The Western world’s obsession with finding a magic cure for fatness has come down to a diabetic medicine shot called Ozempic. Ozempic (Semaglutide) is an artificial GLP-1 hormone developed to manage blood sugar and lower hemoglobin A1C in adults. After some patients noticed losing excess body fat as a side effect, it went viral on social media as an “off-label” weight loss medication.

Ozempic has serious negative effects on non-diabetic individuals taking the shots to drop a few pounds.

Concerns have arisen as people wonder about the consequences of taking Ozempic without a diabetes diagnosis. The long-term dangers of taking Ozempic are mostly unknown. Despite costing thousands and creating a co-dependency, you are at risk of allergic reactions, pancreatitis, thyroid cancer, and newly discovered stomach paralysis. And if you stop, you regain the weight and more.

Serious Risks of Taking Ozempic

Dangers of Taking Ozempic

As more and more side effects come to light, we decided to rank the top dangers of Ozempic to help you decide if taking Ozempic is right for you. Here are the top 14 dangers of taking Ozempic for weight loss.

  1. Thyroid Cancer Risk
  2. Pancreatitis
  3. Gallstones
  4. Changes in vision
  5. Kidney failure
  6. Malnutrition
  7. Digestive problems
  8. Hypoglycemia
  9. Allergic reaction
  10. Depression
  11. Facial mutation
  12. Hair loss
  13. Rebound weight gain
  14. Nausea

1. Thyroid Cancer Risk

Thyroid Cancer Risk after using Ozempic

One of the deadliest health risks of taking Ozempic, or semaglutide in general, is the FDA risk in thyroid tumors. Although not yet reported in humans, animal studies have shown thyroid tumors when injected with GLP-1 agonists during testing on rodents. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately: trouble swallowing, shortness of breath, hoarseness, or swelling in the neck.

2. Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis after Ozempic

Recent studies have indicated a potential link between semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, and pancreatitis. Pancreatitis, or swelling of the pancreas, is a serious condition that can have life-threatening consequences. Signs and symptoms associated with pancreatitis include severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, or yellowing of the skin and eyes.

3. Gallstones

Gallstones after Ozempic

Cholecystitis (gallstones) is a gallbladder inflammation that must be treated to avoid fatal complications. According to clinical trials, gallbladder disease, including the occurrence of gallstones, is a possible but infrequent side effect of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic. In these trials, less than 2% of individuals taking semaglutide reported gallbladder-related issues.

In August 2022, a research letter published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine showed that there was an increased risk of gallstones and acute gallbladder disease in Ozempic users compared to the placebo. Researchers also found that the risk of gallbladder problems increased at higher doses or the longer someone used the weight loss shots.

4. Changes in vision

Changes in vision after Ozempic

A 2020 clinical study has shown that Ozempic can also cause vision changes such as blurred vision, macular complications, or Diabetic retinopathy (damage to blood vessels in the eye). Out of 2,100 unsuccessful events with the drug, there were 140 cases of changes in vision. When the body experiences changes in sugar level from the Semglutide injection, the shape of the eye’s lens can be affected, which causes blurry vision. This temporary side effect goes away after three to four months.

Pam Peter (Ozempic user from Ohio) states, “Legally, I could no longer drive at night. I couldn’t read street signs, lights had halos, and my night vision was just gone.”

5. Kidney failure and other kidney problems

Kidney Failure after Ozempic

While Ozempic is generally considered safe for individuals with type II diabetes, it can have adverse effects for non-diabetic users, including kidney damage and failure. Since semaglutide is cleared out of your blood through the kidneys, there is a potential risk of kidney injury. GLP-1 agonists, including Ozempic (semaglutide), commonly exhibit side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In some cases, these gastrointestinal symptoms can potentially lead to acute kidney injury due to volume contraction.

In a study done by Kidney Medical, a patient in her 80s had a slow decline of eGFR (a test to see how well the kidneys are working) until she was given semaglutide, which significantly worsened her kidney function (double arrow). There was also evidence of acute tubular injury.

Decreased kidney function after semaglutide

6. Severe Malnutrition

Severe malnourishment after Ozempic

An extreme risk of taking Ozempic is severe malnutrition. The drug works by delaying the brain’s hunger signals and slowing down the stomach’s digestion process, which causes people to feel full for longer. Malnutrition can lead to low energy levels, headaches, dizziness, reduced muscle strength, hair loss, and more. To prevent malnutrition when taking Ozempic, a well-balanced diet and eating enough calories are recommended.

7. Digestive symptoms

Having digestive issues after Ozempic

Diarrhea is one of the most prevalent side effects of Ozempic, occurring in nearly 30% of nondiabetic patients. Severe stomach gastrointestinal symptoms typically begin with pain and serious discomfort and tend to trigger diarrhea, constipation, burping, gassiness, or intestinal obstruction. The higher the dosage of semaglutide, the more likely you are to experience these symptoms.

While the prescription instructions caution against the possibility of nausea and vomiting, it has a minimal warning about the medication’s severe delay of gastric emptying, also known as Gastroparesis.

Weight loss shots slow the passage of food through the stomach, which helps people feel full longer. However, in some individuals, it can cause the food to take up to 3.5 times as long to digest.  CNN published an article in which two individuals were diagnosed with extreme gastroparesis (stomach paralysis), which can lead to persistent vomiting. Ozempic and Mounjaro manufacturers sued over claims of “stomach paralysis.”

Recently, the FDA warned users of the potential for increased risk of an intestinal blockage (Ileus) that keeps food from passing through the colon.

