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Is Ozempic the answer to obesity? What you need to know



Jimmy Kimmel’s joke ignites a serious conversation on Ozempic

Presenter Jimmy Kimmel joked on the Oscar’s stage about the use of the diabetes drug, Ozempic, as a weight loss formula by Hollywood A-listers. This raised the question of its supervised use as weight loss medication. “Though not available in India yet, GLP receptor agonist drugs are good for weight loss and consequently diabetes and related problems. But these should be used according to indication because side effects are problematic,” says Dr Anoop Misra, Chairman, Fortis CDOC Hospital for Diabetes and Allied Sciences.

Ozempic is a magic solution for weight loss

Semaglutide, also known as Ozempic or Wegovy, is a diabetes drug that has shown remarkable results as a weight loss medication in higher doses. The medicine can help people lose weight, particularly those who have a history of obesity and related diseases in their family. Additionally, it reduces the risk of cardiovascular events in Type 2 diabetes patients. Ozempic has shown to help study participants lose around 15% to 20% body weight, an astonishing feat, with bariatric surgery being the only other approach with such results. As obesity becomes a growing health burden in India, Ozempic could be the closest thing to a magic bullet for weight loss, says Dr Misra.

Side effects of the medication

Dr Misra notes that Ozempic generates gastro-intestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for the first few weeks. Once available in India, it is likely to be expensive, estimated to cost between Rs 8000 and Rs 9000 a month. “It should not be the first-line treatment for obesity for all,” he warns. He suggests it should be prescribed to three categories of people who are obese and have dysfunction, to those who aren’t able to lose weight the conventional way but are obese, and to those who are obese with uncontrolled diabetes despite taking medication.

Why Ozempic is not just a weight-loss drug

Dr Misra saw a similarity between other methods of weight loss and Ozempic in that weight gain tends to occur after the intervention period ends. Therefore he emphasized that lifestyle correction remains the essential way to maintain ideal body weight. Moreover, those with diabetes tend to lose little weight compared to those without it. Dr Ambrish Mithal, Chairman and Head, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Healthcare, notes that caution is required with Ozempic as many weight loss drugs have had poor side effects in the past. Dr. Mithal reminds people not to overlook the importance of diet, sleep, and exercise to maintain sustainable weight loss. Ultimately, medical supervision is vital for safe and effective use of weight loss medications.



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