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People are pinning their hopes for their weight loss goals on this diabetes drug

Should you try to use this diabetes drug for weight loss? What to know about the TikTok trend

A new TikTok weight loss trend has emerged – and this one may have some validity.

Ozempic, a prescription drug for Type 2 diabetes, is known for helping people with the chronic condition manage their blood sugar levels. But a noted side effect is aiding in weight loss. The hashtag #ozempic has racked up more than 250 million views on TikTok.

Tesla founder and new Twitter head honcho Elon Musk credits Ozempic’s sister drug, Wegovy, and fasting for his weight loss. 

a bottle of pills
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Dr. Sultan Linjawi, an endocrine and diabetes specialist, told Newsweek that the diabetes medications could help people lose between 20 to 100 pounds when taken in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet and weight-loss program. How?

The drugs trigger the body’s blood sugar receptors. 

“They are based on naturally occurring human chemicals called GLP-1 molecules,” Linjawi explained to Newsweek. “These hormones effectively do three things: They’re released by us humans when we eat to increase insulin release, they reduce the amount of glucose that the liver produces, and they tell us we are full.”

Linjawi said that Ozempic and Wegovy could help people with obesity feel satisfied, which they can struggle to do naturally because they are less sensitive to satiety-inducing hormones.

“I’ve got loads of patients who say to me, ‘For the first time, I understand what feeling full is.’ And those guys lose kilos and kilos of weight,” Linjawi said.

Another doctor told Good Morning America her patients had similar reactions.

“Obesity is [complex]. It’s all-encompassing of genetic, occupational, hormonal, physical, mental, and social factors,” said Dr. Marlena Klein, DO, DABOM, obesity medicine specialist at Cooper University Health Care. “Patients have hugged me in the office and said I’ve changed their life because it allowed them to make changes.”

It should go without saying that you shouldn’t take medical advice from TikTok or Elon Musk. So, should non-diabetics be taking them?

Wegovy has FDA approval for chronic weight management. It’s been tested on people without diabetes for side effects. 

“Safety-wise, there are no major concerns,” Linjawi said.

Linawi doesn’t think it’s unreasonable for people without diabetes to use the drugs.

“I don’t think that’s an unreasonable thing,” Linjawi said. “The world perceives diabetes as an illness but perceives obesity as a lifestyle…. Part of that, I suspect, is that if governments agree that obesity is a disease, they have to start funding obesity treatment.”

The bad news: Both Ozempic and Wegovy are experiencing a shortage. But that gives you time to discuss whether the drugs are right for off-label use to aid in weight management with your doctor. There are many ways to get weight under control, including lifestyle tweaks, and different people have unique needs and goals. Your doctor can provide insights and help you reach the best benchmarks for you physically and mentally. 

BethAnn Mayer
Beth Ann's work has appeared on healthline.com and parents.com. In her spare time, you can find her running (either marathons…
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