Ozempic, a diabetes drug being used for weight loss, could cause severe side effects

In recent months, there has been a spike in demand for Ozempic, or semaglutide, due to its weight loss benefits
-Credit: (Image: Mario Tama/Getty Images)

People have been warned about the strong side effects of a popular jab that is being used .

The surge in popularity of Ozempic has seen a national shortage for those who need the treatment for medical reasons - particularly people with type 2 diabetes. The medication has been described by many as an 'off-label weight-management drug', as it can potentially lead to weight loss. The manufacturers of the drug say: Ozempic® is a medicine for adults with type 2 diabetes that, along with diet and exercise, may improve blood sugar. While not for weight loss, Ozempic® may help you lose some weight.'

However, warnings have been issued over side effects that can occur when taking Ozempic, such as stomach paralysis. Health experts at Now Patient have shared everything there is to know about Ozempic, including the potential side effects.

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Ozempic is indicated for the treatment of adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus as an adjunct to diet and exercise (as monotherapy or in combination with other medicines for treatment of diabetes). The main action of the treatment is to lower the body’s blood sugar by encouraging the pancreas to make insulin.

However, the medication can potentially lead to an average weight loss of around 15%, alongside changes to diet and exercise. In a statement, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said that although Ozempic was not approved for weight loss, "it is commonly used off-label for that purpose" in Britain.

According to health experts at Now Patient, Ozempic helps to reduce an individual's appetite, while increasing the amount of time it takes food to exit the stomach, which in turn makes a person feel fuller for longer. It’s for these reasons that some people are now using Ozempic to encourage faster weight loss. However, the drug hasn’t been regulated for anything other than type 2 diabetes.

Besides a reduced appetite, Now Patient experts say other side effects can include the following:

  • Reduced appetite

  • Nausea

  • Diarrohea

  • Dizziness

  • Vomiting

Navin Khosla, pharmacist at Now Patient, has commented on the rise in the number of people using Ozempic for weight loss. He said: "Ozempic is rapidly becoming a well-known drug due to it being mentioned in news articles and headlines around the world.

"As celebrities are now leading the way in using this drug for weight loss, it has resulted in over 75,000 online searches being made in the last year alone for the term ‘buy Ozempic online’, people need to be aware of the risk before purchasing the drug."

But the pharmacist warns Ozempic should only be used for one reason - ands that's not for losing weight. He said: "Firstly, Ozempic is a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes so it should only be used for that reason.

"But for anyone purchasing Ozempic, especially online, it’s important to source it from a regulated company so that you know the drug is fit for purpose and not illegally made and imported. Like all drugs, Ozempic does have a number of potential side effects which some people may experience.

"Some of these include vomiting, nausea and constipation. So it’s important to be aware of these dangers before using the medication."

He added: "If you’re struggling with weight loss, we encourage you to explore the best avenues which don’t include medication and if you feel like you aren’t seeing the results you’d like to, there could be an underlying issue behind this so speak to your GP and they can give you the best advice possible."

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