“I wonder if it’s worth it?”: TikTok’s “miracle” for losing weight

Gone are the days of green juice and lemon water: TikTok has a new weight loss craze. Instead of 24/7 willpower and self-control, this fat-melting “miracle” will quell your cravings and change your attitude towards food.

People can’t get enough of this “miracle drug”. The hashtag has amassed over 260 million views on TikTok and has been endorsed by celebrities and influencers alike. But is it safe?

How does Ozempic work?

Ozempic is an injectable prescription drug used to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. It is based on a naturally occurring human hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), which plays an important role in regulating appetite and blood sugar levels.

The active substance in Ozempic is a molecule called semaglutide, which acts as a GLP-1 agonist. In other words, it mimics the structure of GLP-1 and activates its receptors.

Ozempic diabetes drug
Stock image of a man preparing an Ozempic injection. Ozempic is used by diabetics to control blood sugar.
imyskin/Getty

“GLP-1 receptor agonists induce satiety and delay gastric emptying,” said Dr. Andres Acosta, Founder of Phenomix Sciences and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic news week. “Both are important in reducing food intake. Basically you eat less.”

Studies have shown that people who are obese are often less sensitive to the hormones that make us feel full. But by slowing stomach emptying, drugs like Ozempic can restore fullness in these patients.

Ozempic side effects

Sister Emma, ​​a TikTok influencer who has been using Ozempic for three months, has lost over 10 pounds since September. “For the first time — it feels like this in my life — I know what it feels like to be full,” she said. “I can look at the plate in front of me and know that my needs have been met. It’s liberating.”

Megan O’Lena, who created a TikTok account in July to document her Ozempic journey, said she was surprised at how effective the drug was.

“I knew it would reduce my appetite and help balance my blood sugar and hormones,” she said. “I didn’t realize how much it would help reduce my cravings and get me bingeing. I’m actually almost a coffee aversion right now, and I’m a coffee fanatic.”

Before starting Ozempic, O’Lena said she tried everything but surgery. “I’ve used multiple apps to track calories and macros. I’ve eaten Atkins, Paleo, Whole30, Keto, intermittent fasting… I’ve done yoga and Pilates. I was training for a 10K and running it, I was lifting heavy. I even have a minor in human nutrition as part of my undergraduate degree,” she said.

From July to October, O’Lena lost 25 pounds.

Madison Peoples had a similar experience. “It was the only thing that successfully helped me lose weight,” she said.

However, like most drugs, Ozempic has its downsides.

“The side effects that I experienced were not very pleasant,” Emma said. “I tend to have the worst symptoms in the first 24 to 48 hours after an injection. I have stomach irritation. It can best be described as similar to gastroenteritis. I have visceral pain, hyperactive bowel and diarrhea heartburn and uncontrollable belching… It’s really embarrassing.”

Emma said her symptoms got worse with each dose increase. “It has started to affect my life and work. There were nights I was kept awake by pacing back and forth to the bathroom, applying warm compresses and pressure to my abdomen in hopes of relief. Some days it’s almost impossible to drink water. It’s just not something my body can get down.

“Exercise has been on the back burner as my symptoms are affecting my ability to carry out physical activities with confidence. I find myself asking the question, is it worth it?” said Emma.

@hug.emmaa

@Nurse Emma I want to be open and honest about this drug. As you increase the doses, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep going. I knew it was going to be difficult to deal with. I wanted to put in the work, I was never guaranteed results. I find it difficult to reconcile everything. With the side effects I’m experiencing, it makes it even harder. I want to exercise, eat all the fruit and drink all the water. But if my body rejects everything and constantly drains my energy, is it worth it? Did I gain weight too fast? Should I just give him time? What I’ve really loved about this experience so far is the confidence. I’ve learned so much about my body’s needs. I also learned so much about my own food trauma. It’s very strange. My weight loss has stalled. But I also work more and sleep less. I’m stressed, depressed and just not at my best. Could this be a side effect or just my environment? #ozempic #diet culture #lose weight #bodypositive #bopo #health #goals #reflection #realization #balance #Mittelstand #struggle #mentalhealth #side effects

♬ Get the moon – Kina

Acosta said these symptoms are not uncommon.

