Taking Ozempic? Here Are Side Effects You Should Know

Taking Ozempic? Here Are Side Effects You Should Know

Taking Ozempic? Right here Are Aspect Results You Ought to Know

The load-loss drug Ozempic exploded into public consciousness final 12 months, and a social media-fueled want for the drug has led to shortages for sufferers with sort 2 diabetes.

Now, persons are more and more recognizing the drug’s unintended effects, which may embody free pores and skin, often known as the “Ozempic face.”

“Any speedy weight reduction will cut back the quantity of fats in lots of components of the physique, particularly the face, resulting in sagging tissue and pores and skin,” stated Dr. Lyle Leipziger, chief of cosmetic surgery at North Shore College Hospital and the Lengthy Island Jewish Medical Middle. . “Sluggish, gradual weight reduction can enable for facial pores and skin retraction, so it isn’t as damaging as speedy weight reduction.”

Current articles in Individuals and the New York Instances word that the undesirable aspect impact could be corrected, however usually with costly fillers and beauty surgical procedure.

“The aim of weight reduction is to enhance well being,” stated Dr. Vadim Sherman, medical director of bariatric and metabolic surgical procedure at Houston Methodist Hospital. “You possibly can cut back fats and weight, however the consequence is that the pores and skin is already stretched.”

That is maybe probably the most seen impact, however it’s not the one one, and it’s actually not probably the most critical potential consequence. Individuals taking the drug could expertise issues akin to vomiting and pancreatitis, though unintended effects are usually uncommon.

Most unintended effects have been documented in scientific trials of individuals taking the drug for an permitted objective, stated Dr. Latasha Seliby Perkins, a household doctor in Washington, DC, and a member of the American Academy of Household Physicians. We do not essentially know what occurs to those that take these medication as a result of they need to lose some weight, which isn’t one in every of its FDA-approved makes use of.

Ozempic (a model title for semaglutide) was initially permitted in 2017 to decrease blood sugar in individuals with sort 2 diabetes. However scientific trials quickly revealed a useful aspect impact: weight reduction. That is particularly necessary for individuals with sort 2 diabetes, a lot of whom are medically thought-about obese or overweight.

So in 2021, the Meals and Drug Administration granted one other approval, this time for weight reduction, however solely in individuals with a physique mass index of 27 or larger with at the very least one associated well being situation and people with a BMI of 30 or extra. The drug’s commerce title was modified to Wegovy and better most doses have been permitted.

Wegovy and Ozempic each belong to a category of medicine often known as GLP-1 agonists, which work in a number of methods, together with suppressing GLP-1 receptors in your mind to scale back your urge for food. GLP stands for glucagon-like peptide-1, which is a hormone concerned in blood sugar management. Different GLP-1 agonists embody Rybelsus (semaglutide), Saxenda (liraglutide), and Mounjaro (tirzepatide).

Drug shortages for individuals who really want them

The load loss related to Ozempic and associated medication has made them engaging to individuals who don’t have sort 2 diabetes or who don’t meet different FDA standards for utilizing the drug. This has created a scarcity for the individuals who want it most and must be taking it: individuals with sort 2 diabetes.

“When a drug comprises a weight reduction part, it’s useful for individuals with sort 2 diabetes,” Perkins stated. Not essentially for others.

In the long term, not having this drug might result in kidney, coronary heart, and eye illness and even loss of life for individuals with sort 2 diabetes, though there are different medication in the marketplace that can be utilized to assist decrease blood sugar. “Diabetes can actually have an effect on individuals’s lives,” Perkins stated.

Lately, the comic Chelsea supervisor stated she did not even know the drug she was taking to lose 5 kilos was Ozempic. (She stopped utilizing it when she realized she was not a candidate for the drug.)

This raises an necessary level: it’s worthwhile to know what drugs you take and skim their bundle inserts, stated Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, medical toxicologist and performing govt director of the Nationwide Capital Poison Management Middle.

For individuals who discover the numerous creases and effective print intimidating, take coronary heart. You actually solely have to scan the start, Johnson-Arbor stated.

