For the two months Kerry Yazid took Ozempic, the drug worked as intended. Yazid has type 2 diabetes and weekly injections have lowered her blood sugar levels. But she developed intolerable side effects, including vomiting, fatigue, headaches and stomach cramps.

Five weeks after taking the medication, she was found unable to get off the bathroom floor, says Yazid.

“I was so vomited that I didn’t have the energy to get up, so I just lay there,” she said. “I couldn’t even lift my head to vomit in the commode. It was so bad.”

Dr. Kerry Yazid.  (Courtesy Kerry Yazid.)

Dr. Kerry Yazid. (Courtesy Kerry Yazid.)

The serious problems Yazid had are not uncommon, but people’s experiences of taking Ozympic and its sister Wegovi can vary widely — from weight loss and minimal discomfort at one end to severe side effects. In another.

NBC News spoke to 10 people about their experiences taking these blockbuster drugs, both types of semaglutide. They are designed to mimic the hormone that signals to the brain when a person is full and triggers the release of insulin, which keeps blood sugar from rising too high. In turn, the drugs can lower blood sugar levels and curb appetite.

They have increased in popularity over the past year, partly due to social media attention and Billionaires like Elon Musk Referring to the drug’s weight loss effects.

Data from SingleCare, a drug discount company with more than 5 million members, showed that prescriptions for Ozympic tripled from 2021 to 2022. Last year, it led to high demand and global supply shortages Lack of medicine. According to the FDA, a Wegovi deficiency In March 2022, followed by a Olympic deficiency In August.

Many people interviewed said that the benefits of the drugs outweighed the side effects.

“It feels easy to move around. My clothes fit so much better and fit better,” says label director Stacey Bollinger. In Maryland, he reported losing 52 pounds after starting Wegovin. “Something as simple as bending down to tie my shoes is so easy.”

Stacey Bollinger (courtesy Stacey Bollinger)

Stacey Bollinger (courtesy Stacey Bollinger)

Some people reported that they felt better on the drugs. But Yazid and other couples have described side effects that forced them to stop taking the drugs or question whether they could stay on them long-term.

Obesity treatment experts who prescribe Ozympic and Wegovin say the drugs can change patients’ lives and health. The weight loss results allow patients to do activities they could not do before, such as chasing after the grandchildren or finding clothes that fit in department stores. Semaglutide can also reduce the risk of obesity and diabetes-related health issues, such as heart attack or stroke.

“By treating obesity, we are treating more than 200 other obesity-related or weight-related diseases,” said Dr. Anya Jastreboff, associate professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. Jastreboff serves on the scientific advisory board of Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozympic and Wegovin.

Amazing weight loss accounts

The Food and Drug Administration approved Ozympic in 2017 for people with type 2 diabetes, then Wegovy – the same drug, at a higher dose – in 2021 for adults who are obese or overweight and at least one overweight. Related health conditions, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol. Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, but doctors sometimes prescribe it off-label for that purpose.

Most people who took Ozympic or Wegovin reported that it curbed their hunger and reduced their desire to eat unhealthy foods. Bollinger and Randy Lee Harper, a software developer in the Seattle area, said they each lost more than 50 pounds.

Harper took it Ozempic Off-label for weight loss from May to November (paused when moving to Washington state but plans to start again). She said she still enjoyed her favorite foods — like truffle mac cheese and Sour Patch Kids candy — but her portions were smaller.

“When you’re obese, you don’t realize that your life is centered around food until you’re on a diet, which is like being on Ozempic,” Harper said.

For the most part, she adds, she responds well to the medication, although she sometimes gets upset if she eats too much — a very common side effect.

As for Bollinger, in addition to losing weight, she said her average blood sugar levels have dropped to the point where she is no longer pre-diabetic.

A Research In more than 1,000 people with type 2 diabetes, semaglutide was found to be more effective at lowering blood sugar than insulin. The participants did not see any effect from other antidiabetic drugs they continued to take during the trial. In another Research In nearly 2,000 overweight or obese people without diabetes, those taking semaglutide lost an average of 34 pounds in less than 16 weeks, compared with 6 pounds among those receiving a placebo.

