Ozempic Side Effects and Why People Are Using Diabetes Drugs for Weight Loss

We discuss potential Ozempic side effects and the new trend of using diabetes pharmaceutical drugs for weight loss.

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Ozempic and Wegovy

Weight Gain in America

Many Americans struggle every day with obesity. According to the National Institutes of Health, more than two in five adults (42.4%) have obesity, while one in eleven adults (9.2%) have severe obesity. As people continue to find new and creative ways to deal with their challenges, a surprising development has emerged within the weight loss space. Some are repurposing certain diabetes drugs to help lose the extra weight. While this off-label use has shown promise in shedding pounds, for some, it comes with an unsettling revelation: severe side effects that can be life-threatening. In this blog we dive into this trend and discuss the serious risks associated with using drugs like Ozempic or Wegovy.

Diabetes Drugs and Weight Loss

With the increase in news coverage and celebrity usage, many Americans have started repurposing diabetes drugs used to manage blood sugar levels to help with their weight loss. These drugs are mainly produced by pharmaceutical companies Novo Nordisk (created Ozempic and Wegovy) and Eli Lilly (created Mounjaro). They work by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1. When GLP-1 is released, insulin is then excreted from the pancreas. This causes the brain to determine that your body is full. It also slows digestion by increasing the time it takes for food to leave the body. This is similar to the effect of bariatric surgery (ie. gastric bypass).

Ozempic Side Effects

Some users of this method of weight loss have shared success stories, which increases the demand to try products like Ozempic or Wegovy. However, as of September 28, 2023 the FDA has updated the warning labels to include warnings about a rare intestinal blockage condition called ileus – a potentially life-threatening complication. In addition, the FDA has revealed an ongoing investigation into patient reports of suicidal thoughts and hair loss linked to these blood sugar-modulating products, casting a grim shadow over their potential benefits.

severe side effects

Suicidal Thoughts Not as Big of a Risk

In collaboration with Case Western Reserve University, the NIH conducted a comprehensive analysis spanning from 2017 to 2022, examining patients using semaglutide or an alternative drug for treating obesity or diabetes. The study encompassed approximately 240,000 patients treated for obesity or being overweight and nearly 1.6 million patients treated for diabetes. Contrary to initial concerns, the results unveiled a surprising revelation.

During a six-month follow-up period, individuals administered semaglutide, the active component in both Ozempic and Wegovy. These drugs demonstrated a 49% to 73% lower risk of experiencing first-time or recurring suicidal thoughts compared to those using an alternative drug for these medical conditions. Dr. Rong Xu, a co-author from Case Western, acknowledged that diabetes and obesity are independent risk factors for suicidal thoughts. He underscored that the research was not designed to establish a causal relationship between GLP-1 drugs and reduced suicidal thoughts but rather aims to illuminate the relative safety of semaglutide in this context. Bare in mind this study was with those who had diabetes and not with individuals who were using the drug just for weight loss.

More Studies are Needed

As we continue to study more reports and new findings, it’s evident that the link between diabetes drugs, weight loss, and severe side effects is a complex and contentious issue. The call for caution and informed decision-making is louder than ever, with the need for further research, transparency, and regulatory measures to ensure the safety of those seeking solutions to the pressing challenges of obesity and diabetes. In this delicate balance between benefits and risks, one thing remains clear – the journey towards a healthier future demands a nuanced approach and ongoing scrutiny.

Product liability injuries can be life-altering, but as a consumer, you have rights and legal recourse to help ease your burden. Understanding the basics, your rights, and the legal process is crucial to protect yourself and seek justice when injured by a defective product. If you’ve experienced a product liability injury, don’t hesitate to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your options.

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