From Side Effect to Selling Point: The Curious Case of Ozempic Drug

From Side Effect to Selling Point: The Curious Case of Ozempic Drug | The Lifesciences Magazine

If you are a diabetic patient, you must have heard about a diabetes drug called semaglutide, briefly known as Ozempic Drug. The drug has been grabbing headlines of late due to its shortage. While we can attribute this shortage to the increased demand for the drug, there are several other reasons affecting the supply of the drug.

You will be surprised to know that people without diabetes consuming Ozempic is one of the major reasons behind the increased demand and insufficient supply of the drug currently. In this blog, we’ll shed light upon how this diabetes drug became a weight loss formula.

The Rise of Ozempic, the Diabetes Drug

In 2017, FDI approved Ozempic as the medication to help people with type 2 diabetes to keep their blood sugar in check. However, during the pre-approval research, scientists noticed a strange side effect of the drug. It was people losing weight. For instance, a study showed that people who consumed one milligram of Ozempic Drug a week lost approximately 10 pounds over 30 weeks and almost 5% of overall body weight. Additionally, their waist size also shrank by 1.6 inches.

Since obesity was a significant risk for people with type 2 diabetes, this side effect helped people. Weight loss can eventually help reduce blood pressure and blood sugar as well as the need for other diabetes medications.  

Transition to a Weight-loss Formula

From Side Effect to Selling Point: The Curious Case of Ozempic Drug | The Lifesciences Magazine

Usually, experts consider unplanned weight loss a side effect of medication under study. However, the advertisements for Ozempic didn’t showcase weight loss under the side effects. Instead, they featured it as one of the benefits of the drug. The marketers promoted a phrase called the ‘Ozempic Tri-Zone’ that lowers blood sugar by working in 3 ways.

Soon, the makers recognized that Ozempic can be marketed as a weight loss drug for non-diabetic people. Some trials also confirmed that overweight people consuming the drug saw a substantial loss in their weight. In 2021, FDA approved Ozempic as a drug for obese people (with a BMI of 30 or greater) or overweight people (with a BMI between 27 and 29.9).

The drug was also recommended for people who faced medical issues due to excess weight. The drug was soon rebranded as Wegovy. The only major difference between Ozempic Drug and Wegovy is that the latter has a higher percentage of semaglutide.

The “Social Media Hype”

As soon as Wegovy got approval, social media influencers and celebrities started consuming it and sharing their weight loss experiences with people. Additionally, medicines that are approved for specific use by the FDA can be prescribed off-label. Thus, it is possible that people who wanted to lose weight but did not have any medical reasons fueled the rising demand for Wegovy.

From Side Effect to Selling Point: The Curious Case of Ozempic Drug | The Lifesciences Magazine

This constantly increasing demand for Wegovy wasn’t met by sufficient supply and as a result, people started consuming Ozempic to lose weight. This, in turn, resulted in a shortage of Ozempic. The shortage is also a scare for the health of people who are dependent on the drug.

What could be done?

While it is easy to blame doctors and medical experts who are prescribing Ozempic to non-diabetic patients, awareness among people about excessive drug usage is also required. Considering the fact that Ozempic is one of the extremely essential drugs for type 2 diabetes, the government can consider limiting the usage of the drug only to diabetic patients. People, on the other hand, can also try other weight loss methods instead of running after a drug which is critical for other diseases.

Don’t go for shortcuts. There are thousands of other ways to lose weight, give them a try too!

Also read: Why to Cut Sugar for Better Gut Health?

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