It's a miracle drug for weight loss—or is it?
Semaglutide and tirzepatide, two diabetes medications, have shocked the medical community by not only preventing some endocrine disorders but also by demonstrating promising signs of appetite control, increased insulin sensitivity, and, with both, weight loss. However, the miraculous outcomes of the popular on TikTok Ozempic injections are not without a price.
"I spoke with some dermatologists about this yesterday," Dr. Siegel said of a bizarre side effect reported in Ozempic patients who claim the drug is making them look older, or "Ozempic face." "It's an overuse of the drug to where you lose weight too quickly. The buccal mucosa – the fat – leaves your face, and you become gaunt looking."
Due to its alleged multitude of benefits, TikTok turned semaglutide injections like Ozempic into the newest weight loss craze, leading to ongoing shortages and igniting discussion about whether patients should have off-label access to the medication.
Celebrities joined the craze and publicly discussed its use, resulting in a worrisome recipe for ongoing shortages.
The FDA approved Wegovy, a more potent semaglutide injection and glucagon-like peptide agonist (GLP-1 agonist) for long-term weight loss, after the well-known medication earned a name in the weight loss community.
After demand for the drug skyrocketed last year, there were shortages as well.
Experts have cautioned that the medications can result in other, more serious side effects, such as an increased risk for rare forms of thyroid tumors, vision changes, kidney problems, and gallbladder problems, in addition to concerns over "Ozempic face" and the allegedly older appearance it causes.
Rapid weight loss may result in gallbladder problems, metabolic problems, and hormonal imbalances, all of which are health risks.