In recent years, there has been a surge in the use of Ozempic as a weight-loss drug, particularly among young girls. While Ozempic is primarily prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes to manage their blood sugar levels, its ability to promote rapid weight loss has made it a popular off-label use among non-diabetic people seeking to shed pounds quick. On Facebook, groups dedicated to the use of Ozempic for weight loss have thousands of followers, and videos under the hashtag #Ozempic has nearly 600 million views on TikTok. The global spike in demand is currently causing a shortage already in some places in the world.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a prescription drug that belongs to a class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. It is used to help manage blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes by mimicking the action of a naturally occurring hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). GLP-1 helps to regulate insulin secretion, control appetite, and lower blood sugar levels. Ozempic works by stimulating the release of insulin in response to glucose in the bloodstream, slowing down the absorption of glucose from the gut and reducing the production of glucose by the liver.
Why are More Women Using Ozempic to Lose Weight?
While Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, many girls have turned to it as the go-to for becoming thinner. The drug’s ability to suppress appetite and increase feelings of fullness has made it an attractive option for those looking to lose weight quickly and easily. In addition, Ozempic has been shown to lower body weight and body mass index (BMI) in clinical trials, making it a viable option for those struggling with obesity.
However, it’s important to note that Ozempic is not a magic pill for weight loss. It still requires a healthy diet and regular exercise to be effective. Moreover, Ozempic is not suitable for everyone and can have serious side effects. With thinness dominating the fashion world again (some people argue that it never really went away), it’s just proof of how easily body weight can be influenced by the trend cycle. But the fact that many people are willing to achieve thinness by any means necessary and subject themselves to regular injections and potentially uncomfortable side effects in the name of fitting into a narrow beauty standard, is unnerving but not surprising. After years of branded body positivity, we don’t see plus-size models dominating the catwalks during fashion week anymore. With the rise of Ozempic’s popularity, it’s clear that as a society, we still put excessive importance on physical appearance.
The Ozempic trend started on TikTok and has long been embraced by a lot of people worldwide, regardless of its potential risk. Me I trust the true African in me to be cautious even before confirming what the risks are. There have even been numerous rumours of celebrities using it to lose weight like Adele who lost 100lbs in 2 years, or Kim Kardashian who lost so much weight to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s dress for the 2022 Met Gala, which she has since denied. Only a few people have publicly admitted to using the drug like Elon Musk, who actually tweeted about losing 30lbs using the pen injection. With the emergence of Ozempic, celebrities and influencers are promoting unattainable beauty standards and ideals to impressionable young adults. And with the rise of social media comes the rise of unrealistic beauty standards that more people are exposed to daily.
Even beauty spa’s in Lagos are now selling it as a “skinny pen” and advertising it as a weight loss option, meaning more people from this part of the world will soon jump on the trend because it’s becoming more and more accessible. And it’s not cheap! The Ozempic pen injection costs between N100,000-N250,000. Initially, it was the intermittent fasting trend and everyone seemed to be doing it. Even me, I’m also guilty. I have ulcer and at the time, I didn’t mind at all because every other person was doing it. But I had to eventually stop when I was rushed to the hospital for an ulcer attack. That’s when I turned a more scrutinising eye on the diet culture I had been trapped in since my teenage years.
Then there was Apethamin. The illegal syrup people were taking to gain weight even though it was never approved by NAFDAC. Now, we’re dealing with Ozempic because people are ready to go through drastic lengths to lose weight quickly. And just like the fad diets which have preceded it, Ozempic only works while you’re on it, with many prior users reporting that they gained all the weight back, and more, since they stopped using it. Once there is a sudden spike in a type of trend, everyone wants to hop on it. We draw our insights from Hollywood and forget we don’t have the type of medical attention celebrities are privileged to. This is also the cause of the increase in the number of women going under the knife for BBL surgeries in Nigeria. But that’s a conversation for another day.
Potential Risks and Benefits of Ozempic for Weight Loss
There are potential risks and benefits to using Ozempic for weight loss. On the one hand, the drug is effective at reducing body weight and BMI, and it may be a useful tool for those struggling with obesity. Moreover, it has been shown to have positive effects on other health markers, such as reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
On the other hand, Ozempic can have serious side effects, including pancreatitis, kidney problems, and thyroid cancer. It can also cause low blood sugar levels which can be dangerous for those who are not diabetic. Furthermore, it is important to note that Ozempic is not a long-term solution for weight loss and should only be used under the supervision of a healthcare professional.
The Ozempic epidemic has led to a surge in the use of the drug as a weight-loss aid, particularly among young women. While Ozempic is effective at reducing body weight and BMI, it can have serious side effects and is not suitable for everyone. It is important to consult your healthcare professional before using Ozempic for weight loss and to remember that it is not a substitute for a healthy diet and regular exercise.