You may have seen videos on social media circulating about asking doctors to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss. Ozempic is a drug used to treat diabetes. In December of 2017, Ozempic has been approved by the FDA for blood sugar control in Type II diabetes, as well as to decrease the risk of adverse cardiovascular events in those who have both Type II diabetes & established heart disease. Does it actually work, and is it safe?
Ozempic Weight Loss Mechanism: How Does Ozempic Work?
Ozempic is a medication primarily made up of semaglutide. Semaglutide is a pharmaceutical that mimics a hormone called glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1). When you eat food that gets broken down into glucose, the gut will sense the glucose that’s been added to your body and release the hormone GLP-1, which stimulates the release of insulin from your pancreas. In people with Type II Diabetes, this process doesn’t work properly. So, taking Ozempic would help them with insulin production since it gives patients the GLP-1 boost they need. GLP-1 agonist medications also increase satiety when eating. This means that the drugs help your gut to quickly send a message to your brain telling your brain that you are full when eating. This also helps with weight loss since people who feel fuller faster tend to eat less overall.
Wegovy Vs Ozempic
Wegovy is another medication primarily made up of semaglutide. It’s made by the same company that made Ozempic, but it was FDA-approved in June 2021 specifically for weight loss. Ozempic is still primarily a diabetes drug. The Wegovy dosage starts out lower but is gradually increased over 16-20 weeks to the maximum dosage of 2.4mg once weekly. This gradual increase is to lessen the likelihood of gastrointestinal side effects.
Per the FDA, adults without diabetes who took Wegovy for 68 weeks lost an average of 12.4% of their initial body weight compared to individuals who received no drug at all (placebo). Adults with Type II diabetes who took Wegovy lost 6.2% of their initial body weight compared to those people who received placebo.
Trulicity Vs Ozempic
Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide) are both GLP-1 agonists and are approved to treat Type 2 diabetes. In trials (Trial Name: SUSTAIN 7), semaglutide was found to be superior to dulaglutide in the areas of glucose control, Hemoglobin A1C levels, and weight loss. This is why further studies were done for weight loss with semaglutide, and then, Wegovy was approved for weight loss. Ozempic is technically only approved for use in persons with Diabetes Type 2.
Mounjaro Weight Loss
Mounjaro is the brand name of a new medication called trizepatide which is the first in its class of drugs. It not only activates the GLP-1 receptors like semaglutide does, but it also activates the glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptors. When you eat food and it is broken down and sent to the gut, the gut’s enteric lining is stimulated to release GIP. GIP then binds the GIP receptors on pancreatic beta cells, which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin. GIP also plays a role in obesity, since the inhibition of endogenous GIP has been found to make the body spend more energy, causing weight loss. Since Mounjaro acts on these receptors as well, it can assist with weight loss in addition to diabetes management.
What Are The Risks Of Ozempic And Wegovy?
Ozempic & Wegovy both should not be used in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia type II due to the potential risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. They both also come with potential risks of pancreatitis, gallstones, acute kidney injury, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Wegovy also has risks of diabetic retinopathy and suicidal thoughts, while Ozempic has risks of worsening gastroparesis and inflammatory bowel disease. Overall, however, they tend to be well tolerated and any GI side effects usually resolve in a day.
Wilding JPH, Batterham RL, Calanna S, Davies M, Van Gaal LF, Lingvay I, McGowan BM, Rosenstock J, Tran MTD, Wadden TA, Wharton S, Yokote K, Zeuthen N, Kushner RF; STEP 1 Study Group. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. N Engl J Med. 2021 Mar 18;384(11):989-1002. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2032183. Epub 2021 Feb 10. PMID: 33567185.
Fukuda M. The Role of GIP Receptor in the CNS for the Pathogenesis of Obesity. Diabetes. 2021 Sep;70(9):1929-1937. doi: 10.2337/dbi21-0001. Epub 2021 Jun 27. PMID: 34176784; PMCID: PMC8576424.
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