“The entrance web page is normally place for a basic overview,” she stated. On the very prime is a field with all of the necessary well being warnings (like most cancers) after which additional on warnings and adversarial results.

Listed below are among the unintended effects of Ozempic and medicines in the identical class.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, belly ache

Gastrointestinal signs are among the many commonest unintended effects of GLP-1 agonists, Johnson-Arbor stated. This isn’t stunning contemplating that Ozempic, Wegovy and different related medication act on numerous features of the digestive system. “Your digestive tract is a bit more delicate to this drug,” Perkins stated.

In scientific trials, nausea occurred in 20% of individuals taking a 1 mg dose of Ozempic, 16% of individuals taking a 0.5 mg dose, and 6% of individuals taking a placebo. Vomiting and diarrhea have been much less widespread, however nonetheless occurred in about 9% of individuals taking the 1mg dose, in contrast with 2% taking a placebo.

Diarrhea and vomiting could cause one other aspect impact: dehydration. “While you vomit, your physique has to make use of a few of its water supply to flush out meals,” Perkins defined. “The identical with diarrhea.”

Typically these results are delicate, however they will trigger individuals to cease taking the drug, Sherman stated. The very best measure of your hydration degree is your urine output – it’s best to go to the toilet as soon as each hour or two. If it slows down each three or 4 hours, name your physician’s workplace for recommendation. Much less widespread than that’s visiting pressing care or an emergency room, Perkins stated. And all the time keep hydrated.

For individuals receiving the 1 mg dose, 6% reported belly ache and three% reported constipation.

Kidney harm

Generally dehydration from vomiting and nausea is so extreme that it may well result in kidney harm, Johnson-Arbor stated. A affected person taking Ozempic want for short-term dialysis after rising his dose of remedy. Renal perform declined in two extra individuals taking Ozempic, though each had underlying kidney illness resulting from long-standing diabetes, as did two others who have been taking GLP-1 agonists.

“The kidneys do the job of filtering urine and taking within the issues it’s worthwhile to [the] physique,” Perkins defined. “You want water to flush the kidneys. If you do not have sufficient water, it begins to trigger harm.

Consultants advise individuals with present kidney illness to be cautious when utilizing GLP-1 agonists. If you’re taking any of those drugs and expertise nausea, vomiting, and different extreme and chronic gastrointestinal unintended effects, search medical consideration. “It is a good suggestion to have labs to see if the rest is happening,” Johnson-Arbor stated.

An accelerated coronary heart price could be one other consequence of dehydration, Perkins stated.


A number of acute circumstances pancreatitis have been reported in individuals taking GLP-1 agonists. Pancreatitis is an irritation of the pancreas, the primary gland concerned within the manufacturing of insulin. Signs embody nausea and vomiting, fever, speedy coronary heart price, and a distended and painful stomach, in addition to yellow pores and skin and eyes.

“When you have a historical past of pancreatitis, you might need to train warning when contemplating Ozempic, though it has additionally occurred in individuals with no historical past,” Johnson-Arbor stated.

Attainable danger of thyroid most cancers

The researchers additionally noticed a kind of thyroid most cancers referred to as medullary thyroid carcinoma, however solely in rodents given the drug. Whereas it could possibly be a danger in people. The primary GLP-1 agonist was solely permitted 20 years in the past, so we do not have a lot knowledge on long-term unintended effects, Johnson-Arbor stated.

“Individuals must be conscious that it is a uncommon most cancers that might take years to develop,” she continued. “Don’t take these medication you probably have a historical past of thyroid illness.” It is also potential that this most cancers is exclusive to rodents, which have excessive numbers of GLP-1 agonists of their thyroids, she added.

Indicators of thyroid tumors could be a lump within the throat, problem swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath.


In keeping with Johnson-Arbor, gastroparesis “can be referred to as delayed gastric emptying.” She defined that it’s a dysfunction that slows or stops the motion of meals out of your abdomen to your small gut even when there isn’t any blockage within the abdomen or intestines.

Whereas it may well additionally make you’re feeling full, it is extra prone to trigger nausea and vomiting, Sherman stated, including that it seems gastroparesis and different gastrointestinal results go away after you cease taking it. of the drug.


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