Hollywood or the American film industry’s prodigious influence over the people is a fact that is widely acknowledged throughout the world. From kids to adults, the industry’s hold on the language, culture, fashion, lifestyle, and morals of the mass is unbelievably strong. Iconic trends of each decade are mostly set by a star or a group of stars for their followers to follow. Now that globalization has taken a front seat, decade-long imitation may have reduced to a year or a month. But that doesn’t mean a loosening of their leash. But is that all? Is imitation of the ‘style’ the ultimate threshold? No, says the recent trends that are gripping the world – especially the younger generation, gen Z.
Hollywood stars’ attitudes toward their bodies still have a stranglehold on the public imagination, despite the rise of body inclusivity and its celebration of diversity in shape and size. The current trend, not so surprisingly, involves our bodies. To be more specific, weight loss through off-label medication. So, if Hollywood is the source, TikTok is the medium that’s generating the hits or making the trend viral. On TikTok, videos with the hashtag #ozempic have received 311 million views, while #ozempicweightloss has 125 million views and is growing. Online rumors are rife that Ozempic is to blame for the dramatic physical changes that several celebrities have undergone.
Hollywood’s Worst-Kept Secret
More recently, the concerned drug has been termed as “Hollywood’s worst kept secret”. Ranging from Kim Kardashian, the sensational TV star to countless other big names including Oprah, Khloe Kardashian, Adele, and Rebel Wilson are speculated to be consuming the drug. Whether or not these individuals have used this drug, there is no denying that it has captured the attention of a sizable portion of the general public.
When you’re bombarded with celebrity rumors and tales of “regular folk” talking about their experiences using TikTok, depending on which side of the platform you’re on, you might feel like the only person on the globe who isn’t using Ozempic. So how does it work? You can find the details below, so relax and read on. First of all, what’s the drug?
Ozempic is the name. Too fancy to be sensational, but quite a normal name for a drug or medication. But don’t be mistaken, Ozempic is the brand name. The medication, whose generic name is semaglutide, targets brain regions that control appetite and eating. Don’t forget, semaglutide targets weight loss, and not Ozempic necessarily. So why Ozempic? Because semaglutide is a key ingredient of it. If so, what else does it contain or what is it primarily used for? What’s all the buzz about Ozempic?
Adults with type 2 diabetes can use the once-weekly injection Ozempic (semaglutide) to manage their blood sugar levels. To lower their risk of a stroke, heart attack, or death, adults with type 2 diabetes who also have heart and blood vessel disease take Ozempic. Clinical studies have also demonstrated the value of Ozempic’s active ingredient for weight loss, but the FDA has not yet approved Ozempic as a weight-loss medication.
Why is it still popular among the ‘weight loss’ group?
The reason Ozempic has gained such popularity over the past two years is that it helps people lose weight quickly. Because of how it functions—by causing a chemical aversion to food—it is so divisive. After receiving an Ozempic injection, a person’s body may physically revolt when they try to picture a creamy pizza or cheesy hamburger, experiencing waves of sickness and nausea in spasms. Hair loss, heartburn, and swelling at the injection site are among the less common side effects of the drug.
The appetite centers in our brains become active when we eat. After some time, our gut secretes proteins like GLP-1 that signal our brains to stop eating. Our bodies control hunger in that manner.
In short, the drug is designed for diabetes and not weight loss. Weight loss is only the secondary target which is advised for (off-label – under expert opinions) overweight or obese patients and not for casual weight loss. Weight-related conditions like high blood pressure can also be qualified under the medication’s intended targets.
If I’m obese or overweight, what should I do or know?
First of all, you must know this: there’s no shortcut. And there’s no denying the exercises and calorie deficit part – that’s mandatory. Ozempic, like the scores of weight loss alternatives, is no magic portion that vanishes your weight away within the blink of an eye.
For instance, a 68-week clinical trial of semaglutide in non-diabetic patients resulted in an average weight loss of 15%. Likewise, whether you’re diabetic or non-diabetic, side effects are a part of the medication – Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and, in rare cases, pancreatitis, as well as a possible link to a risk of thyroid tumors, which means people with a family history of thyroid cancer should avoid taking it.
Last but not least, if you’re qualified and under a doctor’s care, these medications can be an effective tool to help you reach a healthy weight. On the whole, one of its side effects is that it causes patients to feel less hungry. In order to help people lose weight, doctors are increasingly prescribing the drug off-label.
In short, even among obese patients, Ozempic is advised best for those whose diet and exercise aren’t working and is free of other serious health conditions like the above-mentioned.
Ozempic and Diabetes – The real deal
The drug is made by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, and when injected, it mimics the action of the hormone GLP-1, which controls blood sugar and insulin levels and is crucial for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Long-lasting satiety helps users avoid hunger pangs.
When other medications have been tried but have not adequately controlled blood sugar levels, Ozempic can be used. However, it should always be used in conjunction with a diet and exercise program.
