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Riding the Ozempic weight-loss tsunami

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woman stepping onto a scale with measuring tape on the floorThe internet is exploding with torrents of content about the drug Ozempic. Launched initially in 2017 as a radically new treatment for type 2 diabetes, it has been touted as the ‘miracle cure’ for weight loss.

As always, among the praise, there’s plenty of negative chatter on social media towards Ozempic – mostly directed towards the very people sharing the game-changing results they’ve achieved. 

But that’s not the story we want to tell. If you’re serious about learning about a valid and scientifically proven path toward shedding some weight and keeping it off without endangering your health, then hang in there for this panoramic perspective on Ozempic.  

Let’s start by addressing some of the more negative sentiments associated with this discourse.  

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss.

As of this writing, this is true. Ozempic was developed and released as a new treatment for diabetes. Its ability to suppress appetite and slow down the movement of food through the stomach was an unexpected by-product of a radical new ingredient called semaglutide. So far, the producers of Ozempic have yet to apply for FDA approval for it as a weight loss treatment, but that’s got more to do with economics and logistics than with the power of Ozempic to promote weight loss. 

The fact that this drug is not FDA-approved for weight loss doesn’t stop healthcare professionals from recommending and prescribing Ozempic off-label. The use by doctors of off-label prescription of drugs is widespread. Meaning it is common practice for healthcare professionals to prescribe a drug for purposes other than its original, intended purpose. 

Ozempic comes with side effects.

All drugs can cause side effects. Some come with warnings, and in general, the more innovative and specialized the therapy, the more likely it will be accompanied by even more restrictions and warnings. Currently, the side effect gaining the most publicity is the TikTok tag #OzempicFace, where the phrase has been viewed almost a billion times. The term “Ozempic Face” was first publicized in an article in the New York Times, mainly based on an interview with one woman. 

What hasn’t been said in all these articles is that rapid weight loss (loss of more than twenty percent of body mass in six weeks) will show up first in the visible parts of the body, i.e. the face, where fat deposits will have shrunk fastest. As reported in the NYT, dermatologists expect that it is common for weight loss to empty parts of the face, which can make a person look older. Quoting New York plastic surgeon Dr. Oren Tepper, the facts are that “Weight loss may turn back your biological age, but it tends to turn your facial clock forward.”

Backing this up comes Dr. Caroline Apovian, Co-Director of the Center for Weight Management and Wellness in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Hypertension at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. She said, “As we age, we lose bones, we lose fat normally, so if you’re speeding that process up, it’s going to lead to an aged and hollow look. The type of rapid weight loss that may cause a hollow look is not what is supposed to happen when using a semaglutide treatment.”

Put differently, what these doctors are saying is that Ozempic is not meant to be used by people seeking to lose weight simply to help you shed a lot of weight quickly so that you can fit into your favorite jeans. Ozempic as a weight loss treatment should be used only for people who are significantly overweight or clinically obese and it needs to be used under the supervision of trained healthcare professionals. 

On our Ozempic page, we explain how to measure your BMI, which will tell you whether Ozempic is a necessary adjunct to a well-structured exercise and dietary program. In clinical trials of weight-loss drugs based on glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), doctors measured a steady and controlled reduction in BMI (10 – 15%) over trial periods of around one year. Much of the hype in the media is of people who have claimed that they lost far more than the target – twenty percent or more – or much faster than is intended – like in Losing Belly Fat in 6 Weeks!

Bad-mouthing from the influencers.

Some influencers out there (we won’t point fingers) have rushed to the media to let the world know that they would “never use drugs to improve how I look!” 

Again, our position is that Ozempic as a weight loss drug is not intended to be used as a glamor enhancement. It’s for people suffering from chronic obesity and people facing severe health risks because of their weight. The research shows that a doctor-administered Ozempic program that includes a healthy diet and exercise can significantly improve overall well-being.

Now for something more positive. 

Ozempic has been proven to produce sustainable weight loss. Read The New England Journal of Medicine’s summary here “2.4 mg of semaglutide once weekly plus lifestyle intervention was associated with sustained, clinically relevant reduction in body weight.” 

For for people seeking to lose weight by using Ozmepic, the cost needs to be taken into account. It’s sold at US retail pharmacies for around $1050 per 4-shot pen (with no health insurance payback). By contrast, at IsraelPharm, we supply Ozempic at a far lower price – $550 for the four-week dose. Our lower pricing is thanks to the capping of pharmaceutical prices in our government-mandated universal health care system. However, even with that huge saving, no one will argue that Ozempic is inexpensive.

Please remember that worldwide demand for Ozempic has placed incredible stress on supply chains, so right now, we can only supply one 4-dose pen at a time. 

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