Continuous nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can easily lead to death, as was the case for the 56-year-old Australian who died after being on Ozempic for five months. Trish Webster dropped 35 lbs and took the injection shots to lose weight to fit in her dress for her daughter’s wedding.

8. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)

Hypoglycemia after Ozempic

When semaglutide is used as a standalone medication, the risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is generally low. This is because semaglutide works by stimulating the release of insulin in response to meals rather than causing a continuous drop in blood sugar levels.

However, if semaglutide is taken in combination with other blood sugar-lowering medications such as insulin or sulfonylureas, the risk of hypoglycemia may increase because there’s too much insulin. If your blood sugar level gets too low, you may experience dizziness, blurred vision, or seizures. In such cases, your healthcare provider may need to adjust the dosage of these medications when initiating semaglutide treatment.

9. Allergic reactions

Allergic reactions after Ozempic

Mild allergic reactions to semaglutide may manifest as itching, rash, or redness at the injection site. You may also have problems breathing or swallowing and swelling your face, lips, tongue, or throat. In such cases, it may not be necessary to discontinue semaglutide immediately. However, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider about any allergic reactions you experience, even if they are mild. They can assess the situation, provide appropriate guidance, and determine the best course of action.

10. Depression and mood shifts

Depression and Mood Shifts after Ozempic

The use of this drug may cause mood swings, shakiness, irritability, depression, stress, and anxiety. When taking other medications with Ozempic, this can increase mood changes.

Bethenny Frankel, Skinnygirl CEO, spoke out against Ozempic, “I’ve heard stories about it being a mood alterer and causing unpredictable behavior. My friends have described it as an attitude where the person would just snap at them.”

Reports of self-injury and suicide have regulators in the U.S. and U.K. scrutinizing weight loss drugs like Ozempic and Wegovy and adding a warning label.

11. Facial mutation

Ozempic Face

Certain individuals taking semaglutide may observe a reduction in fullness in their face, which has been colloquially referred to as “Ozempic face.” It’s important to note that Ozempic is not specifically approved for losing weight, although some people may experience shedding pounds while taking it. One of the biggest concerns with taking this new drug is sagging skin due to rapid weight loss. Patients who take the shot to lose 15-20 lbs will not see as many facial changes as those who lose more. Patients may have more wrinkles around their temples, jawline, mouth, and under their eyes.

Natasa Valocchi lost 68 lbs after Ozempic and expressed, “As the weight goes, your face does go, and you do get a gauntness. Your jaw starts to sag because there isn’t really the pumpness to hold it anymore.”

The only known treatment for “Ozempic Face” is to get fillers or facial plastic surgery. These surgeries can cost $5,000 and up since the face must be reflated from the volume loss.

Body composition changes, like loss of muscle mass, are a major problem with people taking Ozempic.

Celebrities that have admitted to taking Ozempic

Celebrities that have taken Ozempic for weight loss

These celebrities have used the buzzy weight loss drug Ozempic and have come clean,

12. Hair Loss

Experiencing hair loss after Ozempic

A small percentage of people taking Ozempic reported hair loss. Hair loss is due to the body adjusting to weight loss, which is temporary.

Hair loss, known as telogen effluvium, can occur as a potential side effect of blockbuster medications like Wegovy or Ozempic. However, it is typically a temporary condition. As your body adapts to the medication, the hair loss should gradually subside. It’s important to note that this process may take several months.

13. Rebound weight gain

Weight Regain after stopping Ozempic

The journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism has found that once people quit using semaglutide (Ozempic or Wegovy), weight rebound occurs. The drug mimics a hormone that tells your brain that you are full, but it does not rewire neural networks to define a body weight setpoint, so any weight drop may not be permanent.

Ozempic should be used on a long-term basis without interruption. If you stop taking the medication for financial reasons or develop an allergic reaction, your food cravings may return stronger, and the sensation of feeling full after meals may diminish.

14. Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea or Vomiting after using Ozempic

GI issues, like nausea, are one of the most frequently reported side effects of Ozempic. Many users encounter a lack of energy, constant nausea, and puking when they start the medication or increase their dosage. In clinical trials for individuals with Type 2 diabetes, 20% of participants reported experiencing mild to moderate nausea. Patients can end up in urgent care due to dehydration after intense vomiting.

If you encounter vomiting and pain, you must seek medical care immediately as it can cause ischemia of your intestines, which might require surgery.

Who is Ozempic for?

The once-weekly injection drug is FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes only, not to slim down your waistline. Wegovy and Mounjaro (Zepbound) are ante-up versions of Ozempic designed as weight loss medications. These drugs are either in shortage or not FDA-approved, causing people to take Ozempic.

If you are currently taking Ozempic and have concerns or encounter these symptoms, it is highly recommended to consult with your healthcare professional promptly.

People should not take Ozempic if:

  • Problem with pancreas or Pancreatitis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Under the age of 18
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Problems with Kidney
  • History of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
  • Endocrine system condition – Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)

Conclusion

As Ozempic’s “skinny pen” craze on social media and TikTok is catching on with celebrities and the general public, there is an increasing warning from the medical community against using the drug to trim a few pounds. We must remember that obesity is a chronic disease and needs definitive treatment. You must take Ozempic indefinitely to lose weight and keep it off.

Pharmaceuticals have paid millions to physicians and institutions for grants and loyalty to promote anti-diabetes injectables as an anti-obesity therapy.

Ozempic is not a quick fix for weight loss and definitely not a permanent one. It shouldn’t just be given out like candy. Let’s leave this medication for people whose life depends on it.

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