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HomeHEALTHWhat happens to your body in Ozempi? -Health

What happens to your body in Ozempi? -Health

The drug, sold under the brand names semglutide, Ozempic and Wegovi, has become a national talking point.

The current buzz around semaglutide stems largely from its off-label use for weight loss. Celebrities and influencers have been noted to use these expensive drugs in an attempt to slim down. This use seriously deviates from the intended purpose of the drug.

“These drugs are not intended to provide a quick fix and should not be used only for appearance problems,” Amy Wariner, MDsaid health. Warner is a professor of medicine and director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham Weight Loss Clinic.

The rise in popularity for weight loss not only causes side effects on people who take it to shed a few pounds, but that trend will make the drugs less available to people who need them for medical reasons. The Food and Drug Association Ozempic and Wegovi referred to the injection as “currently deficient”.

“People can go online, fill out a few questions, enter their BMI and co-occurring medical conditions, and if they’re willing to pay out of pocket, they can easily get semaglutide.” Jennifer Deren, MDsaid Vice President of Medical Care at Equip health.

Critically, the effects of these drugs on people without obesity or diabetes have not been studied. Furthermore, there is a tension between the potential benefits these drugs may provide and the potential negative consequences, including the development of an eating disorder.

“The act of restriction can trigger a person who is biologically vulnerable and lead to really unhealthy behaviors,” explains Dr. Deren, who specializes in eating disorder research and recovery.

Getty Images / Cellwell

Semaglutide is a synthetic version of a human hormone called glucagon-like peptide one or GLP-1. The natural version of this hormone is secreted in our gut and signals the body that we are full. Semaglutide is injected as a clear solution.

After injection, semaglutide increases insulin production and lowers blood sugar. As a result, the stomach empties more slowly, appetite decreases, and people feel full.

Semaglutide is sold under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovi. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ozempic as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Wegovy was approved in 2021 for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or overweight with at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure.

Ozempic may be beneficial for patients with type 2 diabetes because of its effects on blood sugar levels. When people have type 2 diabetes their bodies either don’t make enough insulin or don’t use it properly. This can lead to high blood sugar. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes; Some can control their high blood sugar levels with diet and exercise, while others need medication to manage it.

Wegovy is intended to be delivered alongside a low-calorie, low-fat diet, and exercise program. It slows the movement of food through the stomach, can reduce appetite and cause weight loss.

The most common adverse reactions to Ozempic are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation. Although patients are advised to speak with their doctor before discontinuing use, the FDA also states that people should stop semaglutide injection immediately and seek medical help if they have a severe allergic reaction.

Rarely, Ozempic can cause more serious side effects, including pancreatitis, vision changes, and severe allergic reactions.

Wegovi is associated with several common side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, headache, fatigue, dizziness, gas, belching, and low blood sugar. It can cause gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection, and gastroesophageal reflux disease, a digestive disorder. It has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis and is not recommended for people with gallbladder problems.

Wegovi also has warnings for suicidal behavior or thoughts.

The growing interest in semaglutide injections as a “quick fix” for weight loss “is giving me a bit of a pit in my stomach,” says Dr. Derren. She worries about potential eating disorders and the toxic desire to alter bodies for aesthetic—not health—reasons. Also, because these drugs can cause discomfort after meals, that can create a negative association with food, he added.

Before prescribing either Ozempic or Wegovir, Dr. Wariner tests patients with anorexia nervosa. He talks with patients about their goals, to make sure the goals they’re setting together are realistic. Also, non-drug-related lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise are preferred.

“We should not use these drugs without considering the potential for eating behavior and disordered eating,” says Dr. Warriner.

Because some people are identified as unhealthy based solely on their body mass index (BMI), Dr. Deren is also concerned that “these drugs run the risk of being overprescribed.” BMI is not a perfect measure of health.

Expectations surrounding semaglutide drug use can also lead to poor mental health. While some choose to use them because they want to feel happier and healthier, those changes aren’t guaranteed.

“I think sometimes people feel depressed and anxious because they put their hopes on it as a life-changing intervention, but they are still who they are and their relationships are still what they are,” explained Dr. Derren. “Weight loss alone doesn’t change everything.”

Semaglutide delays a process called gastric emptying.

“When you eat food, it stays in your stomach for a while but then it starts to push into your gut and move through your intestinal tract,” explains Dr. Derren.

Semaglutide alters this process and may cause individuals to feel full faster, stay fuller, and experience decreased appetite. For this reason its use can lead to weight loss.

In studies in people with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide has also been found to lower blood sugar.

There is little research on the use of Ozempic and Wegovir by people not prescribed these drugs for diabetes or obesity, so it is difficult to say what these drugs might do to those people, Dr. Warriner noted.

Since Wegovy has been on the market as an anti-obesity drug since 2021, there is some uncertainty about its long-term effects. So far, it seems that people’s bodies get used to the drugs over time, and “the longer a person uses these drugs, the stronger the effects start to decrease,” says Dr. Warriner.

Because the use of drugs for weight loss is so new, data on long-term effects are unavailable.

But Dr. Warriner said a better comparison might be liraglutide, another injectable drug used to treat type 2 diabetes. With liraglutide, patients “will have a more blunted, muted effect on appetite reduction and appetite satiety,” he explained.

Stopping semaglutide, like any drug, is not without its side effects. And, like many other weight loss methods, once a person stops Ozempic, they will likely gain the weight back.

In a 2022 study funded by Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovi, people who stopped taking semaglutide after 68 weeks of use regained two-thirds of their lost weight.

Meanwhile, these are “not drugs that our bodies become addicted to, there’s no significant withdrawal, and there’s no significant big rebound effect,” Dr. Wariner emphasized. Among his diabetic patients, Wariner also noticed a return of increased appetite over time.

Ultimately, the drugs are intended to be used consistently, as they benefit individuals with needs identified by their physicians. It is not intended to be used in short bursts like the month before an event.

“The goal is to improve overall health, reduce morbidity and mortality,” concluded Dr. Wariner. “There are a large number of people who could potentially benefit from a drug like semglutide.”



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