Today we're going to discuss Ozempic for weight loss. Is it the ultimate holy grail or a risky gamble? Are celebrities and people living with obesity who use injections for weight loss just being lazy? Let's talk about it. Obesity is a very serious medical condition and it's quite prevalent. In the United States, 70% of adults are either living with obesity or are overweight, which makes America one of the heaviest nations in the world. If you are living with obesity you are at increased risk for heart disease, strokes, diabetes, a fatty liver, and even some forms of cancer. So you see, obesity is not just about a look, it's about your life. But what can you do about it?
Are Ozempic Injections the Secret to Fast Weight Loss?
We've long known that implementing a healthy diet and exercise can be used to treat obesity, and this is still true, but now we have these revolutionary injections which have been proven to cause significant weight loss as well as to improve other health conditions. But are these injections safe? Is using injections for weight loss a good idea for you? Want to know what I think? Keep reading.
I'm Dr. Frita, an MD who has been triple board certified and today we're going to discuss Ozempic for weight loss and other injections. So Semaglutide or Ozempic, as well as Mounjaro or Tirzepatide, are injections that were first studied for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type two. But in these studies, these injections were found to cause so much significant weight loss that they have now become wildly popular for weight loss.
In this article, we'll talk about some of the controversies. A lot of celebrities are using these injections as well as people living with obesity and so the question is, are they just being greedy and lazy, or should people living with obesity or who are overweight use these injections? I'll break down specifically Ozempic or Semaglutide, I'll talk about what Semaglutide or Ozempic is and how it works, and I'll discuss the significance of Semaglutide when it comes to weight loss. I'll also break down some of the studies, and clinical trials to make it make sense. And then we'll talk about the risk factors. We'll talk about some of the dangers and the potential complications. Lastly, I'll let you know what I think. Should injections be used for weight loss?
What Is Ozempic or Semaglutide?
Ozempic and Wegovy are actually the same drug, Semaglutide. The difference is that Ozempic has been FDA-approved for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type two, even though physicians can also prescribe it for weight loss. Wegovy has been specifically FDA-approved for weight loss, but they're both Semaglutide. So here's how Semaglutide works. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 agonist, a glucagon-like peptide one agonist.
GLP-1 is something that we actually make in our bodies, we make it in our intestines, and it sends signals to the brain and it blocks hunger and it can block certain cravings. So if you take these injections it will decrease your cravings for certain foods and it can even decrease your cravings for alcohol or cigarettes. So it blocks hunger signals and some craving signals.
How GLP-1 Agonists/Semaglutide Work
The GLP-1 agonists, or Semaglutide, also work on the gut. It makes you stay full for longer by decreasing gastric emptying. So normally when you eat food, it goes through your stomach and then through your intestines at a certain speed. But when you take these injections, like Semaglutide, it actually slows down the time it takes for your stomach to empty so you're full for longer and of course, if you're full for longer you're going to eat less. Another thing that Semaglutide does is that it tells your pancreas to make more insulin when you have high blood sugar.
So for patients who have diabetes mellitus type two and high blood sugar, the Semaglutide is going to stimulate more insulin to be made so the blood sugar can come down to normal levels. So again, Semaglutide was originally studied for diabetes mellitus type two, but in the studies, they found that patients had so much weight loss when compared to people who were not on the Ozempic that it started being popular for that.
In fact, that's where the Wegovy became about. Again, Wegovy and Ozempic are really the same drug, Semaglutide, but Wegovy was specifically studied for weight loss and it was studied largely in patients who did not have diabetes.
The Wegovy Trial and What It Means For Weight Loss
There were several arms of the Wegovy trial but let me just break it down a little bit so that you understand how we came to have Wegovy or the form of Semaglutide that's actually approved for weight loss. In the Wegovy trial, the trial that studied Semaglutide specifically for weight loss, in one of the arms there were 1,961 patients who did not have diabetes. This was studied for weight loss. The patients did have to be living with obesity so they had to have a BMI of 30 or greater or they could have a BMI of 27 or greater if they had another comorbidity like high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
They randomized these patients so some got the Wegovy/Semaglutide, and others got the placebo. After 68 weeks, they found that the patients who were actually on the Wegovy/Semaglutide lost 14.9% of their body weight as compared to the patients who were just on a placebo. They only lost 2.4% of their body weight. So you had a very clinically significant weight loss and hence now we have the forms of Wegovy/Semaglutide that have been approved for weight loss.
