2023 is the year of Ozempic. The FDA first approved Ozempic, a semaglutide medication from Novo Nordisk, back in 2017, but the drug went mainstream in 2022.1 And by April of 2023 it had reached household recognition status. The court of public opinion regarding Semaglutide remains split, with one camp celebrating its potential to overall health and quality of life, and the other skeptical of expediting the weight loss process.
It’s safe to assume public interest in semaglutide for weight loss will only increase in the coming months, which means it’s crucial to dispel the false beliefs that are swirling around the edges of cultural conversation on Semaglutide and the new era of weight loss we have entered.
Before we separate the fact from the fiction, let’s define semaglutide.
Semaglutide is the generic version of a FDA-approved drug that mimics the digestive hormone GLP-1. As a naturally occurring hormone, GLP-1 is released into the intestines and influences three major components of eating and digestion.
Appetite GLP-1 receptors in the hypothalamus suppress appetite.
Satiety GLP-1 receptors in the stomach regulate satiety by slowing down digestion.
Blood sugar GLP-1 receptors in the pancreas promote the production of insulin to regulate blood sugar.
When semaglutide is injected into the body it boosts the work GLP-1 is already enacting in the brain, stomach, and pancreas.
Semaglutide can only help people with diabetes.
Semaglutide helps people with diabetes manage their weight and blood sugar, and helps people without diabetes manage their weight.
Yes, semaglutide was developed, first and foremost, as a tool to help diabetes patients regulate their blood sugar. However, as more research emerged, the consistent weight management results across for people without diabetes were too consistent and powerful to ignore.2
Semaglutide always causes gastrointestinal pain.
Semaglutide may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, but this varies from person to person.
Studies do show that semaglutide may increase the chances of nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and constipation in comparison to placebo participants.3 But 99.5% of these cases were reported as non-serious and 98% as mild-to-moderate. It’s also necessary to note that uncomfortable GI side effects are typically most prevalent shortly after patients escalate their dosages.
Stopping semaglutide leads to weight gain.
Stopping semaglutide does not always lead to weight gain—especially when patients continue lifestyle modifications.
Some patients experience rebound weight after stopping Semaglutide.4 Metabolic doctors and researchers note that many patients experience a surge in cravings after stopping medication, because they no longer have the added support of semaglutide in regulating their cravings and appetite. However, lifestyle modifications like exercise and practicing mindfulness while eating can not only help patients maintain their weight, but also improve their relationship with food in general.
It is unsafe to stay on semaglutide forever.
More research is needed to determine how optimal long-term usage is.
There are some debates around the long-term safety of semaglutide use as some studies conducted with rodents have found correlations with thyroid cancer.5 However, more research needs to be conducted to determine whether these risks may also be prevalent in humans.
Interest in semaglutide and Ozempic for weight loss is not showing any signs of slowing down, and more people are searching for ways to find Ozempic online. As it becomes easier to access GLP-1 medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro it’s important to remember that taking new medications that can significantly impact your hormones should always be done under the guidance of a doctor.
Hudson’s Medical Weight Management Program not only includes ongoing medical consultations, but also gives you access to 1:1 sessions with our registered nutritionist to help you implement lifestyle changes that support the effects of Semaglutide.
Contact email@example.com today to learn more about our Semaglutide Weight Management program.
1.“Ozempic (SEMAGLUTIDE) FDA Approval History.” Drugs.com, https://www.drugs.com/history/ozempic.html.
2. Rubino DM, Greenway FL, Khalid U, et al. Effect of Weekly Subcutaneous Semaglutide vs Daily Liraglutide on Body Weight in Adults With Overweight or Obesity Without Diabetes: The STEP 8 Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2022;327(2):138–150. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.23619
3.(Wharton, S, Calanna, S, Davies, M, et al. Gastrointestinal tolerability of once-weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg in adults with overweight or obesity, and the relationship between gastrointestinal adverse events and weight loss. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2022; 24( 1): 94- 105. doi:10.1111/dom.14551)
4.Blum, Dani. “Ozempic Can Cause Major Weight Loss. What Happens If You Stop Taking It?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 3 Feb. 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/03/well/live/ozempic-wegovy-weight-loss.html.
5.Smits MM, Van Raalte DH. Safety of Semaglutide. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Jul 7;12:645563. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2021.645563. Erratum in: Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2021 Nov 10;12:786732. PMID: 34305810; PMCID: PMC8294388.