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OH: Ozempic is far from miracle drug

Ozempic has helped some people lose weight, but do its benefits really outweigh its consequences? – Photo by Markus Winkler /

More than 40 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from obesity, and this number has been trending upward since 1999. Approximately 300,000 people die annually due to being overweight, and it is the second leading cause of preventable death in the U.S.

In the last several years, many solutions have been proposed to those struggling to lose weight, but semaglutide has been the most glorified.

Semaglutide improves blood sugar, treats type 2 diabetes patients and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients with type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide mimics glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) cells, which tell your brain you are not hungry.

Although the Food and Drug Administration approved semaglutide back in 2017, the notoriety of this drug surged because doctors noticed an additional weight loss side effect.

Ozempic, the most popular semaglutide injection on the market, is praised as a magic weight loss drug by some of our most influential figures, like Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk and Tracy Morgan.

There is also a trend on social media called #myozempicjourney, where people who feel overweight post their rapid transformations caused by semaglutide injections.

Cristina Noh, a popular TikTok creator, shared how refreshed she feels from taking Ozempic and progressively losing weight.

"Even though my weight is up a tiny bit from the last time, I was feeling a little bit bloated as well. It might have been the sugars I had eaten, but I really do feel like I'm overall making fantastic progress," she said.

Due to the craze for semaglutide injections from mainstream media, these medications are now impossible to find at an affordable price. Ozempic and other semaglutide injections cost almost $1,000 despite costing less than $5 per month to create.

Diabetics like Shane Anthony are frustrated with the shortage of medications like Ozempic.

"It really makes me mad. It infuriates me. It's like, you people don't need it. Us diabetics, we need it. We need it to stay alive," he said.

Many influencers like Noh use Ozempic to shed a few pounds, resulting in a shortage of Ozempic on the market. This shortage leaves many diabetics like Anthony without this necessary medication to live a healthy life.

There is no such thing as a drug with no side effects, and semaglutide is not an exception.

For every couple of posts praising Ozempic and other semaglutide injections, there are more videos and posts demonizing the medication.

One of the more notorious side effects of semaglutide injections is #ozempicface. Due to rapid weight loss, the face begins to sag with excess skin, emphasizing wrinkles and aging.

McKenna Abercrombie, a board-certified cosmetic and surgical dermatologist, believes Ozempic face is not just a side effect but a direct result of Ozempic.

"Any form of weight loss in middle age to older people affects not body fat volume but the volume of the fat pads in our face. And, in fact, fat loss here happens gradually as we age, giving us that more saggy and wrinkled appearance. This is not a side effect but a direct result of rapid weight loss," she said.

Besides Ozempic face, other side effects can prove detrimental to a user's health in the long run, including changes in vision, low blood sugar and kidney failure.

YouTuber Natalie Di Grazia posted a video on YouTube sharing her traumatic experience using Ozempic for eight consecutive weeks.

"I discovered that if I don't eat, I will want to throw up, and I will get heartburn from hell and then my brain will stop working," she said.

In addition, some have said that the weight lost initially from taking Ozempic may return within a few months after quitting, according to Leigh Ann Anderson, a drug information specialist.

There are extreme circumstances when staying in shape is difficult, but weight management can be straightforward for the average person. If one is strictly focused on losing weight, maintaining a somewhat healthy diet and exercising can lead to a steady loss of one to two pounds per week or 20 pounds in two or three months.

Losing weight does not have to be complicated, nor does it have to be painful like when you are on Ozempic, because there should not be any downsides to living a healthy lifestyle.

Jesse Oh is a junior in the School of Arts and Science double majoring in economics and journalism. His column "Get Your Money's Worth" is published every other Wednesday.

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