others argue we just don’t have enough long term safety data yet, especially for non-diabetic patients taking Ozempic strictly for weight loss.
So should you try Ozempic?
Every body is different.
For some, the side effects fade after a few weeks and the weight loss results feel miraculous.
For others, the stomach issues make life utterly miserable.
It’s impossible to predict until you try it. So discuss honestly with your doctor about whether benefits could outweigh side effects for your unique situation.
If you do start Ozempic, give it at least 3 months if side effects are tolerable.
Stay hydrated, take anti-nausea meds as needed, and nibble frequent small meals.
Hopefully your body adjusts. But if side effects remain disruptive, consult your doctor about whether this medication is right for you long term.