IIt’s a sign of anything urgent on TikTok: The item flies through the air to fall into eager hands. Most recently Ozempic, a diet drug that has been tagged in the app nearly 350 million times. The girls smile for the cameras as they go to get their dose. He takes out an injection pen from its package. They stick the needle into their stomach. And then they share how many more pounds they expect to lose in the next week. Recently, diabetes medication has become available “off the shelf” for weight loss, and is available for purchase without a prescription. Its tremendous popularity on social media has created such a demand that there is a worldwide shortage; It’s also the way to lose weight in Hollywood, where celebrities now pay up to $1,500 a month for promises of shedding a few pounds.
Ozempic, whose generic name is semaglutide, works by mimicking a hormone that regulates appetite, creating a feeling of satiety. Doses are given as weekly injections and have been shown to produce an average reduction in body weight of 6 to 15 percent over the course of a year (depending on strength). The drug made manufacturer Novo Nordisk $3.4 billion in 2020 alone, and analysts expect sales to more than double to $7.8 billion, especially when Vigovi, the 2.4mg version Ozempic approved for use by the NHS (National Health Service), Comes to the UK in early 2023. ,
In scores of posts online, users share how their appetites have decreased, while the decreasing number on the scale flashes. Quick waistline “fixes” have been around forever. But the TikTok effect is expanding its reach faster than ever: Research The Pharmaceutical Journal Earlier this year it found the site was the “worst offender” for targeting young people with medical misinformation online.
For obese patients, Ozempic “works well,” says GP Simon Gordon, who has seen many of his patients “lose a lot of weight and [ser] Able to prevent blood pressure medications… so far it’s helping.” While it has been effective so far, there are reasons to be wary of declaring the drug a panacea for weight loss, especially for others Given a tumultuous past. At least 25 drugs have been approved by medical authorities in the last six decades, and once reported for their side effects, ranging from damaged heart valves to stroke and primary pulmonary hypertension (a life-threatening lung disease). condition) was banned when it became clear. . This checkered record is partly what left drug companies a handy goldmine. With 3.5 billion obese adults worldwide (the rate tripled since 1975 is), the fact that only one drug could be prescribed in the UK between 2010 and last year speaks to those fears.
The story was different between the 1930s and 1960s. Large sums of money were invested in developing amphetamine-based weight loss drugs. In fact, a certain Donald Trump was prescribed the drug Tenuate Dospan in the 1980s, one of those pills known to cause side effects such as “confusion and hallucinations.” Psychosis was believed to be one of his long-term problems; Those of shorter duration included “anxiety, insomnia and delusions of grandeur”.
But the rush for medically induced weight loss hit a low point in the next decade with Fen-Phen, a pill that combines fenfluramine, an appetite suppressant, and phentermine (an amphetamine similar to methamphetamine). A single study of 121 patients reported an average weight loss of 14.2 kg over 34 weeks, compared with 4.9 kg in the placebo control group; Its popularity grew to such an extent that weight loss clinics were set up just to capitalize on the demand.
Two years, six million patients and 18 million prescriptions later, it had become “a cautionary tale of our times,” according to medical experts. Thirty percent of its users suffered from heart valve problems (and others reported primary pulmonary hypertension, or PPH), which led to the suspension of its authorization. The suspension didn’t come quickly enough to save people like Mary Linens, a 30-year-old Massachusetts woman who, trying to lose weight for her wedding, spent three months in the hospital before dying of PPH in 1997. Thousands of lawsuits were filed against the drug’s maker, Wyeth, and $21 billion was awarded as compensation. The fallout was so great that the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve new diet pills for the next decade.
Neither phen-phen nor phentermine, another amphetamine-based weight loss drug still in use in the US, was approved in the UK. But the legality of weight loss pills has not always been a barrier to entry for those looking for quick results. Since 2013, the UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has seized over £4 million worth of illegal diet pills in the UK, including dinitrophenol or DNP, which was used in 1933 to treat obesity but which was later classified as “”. toxic chemical”. Available to buy online, the compound has been linked to a number of deaths in recent years, including that of a child’s father, 24-year-old Liam Willis, and 21-year-old student Eloise Parry. One study found that 5 percent of respondents took DNP to lose weight even though they knew it could kill them. A 2017 government survey of dieters found that more than 40 percent dieted. used the pills knowing there were associated health risks. Sixty percent reported being “desperate to lose weight” as their motivation, and the same percentage reported bleeding, heart problems, and blurred vision. Reported taking weight loss drugs.
Ozempic has so far been shown to be safe and effective, so much so that when Dr. Gordon recently suggested that one of his patients, currently awaiting bariatric surgery, start taking it, the surgeon objected; He thinks the drug will “damage the careers of obesity surgeons”. Consultant Endocrinologist and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Ulster, Dr. Alex Miras also endorses its use among patients facing health problems as a result of being overweight. But he is “not surprised that it is popular” both in Hollywood and on social media, noting that “in the UK, the largest number of people responsible for Saxenda’s consumption [el otro fármaco legal para bajar de peso, aprobado el año pasado] It is a beauty parlour.
Once a weight loss aid is approved, demand among body-conscious individuals can often exceed those who actually need it, which without input from a medical professional can greatly increase the potential risks. . The drug is designed to accompany a healthy eating plan and exercise regimen, but when taken alone, and then discontinued, the benefits are reversed; Medical appetite suppression alone cannot solve the global obesity crisis. And then there is the question of what happens after taking the medicine. an article published in April Diabetes, obesity and metabolism found that those taking a 2.4 mg dose of semaglutide regained two-thirds of the weight they had lost in the first year after discontinuing the drug; Those who lost the most kilos were the ones who gained the most weight. Research has repeatedly shown the dangers of rebound dieting, as losing weight consistently results in more weight gain than metabolic damage.
A new contributor to the Ozempic hashtag on TikTok tells me she started taking weekly injections five weeks ago after her personal doctor ran a series of tests to analyze her recent weight gain and found no apparent cause. . He doesn’t have a specific goal for the scale, he says, “It’s a matter of what I lose in six months. To be honest, I just want to lose weight.” As the millions of similar hashtags attest, she’s not alone.