What it’s like to take the blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, from severe side effects to losing 50 pounds

What it’s like to take the blockbuster drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, from severe side effects to losing 50 pounds

What it’s wish to take the blockbuster medicine Ozempic and Wegovy, from extreme unwanted side effects to dropping 50 kilos

In the course of the two months Carey Yazeed took Ozempic, the drug labored as anticipated. Yazeed has kind 2 diabetes and the weekly injection has lowered his blood sugar ranges. Nevertheless it additionally introduced unwanted side effects she thought of insufferable, together with vomiting, fatigue, complications and abdomen cramps.

5 weeks after taking the drug, Yazeed stated, she discovered herself unable to maneuver from the toilet flooring.

“I had thrown up a lot I did not have the vitality to rise up and I used to be principally mendacity in it,” she stated. “I could not even increase my head to throw up within the dresser. It was so unhealthy.

Dr Carey Yazeed. (Courtesy of Carey Yazeed.)

The extreme results Yazeed has confronted usually are not frequent, however the experiences of individuals taking Ozempic and its sister drug, Wegovy, can range extensively – from substantial weight reduction and minimal discomfort at one finish of the spectrum to excessive results. the opposite.

NBC Information spoke to 10 folks about their experiences taking these blockbuster medicine, each of that are types of semaglutide. They’re designed to imitate a hormone that indicators the mind when an individual is full and promotes the discharge of insulin, a hormone that stops blood sugar ranges from getting too excessive. In flip, medicine can decrease blood sugar and suppress urge for food.

They’ve grown in recognition over the previous 12 months, thanks partly to social media consideration and billionaires like Elon Musk touting the medicine’ weight-loss results.

Ozempic prescriptions tripled from 2021 to 2022, in keeping with information from prescription drug low cost firm SingleCare, which has greater than 5 million members. Final 12 months, excessive demand and international provide constraints led to drug shortages. The FDA reported a scarcity of Wegovy in March 2022, adopted by a scarcity of Ozempic in August.

A number of interviewees stated that the advantages they acquired from the medicine outweighed the unwanted side effects.

“It is simply lighter to maneuver round. My garments match so a lot better and extra comfortably,” stated Stacey Bollinger, Account Supervisor in Maryland, who stated she has misplaced 52 kilos since beginning Wegovy. “One thing so simple as bending over to tie my shoe is a lot simpler.”

Stacey Bollinger.  (Courtesy of Stacey Bollinger)

Stacey Bollinger. (Courtesy of Stacey Bollinger)

Some folks stated they felt fantastic with the medicine. However Yazeed and some others described unwanted side effects that made them cease taking the medicine or marvel if they might take them long run.

Weight problems medication consultants who prescribe Ozempic and Wegovy have stated the medicine can rework the lives and well being of sufferers. The results of weight reduction can permit sufferers to do issues they could not do earlier than, like chasing grandchildren or discovering garments that match them in mainstream shops. Semaglutide may also deal with well being issues associated to weight problems and diabetes, comparable to a excessive threat of coronary heart assault or stroke.

“By treating weight problems, you are successfully treating probably greater than 200 different obesity- or weight-related illnesses,” stated Dr. Ania Jastreboff, affiliate professor of drugs at Yale Faculty of Drugs. Jastreboff sits on the scientific advisory board of Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy.

Dramatic Weight Loss Tales

The Meals and Drug Administration accredited Ozempic for folks with kind 2 diabetes in 2017, then Wegovy — the identical drug, which works as much as the next dose — in 2021 for weight reduction in overweight adults or those that are obese and have not less than one weight-related well being situation, comparable to hypertension or ldl cholesterol. Ozempic is just not accredited for weight reduction, however medical doctors generally prescribe it off-label for this goal.

Most individuals who took Ozempic or Wegovy stated it lowered their starvation and lowered their cravings for unhealthy meals. Bollinger and Randi Lee Harper, a Seattle-area software program developer, every stated they misplaced greater than 50 kilos.

Harper took Ozempic off-label for weight reduction from Might to November (she went on hiatus when transferring to Washington State however plans to begin once more). She stated she nonetheless enjoys her favourite meals — like truffle macaroni and cheese and Bitter Patch Youngsters candies — however her parts have been smaller.

“You do not notice how food-centric your life is while you’re obese till you go on a weight-reduction plan that simply retains you from excited about it an excessive amount of, like on Ozempic,” Harper stated.

For essentially the most half, she added, she responded effectively to the drug, though generally she would burp if she ate an excessive amount of – a reasonably frequent facet impact.

As for Bollinger, she stated that along with her weight reduction, her common blood sugar had dropped a lot that she was now not pre-diabetic.

