Diabetes drug Ozempic: Dangerous diet hype about an injection

Status: 03/17/2023 08:42 a.m

Ozempic is actually intended for the treatment of diabetes. But because it curbs the appetite, celebrities also praise it as a dietary supplement – with dangerous consequences for those who urgently need the drug.

By Julia Kastein, ARD Studio Washington

Host Jimmy Kimmel begins Oscar night in Los Angeles with an inside joke. When he looks around, he asks himself: “Is Ozempic right for me too?” It is an allusion to the hype about a drug that is not only traded in Hollywood as a slimming miracle drug.

For the hashtag Ozempic, there are over three million clips on TikTok alone of people chasing their weekly depot injection with Ozempic, raving about weight loss successes or complaining about side effects. One comes from an interview by comedian Chelsea Chandler with the New York Post: “My anti-aging doctor prescribes this for anyone who wants it,” says the actress, who has also been taking it for a while.

Prescription drug from the Netherlands

Ozempic, manufactured by Dutch pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, is a prescription drug. It is approved in the USA and in Europe for the treatment of so-called adult-onset diabetes. It promotes the release of insulin in the body and ensures that you feel really full quickly, don’t get ravenous hunger attacks – and eat less.

According to studies, patients lose an average of 15 percent in weight. That is why it is now used by many doctors in the USA to treat adiposity – i.e. obesity. For example, by Caroline Apovian, Harvard professor and physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Speaking on NRP, she explains, “It’s a lifesaver for both diseases, diabetes and obesity. Obesity causes diabetes.”

Off-Label Prescribing Warnings

Obesity expert Andres Acosta from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, however, warns against the so-called off-label prescription – especially for people who just want to lose a little weight. They are not tested for this: “After all, we don’t even know what these drugs do to your body if you don’t have this disease.”

The most common side effects, Acosta explains, are nausea and vomiting, constipation, diarrhea and, rarely, pancreatitis. Ozempic also increases the risk of thyroid cancer, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A monthly dose costs around $1,000 without insurance.

Medicine is becoming scarce in the USA

According to US media reports, the run on Ozempic is now so great that diabetics like Scott have trouble getting hold of it in any pharmacy. At NPR, the 65-year-old vents his frustration: “I have to ask and beg for a drug that could save my life.”

Obesity researcher Acosta is much more concerned about another consequence of the Ozempic hype: copycat products that are already much cheaper to buy on the Internet, untested and untested: “It’s just a matter of until one of these preparations is contaminated with bacteria and a patient, because you inject it, then dies from an infection.” This puts the whole class of drugs at risk.

TikTok also has many critical clips on the subject. Celebrity Chandler has since discontinued the drug. Taking a drug for diabetics when you don’t really need it is not right.

Fashion drug Ozempic: Diabetes therapy as a slimmer

Julia Kastein, ARD Washington, March 16, 2023 10:09 p.m

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