What it’s like to take Ozempic or Wegovy for weight loss or diabetes

For the 2 months Carey Yazeed took Ozempic, the drug labored as meant. Yazeed has sort 2 diabetes, and the weekly injection lowered her blood sugar ranges. But it additionally introduced uncomfortable side effects she thought of insufferable, together with vomiting, fatigue, complications and abdomen cramps.Five weeks into taking the medicine, Yazeed stated, she discovered herself unable to transfer off the toilet ground.”I had vomited a lot that I didn’t have the vitality to rise up and I used to be mainly mendacity in it,” she stated. “I couldn’t even increase my head to vomit within the commode. It was so unhealthy.”Carey Yazeed.Courtesy Carey Yazeed.The extreme results Yazeed confronted aren’t widespread, however individuals’s experiences taking Ozempic and its sister drug, Wegovy, can fluctuate extensively — from substantial weight loss and minimal discomfort on one finish of the spectrum to excessive results on the opposite.NBC News spoke to 10 individuals about their experiences taking these blockbuster medication, each of that are types of semaglutide. They’re designed to mimic a hormone that alerts to the mind when an individual is full and promotes the discharge of insulin, a hormone that stops blood sugar from getting too excessive. In flip, the drugs can decrease blood sugar ranges and suppress appetites.They have soared in reputation over the past 12 months, partly from social media consideration and billionaires like Elon Musk touting the medication’ weight loss results.Prescriptions for Ozempic tripled from 2021 to 2022, in accordance to knowledge from the prescription drug low cost firm SingleCare, which has greater than 5 million members. Last 12 months, excessive demand and international provide constraints gave rise to shortages of the drugs. The FDA reported a Wegovy scarcity in March 2022, adopted by an Ozempic scarcity in August.Several individuals interviewed stated the advantages they received from the medication outweighed the uncomfortable side effects. “It simply feels lighter shifting round. My garments match so significantly better and extra comfortably,” stated Stacey Bollinger, an account director in Maryland, who reported shedding 52 kilos since beginning Wegovy. “Something so simple as bending over to tie my shoe is a lot simpler.”Stacey Bollinger.Courtesy Stacey BollingerSome individuals stated they felt high-quality on the drugs. But Yazeed and a few others described uncomfortable side effects that pressured them to cease taking the medication or query whether or not they might keep on them long run.Obesity medication consultants who prescribe Ozempic and Wegovy stated the medication can rework sufferers’ lives and well being. The weight loss results can allow sufferers to do actions they could not do beforehand, like chase after grandchildren or discover garments that match at mainstream shops. Semaglutide can even handle well being points linked to weight problems and diabetes, equivalent to an elevated threat of coronary heart assaults or stroke.”By treating weight problems, you’re successfully probably treating over 200 different obesity-related or weight-related ailments,” stated Dr. Ania Jastreboff, an affiliate professor of medication on the Yale School of Medicine. Jastreboff serves on the scientific advisory board of Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy.Accounts of dramatic weight lossThe Food and Drug Administration accepted Ozempic for individuals with sort 2 diabetes in 2017, then Wegovy — the identical drug, which works up to larger dosage — in 2021 for weight loss in adults with weight problems or these who’re obese and have least one weight-related well being situation, equivalent to hypertension or ldl cholesterol. Ozempic will not be accepted for weight loss, however docs typically prescribe it off-label for that function.Most individuals who took Ozempic or Wegovy stated it curbed their starvation and decreased cravings for unhealthy meals. Bollinger and Randi Lee Harper, a software program developer within the Seattle space, every reported shedding greater than 50 kilos.Harper took Ozempic off-label for weight loss from May till November (she paused whereas shifting to Washington state however plans to begin once more). She stated she nonetheless loved her favourite meals — like truffle mac n’ cheese and Sour Patch Kids sweet — however her parts have been smaller. “You don’t notice how a lot your life is centered round meals if you’re obese till you’re on a food plan that simply enables you to not give it some thought a lot, like on Ozempic,” Harper stated.For essentially the most half, she added, she reacted effectively to the medicine, although typically she burped if she ate an excessive amount of — a reasonably widespread facet impact.As for Bollinger, she stated that as well as to her weight loss, her common blood sugar ranges have dropped to some extent the place she’s not pre-diabetic.A research of greater than 1,000 individuals with sort 2 diabetes discovered that semaglutide was more practical than insulin at decreasing blood sugar. The members had not seen outcomes from different antidiabetic