When blood sugar levels are high, the drug helps the pancreas release the proper amount of insulin, which transports sugar from the blood into other body tissues where it is used for energy. This lowers blood sugar levels. The Ozempic injection also slows the passage of food through the stomach, which may help people feel less hungry and lose weight.
Ozempic sensationalism caused a stir among Diabetes patients. The drug has seen a huge run on supplies due to its popularity and the results it promises. There is concern that people who depend on Ozempic for treating type 2 diabetes may run out of medication due to its off-label use for weight loss.
Many patients are currently being forced to switch to alternative medications like Trulicity because of the severe drug shortage, which necessitates starting over from the lowest prescription and gradually increasing the dose. Out of such patients, a notable section has reportedly been complaining about their blood sugar levels fluctuating for weeks on end, causing fatigue and headaches as well as necessitating more frequent self-administered uncomfortable finger prick blood tests.
These people find the supply issue to be a bitter pill to swallow. When they don’t have it, their blood sugar levels rise, which can eventually cause heart attacks, strokes, blindness, miscarriages, and stillbirths (for women). Healthcare professionals are also impacted by the shortage. They worry that once they stop taking the medication, their blood sugar levels will increase and cause them to put on weight.
Is Ozempic costly?
Ozempic, which is primarily produced in Canada, requires a prescription from a physician, which is reliant on health insurance. Unfortunately, a large number of insurance companies do not pay for the costs of anti-obesity medications. As a result, many people who require Ozempic are unable to obtain it. The cost of purchasing branded medications privately is prohibitive. One month of Ozempic, for instance, costs $1,200.
The good news is that generic Semaglutide, which is now sold in many countries, offers comparable weight loss results at a much lower price – $180 – $249/month may be an ideal price. It is offered as a pre-filled injector pen with various fixed dose options. The dose per injection can be set to 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg as per the prescriptions.
However, because of the sales surge, the resulting drug shortage, and the health insurance companies refusal to cover Ozempic, healthcare providers are losing the casual users and they in turn are being forced to pay for the medication out of pocket.
How to use it?
Overweight patients can start with the lowest dose of Semaglutide and gradually increase it for the best outcomes. One can learn more about how the drug affects the body by following this step-by-step procedure.
Week 1-4: 0.25 mg
Week 5 -8: 0.5 mg
Week 9 -12: 1 mg
(NB: This is the likely trend of dosage based on scientific/clinical trials. Starting from the lowest dose to usage beyond 3 months, an expert/doctor should be at the helm for any prescriptions.)
We also advise you to keep track of the date, the dose, your weight, and how you’re feeling during this time. The use of this tracker is crucial for making the appropriate adjustments and obtaining necessary medical care.
So what’s Wegovy then?
It is a chronic weight management treatment that patients receive once a week via injection under their skin. Another brand of semaglutide, Wegovy, has been approved to treat obesity in the United States and the United Kingdom. The drug rose to fame after the richest guy, Elon Musk endorsed and tweeted about it.
Unlike Ozempic, which is primarily used for type 2 diabetes, Wegovy (semaglutide) is an injectable prescription drug used only for weight loss in overweight adults with other weight-related medical issues or obese adults and teenagers. Wegovy should be used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity, just like Ozempic, to aid in weight management. But, even though the drug is termed one of the most successful drugs when it comes to weight loss medication, not everyone is allowed to take it.
Wegovy has the potential to cause serious side effects, including thyroid tumors, including cancer. It is critical to notify your healthcare provider if you experience a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or shortness of breath.
Similarly, do not use this medication if you or any member of your family has ever had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), or if you have an endocrine system condition known as Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. (MEN 2).
Read more: Mounjaro Weight Loss – The Complete Story
Some feel-good thoughts on weight loss and body inclusivity
We frequently see celebrities use unhealthy weight loss methods. It looks bad and sets a poor example for everyone. Hollywood nutritionists are now issuing warnings that these fashionable treatments may serve as a diversion from more serious issues with the American diet that starts with agriculture and the feed given to cattle.
Nutritionists add that the drug’s impact on calorie intake may also work against some long-term health objectives because some patients might not be consuming enough calories to engage in vigorous exercise and develop (and maintain) muscle.
Forget all these cultural manipulations and imagine a society where people can celebrate their body size, shape, and the characteristics that make them unique, a society where all bodies can regain their health and live confidently. Body inclusivity and positivity is that great step to feeling good about your body and yourself. Also, this is not us advising you to forget the troubles of your body if you are overweight or obese. But a reminder that everyone must embrace their appearance and give up society’s fixation with altering our physical selves in order to merely “fit in.”
The other best way to tackle body remorse is to opt for the healthiest trajectory: maintain a healthy diet that prioritizes calorie deficit and work your ass off. Nothing beats the natural way. Believe us, the effort is worth it. Start your new life now!