A research in over 1,000 folks with kind 2 diabetes discovered that semaglutide was more practical than insulin at reducing blood sugar. The individuals had not seen outcomes from different diabetes medicines, which they continued to take in the course of the trial. In one other research of practically 2,000 obese or overweight adults with out diabetes, folks taking semaglutide misplaced a mean of 34 kilos in lower than 16 weeks, in comparison with 6 kilos in these taking a placebo.

Dr. C. Nicole Swiner, a household doctor in Durham, North Carolina, stated she began taking Wegovy in 2021 after seeing how effectively it helped her sufferers. She has misplaced 30 kilos since then, she stated.

“As a result of I am not ravenous, I can truly cease and make a better determination. [rather] that, ‘Oh my God, I am voracious. Let me take no matter is within the workplace kitchen,’ which is normally junk,” Swiner stated.

C.Nicole Swiner.  (Chris Charles)

C.Nicole Swiner. (Chris Charles)

On Wegovy, she added, she eats much less general and has changed sugary treats like cookies or muffins with more healthy options like yogurt or fruit.

For Yazeed, weight reduction was not the explanation she went to Ozempic, nor a objective. However on remedy, she stated, she needed to pressure herself to eat and infrequently could not swallow something past a protein shake within the morning. On day, she will be able to additionally tolerate slightly rooster broth.

She misplaced 10 kilos in two months, going from a dimension 12 to a dimension 8 or 10.

Sufferers who cease taking the medicine typically regain weight

Like many medicines, the results of semaglutide cease when sufferers wash it off, so some folks acquire weight. Specialists stated they contemplate Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong medicines.

“Knowledge from our scientific trials for Wegovy confirmed that, unsurprisingly, sufferers regain weight as soon as they cease taking the drug,” Novo Nordisk informed NBC Information in a press release.

“This confirms the assumption that weight problems is a persistent illness that requires long-term administration, very like hypertension or excessive ldl cholesterol, for which most sufferers stay on long-term therapy,” the corporate added. .

Ebony Wiggins, who has kind 2 diabetes, stated she gained about 15 kilos of the 25 she misplaced final 12 months whereas taking Ozempic.

Artemis Bayandor, who lives in Naperville, Illinois, stated she weighs extra now than when she took Wegovy: a month after stopping the drug, she regained the 15 kilos she misplaced with the drug, she stated, plus 10 extra. the following six months.

“The primary week I used to be fantastic, and the second week I went again to all of the cravings, solely worse,” Bayandor stated.

Unintended effects deter some folks from taking medicine

Courtney Hamilton did not spend greater than a month on Ozempic, which her physician prescribed off-label as a result of Hamilton has kind 1 diabetes, not kind 2.

Her nausea acquired so unhealthy she may barely eat, Hamilton stated, and the meals she may tolerate weren’t significantly wholesome.

“Mockingly, this compelled me to stay to very starchy, excessive carb meals like potatoes as a result of they’re very bland. I ate quite a lot of it and quite a lot of plain toast,” she stated.

Individuals normally begin with a low dose of Ozempic or Wegovy after which improve to scale back unwanted side effects. Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, assistant professor of drugs at Massachusetts Common Hospital, stated some critical results may very well be the results of rising this dose too shortly.

“If the affected person says, ‘Oh my god, I am sick. I can not even go to work, I am throwing up all day, ‘most likely the dose simply is not proper for them,’ Stanford stated.

In scientific trials, 73% of adults taking the very best dose of Wegovy reported gastrointestinal issues. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and upset abdomen are the commonest. Some folks have reported extra critical, although uncommon, unwanted side effects comparable to pancreatitis and kidney failure.

Novo Nordisk stated sufferers with nausea as a facet impact ought to contact their healthcare supplier for recommendation on methods to handle it.

Jastreboff stated she encourages her sufferers to eat smaller, extra frequent meals, to not eat past the purpose of satiety, and to look at which meals exacerbate their signs. Most unwanted side effects happen when folks improve their dose after which go away as soon as they attain the upkeep section, she added.

Megan Cornelius, who has been taking Ozempic off-label for kind 1 diabetes for a number of years, stated she was nauseous and drained at first, however these results pale over time.

“So long as I can preserve taking it, I most likely will,” Cornelius stated.

Eric Joiner Jr. (Courtesy of Eric Joiner Jr.)

Eric Joiner Jr. (Courtesy of Eric Joiner Jr.)

For Eric Joiner Jr., a former kind 2 diabetic, Ozempic did nothing past the meant impact: enhance his kidney operate – an off-label software of the drug. Joiner developed persistent kidney illness as a byproduct of his diabetes.

He hasn’t skilled any unwanted side effects or weight reduction with Ozempic, he stated, however he acknowledges that is not true for everybody.

“On the finish of the day, it is a very private factor,” he stated. “Your biology is totally different from mine.”

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