medication, which they continued to take through the trial. In one other research of practically 2,000 obese or overweight adults with out diabetes, individuals taking semaglutide misplaced a median of 34 kilos in lower than 16 weeks, in contrast to 6 kilos amongst these receiving a placebo.Dr. C. Nicole Swiner, a household medication physician in Durham, North Carolina, stated she began taking Wegovy in 2021 after seeing how a lot it helped her sufferers. She has misplaced 30 kilos since then, she stated.”Because I’m not ravenous, I can truly cease and make a better determination [rather] than, ‘Oh my God, I’m ravenous. Let me seize no matter’s within the workplace kitchen,’ which is normally junk,” Swiner stated. C. Nicole Swiner.Chris CharlesOn Wegovy, she added, she eats much less general and has swapped sugary treats like cookies or muffins for more healthy alternate options like yogurt or fruit.For Yazeed, weight loss was not the explanation she went on Ozempic, nor was it a objective. But on the drug, she stated, she had to drive herself to eat and infrequently couldn’t abdomen something past a protein shake within the morning. On day, she may also tolerate some hen broth.She misplaced 10 kilos in two months, going from a measurement 12 to an 8 or 10. Patients who cease taking the medication typically regain weightLike many medication, the results of semaglutide cease when sufferers go off of it, so some individuals regain weight. Experts stated they think about Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong drugs.”Data from our scientific trials for Wegovy confirmed that, not unexpectedly, sufferers expertise weight regain as soon as they cease taking the medicine,” Novo Nordisk advised NBC News in an announcement.”This helps the assumption that weight problems is a power illness that requires long-term administration, a lot like hypertension or excessive ldl cholesterol, for which most sufferers stay on remedy long run,” the corporate added.Ebony Wiggins, who has sort 2 diabetes, stated she has gained again about 15 kilos of the 25 she misplaced final 12 months whereas taking Ozempic.Artemis Bayandor, who lives in Naperville, Illinois, stated she weighs extra now than when she took Wegovy: Within one month of stopping the medicine, she gained again the 15 kilos she had misplaced on the drug, she stated, plus an additional 10 over the following six months.”For the primary week I used to be OK, and for the second week I went proper again to the entire cravings, however worse,” Bayandor stated.Side results put some individuals off the medicationsCourtney Hamilton did not made it greater than a month on Ozempic, which her physician prescribed off-label as a result of Hamilton has sort 1 diabetes, not sort 2.Her nausea received so unhealthy that she might barely eat, Hamilton stated, and the meals she might tolerate weren’t significantly wholesome.”Ironically, it made me stick to very starchy, carby meals like potatoes as a result of they’re very bland. I ate a whole lot of that and a whole lot of plain toast,” she stated.People sometimes begin with a low dose of Ozempic or Wegovy, then ramp up to scale back uncomfortable side effects. Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, an assistant professor of medication at Massachusetts General Hospital, stated some extreme results could also be the results of elevating that dosage too rapidly.”If the affected person’s saying, ‘Oh gosh, I’m sick. I can’t even go to work, I’m vomiting all day,’ it’s most likely the dose is simply not an applicable dose for them,” Stanford stated.In scientific trials, 73% of adults taking the best dose of Wegovy reported gastrointestinal points. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and abdomen ache are commonest. Some individuals have reported extra severe, albeit uncommon, uncomfortable side effects like pancreatitis and kidney failure.Novo Nordisk stated sufferers experiencing nausea as a facet impact ought to contact their well being care supplier for steerage about methods to handle it.Jastreboff stated she encourages her sufferers to devour smaller, extra frequent meals, not eat previous the purpose of fullness, and monitor which meals exacerbate their signs. Most uncomfortable side effects happen as persons are growing their dosage, then subside as soon as they attain the upkeep part, she added. Megan Cornelius, who has been taking Ozempic off-label for sort 1 diabetes for a number of years, stated she was nauseous and fatigued at first however these results pale over time.”As lengthy as I can proceed to take it, I most likely will,” Cornelius stated. Eric Joiner Jr.Courtesy Eric Joiner Jr.For Eric Joiner Jr., a former sort 2 diabetic, Ozempic hasn’t performed something past its meant impact: enhance his kidney operate — an off-label utility of the drug. Joiner developed power kidney illness as a byproduct of his diabetes.He hasn’t skilled uncomfortable side effects or weight loss from Ozempic, he stated, however he acknowledges that is not true for everybody.”At the top of the day, it’s a really private factor,” he stated. “Your biology is totally different than mine.”


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