“Their most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea,” he said. “Less common side effects include the risk of hypoglycemia in patients with diabetes who are taking other antidiabetes medications. In addition, patients with a history or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or a rare condition called multiple endocrine neoplasia 2 should not take these drugs.”

fat weight loss
Stock image of a woman exercising to lose weight. Ozempic is effective for weight loss but has side effects.
PORNCHAI SODA/Getty

Not everyone has these symptoms, and TikToker Jazmyn Lin reported that she had “zero side effects.”

Ozempic was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use in treating diabetes in 2017, but it has not yet been approved for weight loss. However, his sister drug Wegovy does.

Wegovy vs Ozempic

“Both Ozempic and Wegovy are brand names for different doses of the injectable GLP-1 receptor agonist semaglutide,” said Dr. Rita Kalyani, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, at Johns Hopkins University.

The main difference is the dosage. “Ozempic is available in 0.5 milligram and 1 milligram weekly doses of semaglutide and is FDA-approved to improve glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes,” Kalyani said. “Wegovy is high-dose semaglutide, 2.4 milligrams weekly, and is approved for chronic weight management in obese or overweight individuals with or without diabetes.”

In 2021, the FDA approved Wegovy for weight management. “In the clinical trials, the primary outcome for high-dose semaglutide — brand name Wegovy — was weight loss in people with or without diabetes,” Kalyani said.

“In contrast, the primary outcome in clinical trials for semaglutide doses of 0.5 and 1 milligram weekly – brand name Ozempic – was a reduction in hemoglobin A1C [blood sugar] in people with type 2 diabetes,” she said.

In other words, the most significant result from the studies with Wegovy was weight loss, while the most significant result for Ozempic was blood sugar control.

The clinical studies cited by the FDA included 1,961 overweight or obese adults who received Wegovy injections once a week for 68 weeks, during which they lost 15 percent of their body weight.

Healthy diet weight loss
Stock image depicts exercise equipment and a healthy diet. These factors are also important if you’re hoping for healthy weight loss.
Chinanapong/Getty

“Both Ozempic and Wegovy represent different doses of semaglutide,” Kalyani said. “Greater weight loss is observed with Wegovy. However, it is important to note that side effects were also more common at higher doses and were seen in more people taking Wegovy compared to Ozempic in clinical trials.”

Naomi Owens said she was only on Wegovy for two months. In that time she lost 30 pounds. “My doctor discussed the side effects with me before I started,” she said. “I had diarrhea for the first week and then nothing.

“The best thing about the drug is that I only have to take it once a week and it has worked without my being overly aware of the drug. No nervousness or trouble sleeping. I just felt normal, with a decreased appetite,” she said.

Wegovy has its supporters, perhaps most notably Elon Musk: #Ozempic has nearly 175 million more views on TikTok than #Wegovy. That popularity is largely down to cost: without insurance, a 28-day supply of Wegovy costs $1,350, compared to $892 for Ozempic.

But while Ozempic is still effective for weight loss, demand for it has outstripped supply, and people with type 2 diabetes are struggling to access this life-saving drug.

The FDA has listed both Ozempic and Wegovy as in short supply, and switching to a new drug may not be easy for many patients. For example, alternative medications may not be included in the patient’s insurance plan.

The price also prevents Wegovy from being a long-term option for most users. Therefore, healthy lifestyle habits and calorie control are also important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Weight loss medications are constantly evolving and are an effective weight loss intervention for many people. But they are not a silver bullet, and the medications are not for everyone.

“It’s an amazing option for those struggling with obesity,” Emma said. “If it’s not right for you in the end, there’s nothing to force you to keep going. There’s more to life than your waistband.”

https://www.newsweek.com/newsweek-com-asking-worth-it-tiktok-weight-loss-miracle-wegovy-ozempic-1764230 “I wonder if it’s worth it?”: TikTok’s “miracle” for losing weight

Rick Schindler

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