Side Effects Of Using Ozempic For Weight Loss
Some common side effects include nausea, abdominal bloating, flatulence or passing gas, also dyspepsia, which is a kind of upset stomach. Some patients can also get diarrhea or constipation. Some of the more serious potential side effects include pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas as well as gallstones or cholelithiasis, or even cholecystitis, which is when the gallbladder is actually inflamed.
There have been some other reports of patients taking these weight loss injections getting malnutrition or even getting something called Ozempic face or Ozempic butt, we're going to discuss that later in this article. One of the very serious potential complications is thyroid cancer. In some of studies with mice, they found that there was an increased risk for thyroid cancer. So if you are a person with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or MEN2 in your family then you are not to take Semaglutide.
Also, if you've had a hypersensitivity reaction such as an allergic reaction to anything with Semaglutide, then you shouldn't take it. So back to the side effects. The nausea, bloating, and diarrhea, are more common side effects of using Ozempic/Semaglutide. The good thing is that when you're taking the Semaglutide under the direction of a physician these things can be managed. Sometimes if you're getting nausea, that could mean that the dose needs to be decreased or perhaps the dose needs to be spaced out instead of taking it every week. Maybe you need to take it every two weeks. Instead of taking the 2.4-milligram dose, maybe you need a decreased dose.
Nausea and some of the abdominal symptoms are not life-threatening and these are symptoms that can be managed when taken under the direction of a physician.
Serious Side Effects Of Using Ozempic/Semaglutide For Weight Loss
People keep saying that you can get malnutrition from taking weight loss shots. Is it possible? It's possible, but very preventable. Is it possible to be overweight or living with obesity and still have malnutrition? Yes, and you could get decreased muscle mass. When you take these medications, a lot of times it will cut your appetite to the point where you may not want to eat. You may have zero appetite and you may not drink enough, you may not eat enough, and you may not take in enough protein. That's why you have to be taking these drugs under the care of a physician because you should be getting at least 1000 to 1,500 calories a day in most cases and it's very important that you have the proper protein intake. If you're following those instructions then you are not likely to have malnutrition.
Another potential complication in taking these weight loss injections is gallbladder disease. You can get gallstones or an inflamed gallbladder when you take Ozempic/Semaglutide. The main reason that this happens is primarily because of excessively rapid weight loss. And so this is another reason why it's important to use these injections under the supervision of your physician. Your physician can give you the proper dietary counseling, and fluid intake counseling so that you don't lose weight too rapidly. This can help to decrease the risk of gallbladder disease.
Another potential complication or side effect is kidney stones. And the biggest risk for kidney stones is dehydration. When you're taking Ozempic/Semaglutide or other injections for weight loss, not only are the receptors in your brain blocking the hunger signals, but they're also blocking the thirst signals and a lot of patients become dehydrated. Being dehydrated can put you at high risk for kidney stones, so you want to make sure that, again, you're under the supervision of your physician and that you're getting the proper fluid intake. Be sure to watch my video on the importance of water intake for preventing kidney disease after you finish reading this article.
Ozempic Face and Ozempic Butt
Now, I want to talk about Ozempic face and Ozempic butt. If you're taking the Semaglutide and you're not getting enough protein in your diet then you can get sagging skin because you need protein in order to have your collagen and your elastin production. So if you're taking Semaglutide or other weight loss injections, like the Mounjaro, Tirzepatide, or the Wegovy, under the direction of your physician and a registered dietician then you can get enough protein intake and that can help to prevent having this Ozempic face, this sunken face and the Ozempic sagging bottom and the sagging skin. But let's just talk for a moment. Ozempic face, is it a possibility? Sure. Ozempic butt, is it a possibility? Sure. But you know what else you can get? You can get Ozempic blood work. If you're taking these injections and you are someone who's been living with obesity the Ozempic blood work you can get will be improved blood sugar and improved cholesterol.
