Don’t envy celebrities who use Ozempic for weight loss – here are 8 bad side effects

For years we’ve been hearing about magical slimming products that promise to melt the pounds off. Some are far-fetched, some are so dangerous they’re illegal, and some have come under the spotlight – most recently Ozempic and WeGovy. Originally intended to treat diabetes, these drugs are now prescribed, often through Telehealth, to people who want to lose weight. And it all started in Hollywood.

Variety reports that Ozempic and WeGovy have taken the industry by storm and everyone from reality stars to movie producers to actors have tried them. (Chelsea Handler said her doctor prescribed her Ozempic — without explaining what it was — in case she wanted to lose five pounds. Elon Musk tweeted (that WeGovy helps him look fit and well-groomed.) Because many health insurance companies refuse to cover the cost (about $1,200 to $1,500 a month) for anyone who doesn’t have diabetes, only the wealthy can afford the injections. However, the average consumer should be far from envious of celebrities who can work their way through weight loss – because these drugs have some potentially serious side effects.

How Ozempic and WeGovy work

Ozempic and WeGovy both have the same active ingredient: semaglutide. It comes as a solution that is injected into the stomach once a week and works by stimulating the release of insulin. The drug also suppresses the secretion of glucagon (a hormone produced by the pancreas that raises blood glucose levels) – but only if blood glucose levels are already elevated. This reduces the risk of hypoglycaemia (very low blood sugar). Finally, semaglutide slows down digestion, making the patient feel full for longer. All this can translate into a major weight loss.

Negative side effects of semaglutide

While some users believe that semaglutide is one of the best ways to kick-start a healthy lifestyle, health experts warn that the drug has some serious side effects, which are listed below.

  • Nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn, diarrhea or vomiting

  • Rash, itching, swelling of the eyes, face, mouth, tongue, throat, legs, ankles or feet

  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

  • Decreased urination

  • Changes in vision, fainting or dizziness

  • High heart rate

  • You may regain some or all of your weight when you stop taking the drug

  • Your blood sugar may drop too far if you take this drug with other blood sugar lowering medications

In addition, some users of semaglutide have developed serious kidney problems, including acute kidney injury. Symptoms include bloody urine, reduced urination, muscle twitching, nausea, rapid weight gain, and seizures. You should not use semaglutide if you have a history of thyroid cancer or pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas).

It boils down

If you’re curious about using generic semaglutide, Ozempic, or WeGovy for weight loss, talk to your doctor — and not just a Telehealth doctor. There’s a good chance it’s more trouble than it’s worth, depending on your health and the possible side effects. In addition, the drug’s sudden popularity makes it difficult for people with severe diabetes to meet their prescriptions. (Although even some pre-diabetic and diabetic patients who have taken the drug report it’s not worth the risks.) Finally, weight-loss drugs reinforce the “lean is ideal” mentality — something experts fear is harmful to people suffering from or recovering from eating disorders.

You’re more than just a number on a scale – don’t let Hollywood fool you otherwise.

If you or a loved one suffers from an eating disorder, the National Eating Disorders Association has a toll-free helpline available at 1-800-931-2237 or via text at 1-800-931-2237.

This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your doctor before following any treatment plan.

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