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Why has Ozempic gotten so much attention?

The weight loss effects of Ozempic, a drug originally used to help diabetes patients manage their blood sugar levels, have gone viral on social media. There are over 85,000 videos on TikTok under #ozempic. The National Association of Boards of Pharmacy has reported a shortage of Ozempic since 2022. Numerous celebrity endorsements have contributed to this recent popularity.   

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic and Wegovy, injectable drugs that mimic the GLP-1 hormone that is released in the gut as a response to eating food, suppressing your appetite and promoting weight loss. The FDA approved Wegovy, which has a high dose of semaglutide, in 2021 specifically to be used for weight loss, unlike Ozempic. Now, both drugs are in shortage, as many people are buying Ozempic and Wegovy for weight loss use rather than for medical purposes. 

Celebrities increase public attention to these weight-loss drugs. Jimmy Kimmel opened the 2023 Oscars Academy Awards by joking, “Everybody looks so great…When I look around at this room I can’t help but wonder, ‘Is Ozempic right for me?’” Many celebrities have had positive reactions to Ozempic because it helps them lose weight. For example, Elon Musk, the 52-year-old CEO of X (formerly Twitter) and businessman, cites “Fasting + Olympic/Wegovy + no tasty food near me” as the reason for his 30-pound weight loss on X. On Melissa McCarthy’s Instagram post, Barbra Streisand commented, “Did you take Ozempic?” and said on X that she wanted to “pay her friend a compliment.” In instances like these, celebrities have seen Ozempic use and weight loss as flattering. Additionally, Claudia Oshry, a 29-year-old social media influencer and podcast host, claimed that Ozempic “has been such a wonderful thing.” With the rise in beauty standards of a perfect, slim body, many individuals who want to lose weight have been convinced of the benefits of Ozempic because of these positive celebrity reviews. 

However, not all Ozempic experiences have been positive, and many celebrities have publicly claimed that Ozempic has dangerous health impacts. Sharon Osborne, a 71-year-old famous British television personality and businesswoman, said that she lost 42 pounds while taking Ozempic, warning, “I couldn’t stop losing weight…and I can’t afford to lose any more….don’t give it to teenagers, it’s just too easy [to lose weight].” Similarly, Amy Schumer, a 42-year-old American actress and comedian, reportedly tried Ozempic and got “so skinny” that she had to stop taking the drug because it made her feel “so sick.” Chelsea Handler, a 49-year-old American actress and comedian, says that Ozempic made her feel nauseous, warning, “it’s [Ozempic] gonna backfire, something bad is going to happen.” 

Nevertheless, for those looking for extreme weight loss, the celebrity accounts of the drug’s effects indicate that it works almost  too well. Rather than listening to the potential health harms, people seem to focus more on the weight loss effects of Ozempic in hopes of becoming ‘skinny.’ In other words, the negative accounts may have encouraged more people to buy weight-loss drugs. 

A consequence of the increasing publicity surrounding Ozempic is that those who actually need it for medical use are unable to access it. Another is that individuals are buying the drug illegally online through sales conducted without the assistance of medical professionals; Novo Nordisk, the company that owns Ozempic and Wegovy, warns against “counterfeit medicines” sold illegally online. Moreover, body expectations will be heightened as society and celebrities continue to promote weight-loss drugs. 

Sources:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-13168053/Celebrity-Big-Brother-viewers-share-concern-Sharon-Osbournes-extreme-weight-loss-dropping-7st-using-Ozempic.html

https://www.newsweek.com/celebrities-who-have-taken-ozempic-1850801

https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/27/health/fda-ozempic-label/index.html

https://people.com/celebrities-ozempic-wegovy-what-theyve-said-7104926

https://www.uclahealth.org/news/article/semaglutide-weight-loss-what-you-need-know

Image Source: Forbes

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