You can get Ozempic body composition, meaning if you're taking the weight loss injection it can help you to have a decreased abdominal or visceral fat, it can help you have a decreased body fat. You can also get Ozempic knees, meaning if you were living with obesity before, but now you've lost significant weight you can have an improvement of your arthritis which can help you move more and have a better quality of life and exercise more so that you can continue to maintain the reduced weight.
You can also get an Ozempic liver, meaning that if you had fatty liver due to living with obesity, if you lose the weight you can have an improvement in that fatty liver. You can get an Ozempic heart, meaning that you have a decreased risk for heart disease after achieving a healthy weight.
My point is, there are a lot of people talking about some of the superficial things, like Ozempic face and Ozempic butt, again, with proper protein intake and being under the guidance of your physician that could help you to prevent these things. But you also have to look at the serious health complications caused by being a person living with obesity that can be improved if you're using these weight loss injections. I cannot stress enough that if you are going to use weight loss injections like the Ozempic, Wegovy, or the Mounjaro, it's very important that you do it under the supervision of a physician.
I mentioned some of the reasons, helping to prevent some of the potential side effects and dangers, and also once you start taking these weight loss injections, if you're on medications, they may have to be adjusted. If you're out there using these injections and you've ordered it online, your buddy is giving it to you, or you went and grabbed it on some kind of a black market, you won't know how to adjust your medications properly and that could be dangerous. For example, if you're on blood pressure medications and you're using the injections for weight loss, as you lose weight you will likely need fewer blood pressure medications.
Same thing for thyroid medications. Thyroid medications are weight based so if you're losing weight you'll need fewer thyroid medications. If you are a lady who's on birth control, these injections can change the way you absorb your birth control and so you'll need a physician to help to guide you on alternatives or adjustments in doses. So again, if you're going to use these injections for weight loss you must do it under the supervision of a physician.
My Take On These Injections To Lose Weight
So now I've told you what these weight loss injections are and I talked about how the Semaglutide/Ozempic work. We've also talked about the side effects, the dangers, and why it's important to have a physician, but what do I think? Should people use injections for weight loss? Are people who are living with obesity just being lazy? Is it something that should only be reserved for people using it for diabetes? Well, here's what I think. Most definitely, patients with diabetes mellitus type two, if your physician has recommended it, if it's something that's safe for you, yes. That's what the Semaglutide was originally studied for, diabetes patients, so, yes, use it.
But here's the other thing. If you're living with obesity or if you are overweight and you have other comorbidities like high blood pressure, that is a chronic medical health condition that is very serious. If you're living with obesity it can shorten your life expectancy, give you heart disease, and put you at risk for diabetes, and strokes, it is life-threatening.
So do I think, if we have medication like these injections (Semaglutide and Tirzepatide) with medications that are safe where the benefits outweigh the risks, should people living with obesity use them? If you've consulted with your physician, in addition to having a healthy diet and exercise, if this is the thing that's going to help you to get a healthy weight and live a longer life and a better quality of life, then yes, I don't see a problem with using injections for weight loss.
I don't find it to be lazy, because if we're honest with ourselves, we're all built differently. We have different genetics and it's really amazing when I see people who are pretty thin or who don't have a hard time with weight, and they say, "Oh, just exercise and diet," but some people have been struggling with their weight for their entire lives, or they're trying to exercise or they're trying to diet, do we just let these people live with obesity indefinitely until they don't live? Or if we have something that's safe, in addition to exercise, in addition to a healthy diet, should we provide it? I think yes.
Any time you are considering a medication you must consult with your physician and take the medication under the supervision of your physician. Weigh out the pros and cons for you. See if there are different types of diets or try a change in what you eat. See if there are different exercise programs that may work for you. But, if you and your doctor decide that taking a weight loss injection is something that can be helpful and prolong your life, and if you and your doctor decide that the benefits outweigh the risks, I don't see a problem with it.
Now remember, what I'm giving you is information, and what I say does not replace the advice of your actual physician, but hey, that's where I stand on it. If you found the information in this article about Ozempic for weight loss to be helpful and informative, be sure to share it with the people you care about. As always, I want you to do your best to live your healthiest, happiest life.