Potential hospitalization risks due to side effects of Ozempic have been a concern, as highlighted by medical professionals who also emphasize the uncertainty surrounding the long-term effects of this drug.
Ozempic and similar medications like Mounjaro and Wegovy are known for their effectiveness in aiding weight loss. However, weight reduction is not the sole effect these drugs have on patients.
Mounjaro, whose generic name is Tirzepatide, and Semaglutide, marketed as Ozempic and Wegovy, are weekly injectables. Mounjaro acts as a GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist, while Ozempic and Wegovy act as GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Originally, Mounjaro and Ozempic were marketed for diabetes treatment, with Wegovy being specifically developed for weight loss. All these medications are injectable, but oral forms of Ozempic and Wegovy may soon be available.
Wegovy is the only one FDA-approved for weight loss, with the others primarily prescribed for diabetes.
These drugs aid in insulin production and blood sugar reduction. Additionally, they release hormones that slow digestion and prolong the feeling of fullness in the stomach, thus suppressing appetite and aiding weight loss. This, however, can have physical repercussions.
Common Ozempic Side Effects
Commonly reported side effects of Ozempic include nausea, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer, confirms that these gastrointestinal issues are common across all GLP-1 class drugs, though they have been deemed safe in long-term clinical trials.
Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. Meera Shah frequently observes nausea, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea in patients. While these symptoms may improve over time, she notes that around 10% of patients discontinue the medication due to persistent side effects.
The interrelation between the gut and brain implies that gastrointestinal discomfort can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and depression, a phenomenon referred to as the “gut-brain connection.”
Mount Sinai’s Laurie A. Keefer, a health psychologist, explains that chronic abdominal pain and unpredictable digestive symptoms can significantly affect mood and energy levels, often leading to social withdrawal and emotional distress.
Severe Side Effects of Ozempic
More severe side effects of Ozempic encompass thyroid tumors, pancreatitis, vision changes, hypoglycemia, gallbladder complications, kidney failure, and even cancer. Dr. Shah particularly notes the seriousness of pancreatitis and gallbladder issues, which can necessitate hospitalization.
Reports have emerged of severe gastrointestinal problems, including gastroparesis, leading to legal action against the drug manufacturers for inadequate warnings.
Despite not being listed on Ozempic’s official site, some patients have experienced malnutrition due to excessive appetite suppression, as noted by doctors. This has led to recommendations for additional nutritional supplements alongside the medication.
Remi Bader, a model and TikTok personality, shared her experience with Ozempic on the “Not Skinny But Not Fat” podcast. She discussed the challenges faced post-medication, including weight regain and exacerbated binge eating disorder.
Eating disorder specialists caution against appetite suppressants, which can trigger or worsen such disorders. Dr. Shah acknowledges the challenge of distinguishing patients seeking weight-loss drugs from those with eating disorders, often requiring collaboration with behavioral psychologists.
The long-term effects of these drugs when used for weight loss are yet to be fully understood. Dr. Shah expresses both excitement and concern about their long-term impact, questioning the duration of their effectiveness.
However, advocates for weight loss highlight the significant health risks associated with obesity, as noted by the CDC. These risks include increased chances of hypertension, coronary heart disease, and stroke.