Dr. C. Nicole Swinner, a family medicine doctor in Durham, North Carolina, said she started taking Wegovin in 2021 after seeing how much it helped her patients. Since then, she has lost 30 pounds, she said.

“Because I’m not hungry, I can actually stop and make better decisions [rather] Oh my god, I’m a curmudgeon. Let me have everything in the office kitchen, which is usually a mess.” Swinner said.

c.  Nicole Swinner.  (Chris Charles)

c. Nicole Swinner. (Chris Charles)

On Wegovy, she generally eats less and replaces sweet treats like cookies or muffins with healthier options like yogurt or fruit.

For Yezid, losing weight was not her reason for going on the Olympic Games, nor was it her goal. But on the medication, she says she has to force herself to eat and often can’t stomach anything more than a protein shake in the morning. On a good day, she can even tolerate some chicken soup.

She lost 10 pounds in two months, going from 12 to 8 or 10.

Patients who stop taking the drug often regain their weight

Like many drugs, the effects of semaglutide stop when patients withdraw from it, so some people Regaining weight. Experts consider Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong drugs.

“Data from our clinical trials with Wegovy show that, rather than suddenly, patients regain weight after they stop taking the drug,” Novo Nordisk said in a statement to NBC News.

“This supports the belief that obesity, like high blood pressure or high cholesterol, is a chronic disease that requires long-term treatment,” the company added.

Ebony Wiggins, who has type 2 diabetes, says she gained 15 pounds of the 25 pounds she lost last year while taking Ozympic.

Artemis Bayador, of Naperville, Illinois, said she weighed more than when she started taking Vegovin: Within a month of stopping the drug, she regained 15 pounds, and another 10 over the next six months.

“I was fine for the first week, and the second week I was back to all my moods, but worse,” Bayandor said.

Side effects put some people off the medication

Courtney Hamilton hasn’t spent more than a month on Ozympic, which Hamilton prescribed off-label because Hamilton has type 1 diabetes, not type 2.

Her nausea was so bad she couldn’t eat, Hamilton said, and the foods she was tolerating weren’t particularly healthy.

“Ironically, it made me stick to starchy, high-carb foods like potatoes. I ate that and a lot of plain toast,” she said.

People usually start with a low dose of Ozempic or Wegovy, then increase it to reduce side effects. Dr. Fatima Cody-Stanford, an assistant professor of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said some serious consequences could result from increasing that amount too quickly.

“The patient said, ‘Oh, I’m sick. I can’t even go to work, I’m vomiting all day, maybe the size isn’t right for them,” Stanford said.

in Clinical trials73% of adults who took the highest dose of Wegovy reported gastrointestinal problems. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and abdominal pain are very common. Some people have reported More serious, though rare, side effects such as pancreatitis and kidney failure.

Novo Nordisk said patients who experience nausea as a side effect should contact their healthcare provider for guidance on treatment options.

Jastreboff says she encourages her patients to eat smaller, more frequent meals, avoid binge eating, and track which foods make their symptoms worse. Most of the side effects occur when people increase the dose and then taper off after reaching a maintenance level, he said.

Megan Cornelius, who was taking Ozpic off-label for type 1 diabetes, had nausea and fatigue at first, but the effects gradually faded.

“As long as I keep taking it, I probably will,” Cornelius said.

Eric Joyner Jr. (by Eric Joyner Jr.)

Eric Joyner Jr. (by Eric Joyner Jr.)

For Eric Joyner Jr., a former type 2 diabetic, Ozympic did nothing but its intended effect: improve kidney function—an off-label application of the drug. Joyner developed chronic kidney disease due to diabetes.

He has not experienced side effects or weight loss from Ozempic, but he understands that this is not true for everyone.

“At the end of the day, it’s a very personal thing,” he said. “Your biology is different from mine.”

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