Celebrities have long been known to experiment with diet fads and medications to maintain their appearance, often promoting unrealistic expectations for the public.
The latest in a series of controversies involves the off-label use of Ozempic, a type 2 diabetes medication, by Hollywood stars like Mindy Kaling, the Kardashians, and Julia Fox. Some celebrities are sparking conversations by attributing their significant weight loss to dedication and exercise, while rumors circulate about potential Ozempic use to enhance their results.
Ozempic: The Medication at the Center of the Controversy
Ozempic, FDA-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, helps control blood sugar levels by enhancing the effects of the naturally occurring hormone GLP-1.
While not officially a weight loss drug, studies suggest that people who take Ozempic may lose modest amounts of weight while on the medication. In fact, its active ingredient, semaglutide, is FDA-approved at higher doses for treating individuals living with obesity and other weight-related medical problems under the name Wegovy.
The Off-Label Use of Ozempic
Due to a Wegovy shortage coupled with Ozempic’s weight loss effects going viral on social media, people without type 2 diabetes have begun using Ozempic off-label for weight loss.
This trend, fuelled by the alleged use of the drug by celebrities, poses significant risks to public health and perpetuates the harmful notion that rapid, unsustainable weight loss is achievable and desirable.
Clinical Trials and Weight Loss
In a clinical trial sponsored by Novo Nordisk, the company that makes Ozempic, 1,961 adults with excess weight or obesity who did not have diabetes were given 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide or a placebo once a week for 68 weeks, along with lifestyle intervention.
Those who took semaglutide lost 14.9% of their body weight, compared with 2.4% for those who took the placebo.
It’s important to note that the dose of semaglutide used in this study was higher than the dose provided by Ozempic. However, 2.4 milligrams is the dose of semaglutide in the FDA-approved weight loss drug Wegovy.
This crucial detail is often overlooked when promoting Ozempic as a weight loss solution.
The Dangers of Off-Label Use
While taking semaglutide may help you lose weight while you are on the drug, most people will regain much of that weight if they discontinue using it.
Studies show that stopping Ozempic completely will likely lead to regaining most of the weight lost within several months. This unsustainable approach to weight loss can lead to a cycle of yo-yo dieting. This is harmful to both physical and mental health.
Moreover, off-label use of Ozempic can lead to potential adverse events. This is especially true for those with contraindications like a history of medullary thyroid cancer, multiple endocrine neoplasia, or a history of pancreatitis.
Common side effects of Ozempic include gastrointestinal issues like nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation. These can be exacerbated when used without proper medical supervision.
The Dangers of Diet Fads and Misinformation
Every few years, a new diet fad or medication takes Hollywood by storm, often with little regard for the potential risks. Misinformation spreads quickly, leading to a surge in off-label use of drugs like Ozempic, which can have dangerous consequences.
Ozempic is not suitable for everyone, and using it without proper medical supervision can lead to side effects and health issues. People with conditions like pancreatitis, type 1 diabetes, diabetic retinopathy, or a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma should avoid using Ozempic.
Moreover, using it for short-term, cosmetic weight loss is not recommended, as the weight is likely to be regained once the medication is discontinued.
The Impact on Ozempic Availability
Off-label Ozempic use for weight loss impacts its availability for those who need it, like individuals with type 2 diabetes. Supply chain strains and inventory issues worsen the situation, making it hard for patients to access the medication for effective condition management.
The Role of Celebrities in Promoting Unsafe Practices
Celebrities greatly influence public opinion, and promoting unproven weight loss methods can lead to risky trends. By implying that their weight loss is solely due to hard work, they may mislead fans and encourage harmful strategies.
Public figures should be transparent about their weight loss journey and methods. Misleading fans and promoting off-label drug use can have serious consequences, particularly with prescription medications that have risks and side effects.
The Importance of Safe Weight Loss Practices
Ozempic is not a miracle weight loss drug, and its off-label use for cosmetic weight loss can be potentially dangerous. Additionally, this misuse negatively impacts those who rely on the medication for their health.
Hollywood’s celebrities have a responsibility to be honest about their weight loss methods and refrain from promoting potentially harmful practices. The public, in turn, must be cautious about following diet fads and medications without proper research and medical consultation. It is crucial to prioritize health and well-being over quick fixes and unsustainable weight loss methods.