Ozempic, a weight-loss drug, entered the public consciousness last year, and the demand for the drug on social media Deficiency in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Now, people are becoming aware of the drug’s side effects, which can include skin rashes, known as “Ozempic face.”

Dr. Lyle Leipziger, MD, chief of plastic surgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center, said, “Any rapid weight loss results in fat loss in many areas of the body, especially in the face, which reduces tissue and skin.” . “Slowly progressive weight loss can cause facial skin to retract, so it’s not as harmful as rapid weight loss.”

Recent articles by People And New York Times Note that unwanted side effects can be corrected, but often with expensive fillers and cosmetic surgery.

“The goal of weight loss is to improve health,” said Dr. Vadim Sherman, MD, director of bariatric and metabolic surgery at Houston Methodist Hospital. “You can lose fat and weight, but the result is that the skin is already stretched.”

This may be the most visible effect, but it is not the only one, and certainly not the most serious effect. People who take the drug may experience complications including vomiting and pancreatitis, although side effects are generally rare.

Dr. Latasha Selby Perkins, a family physician in Washington, D.C. and a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said most of the side effects were documented in clinical trials of people taking the drug for its approved purpose. We don’t know what happens to people who take these drugs because they want to lose a little weight, which is not an FDA-approved use.

Ozempic (brand name semaglutide) was first approved in 2017 to lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. But clinical trials soon revealed an important side effect: weight loss. This is especially important for people with type 2 diabetes, many of whom are medically obese or overweight.

So in the year In 2021, the Food and Drug Administration granted another approval, this time for weight loss but for people with a body mass index of 27 or higher who have at least one related medical condition and a BMI of 30 or higher. The drug’s brand name was changed to Wegovy and higher doses were approved.

Both Wegovy and Ozempic belong to a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists, which work in different ways to block the GLP-1 receptors in the brain that stimulate appetite. GLP stands for glucagon-like peptide-1, a hormone involved in controlling blood sugar levels. Other GLP-1 agonists include Rybelsus (semaglutide), Saxenda (liraglutide), and Munjaro (Tirzepatide).

Lack of medicine for those who really need it

The weight loss associated with Ozympic and related drugs has made it attractive to people who do not have type 2 diabetes or who meet other FDA criteria for use of the drug. This has created shortages for people who need it most and should be taking the drug—those with type 2 diabetes.

“While there is a weight-loss component to the drug, it is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes,” Perkins said. Not necessarily for other people.

In the long term, not getting this medication can lead to kidney, heart and eye disease and death in people with type 2 diabetes, even though there are other medications on the market that can help lower blood sugar. “Diabetes can really take a toll on people’s lives,” Perkins said.

recently, Comedian Chelsea manager She said she didn’t even know what medication she was taking to lose 5 pounds. (When she realized she was not a candidate for the drug, she stopped using it.)

This brings up an important point: Know which medications you’re taking and read their package, said Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, a medical toxicologist and interim executive director. National Capital Poison Center.

Take note for those who are intimidated by multiple folds and fine print. All you have to do is scan the beginning, Johnson-Arbor said.

“The front page is usually a good place for an overview,” she said. At the top is a box with any relevant health warnings (such as cancer), followed by additional warnings and adverse reactions.

Here are some side effects of Ozempic and other drugs in the same class.

Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain

Gastrointestinal symptoms are among the most common side effects of GLP-1 agonists, Johnson-Arbor said. This is not surprising, since Ozympic, Wegovi and other similar drugs act on different organs of the digestive system. “Your GI tract is a little more sensitive to this drug,” Perkins said.

In clinical trials, nausea occurred in 20% of people taking 1 mg Ozempic, 16% at the 0.5 mg dose, and 6% of people taking placebo. Vomiting and diarrhea were less common but still occurred in about 9% of subjects at the 1 mg dose compared to 2% of placebo subjects.

Diarrhea and vomiting can lead to another unwanted effect: dehydration. “When you’re dehydrated, your body needs to use some of its water sources to get rid of the food,” Perkins says. “Same as diarrhea.”

Often these effects are mild, but they can cause people to stop taking the drug, Sherman said. The best measure of how hydrated you are is your urine output – you should go to the bathroom every hour or two. If this subsides every third or fourth hour, call your doctor’s office for advice. Less than that, visit urgent care or the emergency room, Perkins said. And always rinse with water.

At the 1 mg dose, 6% reported abdominal pain and 3% reported constipation.

Kidney damage

Sometimes dehydration is so bad it can cause kidney damage, Johnson-Arbor said. A patient taking Ozempic Important temporary washing After increasing the dosage. Kidney function is reduced Two more individuals Taking Ozempic, despite both having kidney disease from long-standing diabetes, like two others Taking GLP-1 agonists.

“Kidneys do the job of filtering urine and taking the things you need [the] body,” Perkins explained. “You need water to pump through the kidneys. If you don’t have enough water, it will start to take its toll.

Experts recommend that people with kidney disease use caution when using GLP-1 agonists. If you are taking one of these medications and experience severe and persistent nausea, vomiting, or other GI side effects, consult a doctor. “It’s a good idea to do some labs to see if something else is going on,” Johnson-Arbor said.

A racing heart can be another consequence of dehydration, Perkins said.


Many urgent issues Pancreatitis It has been reported in people taking GLP-1 agonists. Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas – the main gland to produce insulin. Symptoms include nausea and vomiting, fever, rapid heartbeat, distended and painful stomach, and yellow skin and eyes.

“If you have a history of pancreatitis, you may want to be careful when taking Ozympic, although it has occurred in people without a history,” Johnson-Arbor said.

Risk of thyroid cancer

Researchers have seen a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma, but only in mice given the drug. Although it can be a danger to people. The first GLP-1 agonist was only approved 20 years ago, so we don’t have a lot of data on long-term side effects, Johnson-Arbor said.

“People need to know, this is a rare cancer that can take years to develop,” she continued. Do not take these medications if you have a history of thyroid disease. In addition, this cancer may be unique to mice with large numbers of GLP-1 agonists in the thyroid, she added.

Symptoms of thyroid problems may include swelling in your throat, trouble swallowing, hoarse voice, or shortness of breath.


According to Johnson-Arbor, gastroparesis is “also called delayed gastric emptying. Although there is no blockage in the stomach or intestines, it is a disorder that slows or stops the movement of food from your stomach to your small intestine, she explained.

While this may make you feel fuller, nausea and vomiting are more likely, Sherman said, adding that stomach upset and other GI effects seem to go away after you stop taking the drug.

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