The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

The student news site of Adrian Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, California

The Scribe

Is Ozempic Really a Miracle Drug?

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Ozempic has revolutionized the weight-loss focused side of the media, but has also stirred controversy from a scientific perspective.

With the rise of the media, “revolutionary” new weight loss methods, or the “most effective” new diets, are seen at almost every swipe. Constantly, we are exposed to unrealistic body standards propagated by celebrities who pay millions of dollars for a new, seemingly perfect shape, encouraging unhealthy self-esteem levels amongst users of all ages. As these insecurities progressively deepen, one’s desperation increases in parallel; slowly, the limits to what pills they will consume become invisible, regardless of their potential side effects. One of the latest drugs obtaining the title of “Weight Loss Medication Spotlight” is Ozempic, a stimulatory drug interacting with the human brain to increase insulin production within the pancreas and correspondingly suppressing appetite. To the media, such a drug seemed like the perfect method to lose weight quickly– unfortunately, seemingly positive discoveries tend to have disguised flaws. 

Ozempic, or semaglutide, was approved by the FDA in 2017 for the sole purpose of assisting adults struggling with Type 2 diabetes. According to UC Davis’s Health website, the drug “works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone, GLP-1.” GLP-1 is needed in the body to stimulate insulin secretion and lower glucose secretion from the liver, essentially informing the brain that its energy requirements have been met and no more food should be consumed. After exposure to these higher hormone levels, the brain is tricked into believing that it is completely full, suppressing the patient’s appetite and temporarily slowing digestion. For diabetics, this is extremely useful to moderate insulin levels, but scientists and pharmacists alike have questioned the media’s fascination with the drug for weight loss. 

The negative consequences of Ozempic for weight loss are clearly defined: the drug has only been tested in moderation for individuals struggling with diabetes, and scientists are unsure of its effects when used in heavier quantities (which is necessary for a major weight loss difference). For instance, its effects on digestion raises concerns about the respiratory system, modifying the patient’s quality of breathing and necessary release of toxins. Additionally, Ozempic’s effects are somewhat minimal compared to surgical procedures, and its effects are not lasting– after the patient stops consuming the drug without sufficient exercise and healthy eating, they will likely gain back the weight lost. 

Ozempic also requires prescriptions from physicians and is not released for over-the-counter purchases. Unknowingly, avid media users might purchase the generic version of the drug, which is much less safe and has resulted in unexpected deaths after prolonged usage. 

That being said, Ozempic is popular for a reason – when used in proper moderation and provided to patients who could benefit from it, the drug can reduce obesity rates and promote better cardiovascular health globally. If individuals are unable to undergo surgery safely, Ozempic provides an effective alternative. 

The stark contrast between the benefits and downsides is that many of the benefits solely apply to those in need of the drug for health purposes rather than aesthetics. Without proper prescription, doctors cannot ensure that those at a healthy weight are taking the drug in moderation or not at all, leading to more negative consequences than the goal is worth. 

The next time you stumble across a video romanticizing the benefits of Ozempic and how it has “transformed” a celebrity’s body, keep the science behind it in mind! You never know the health issues you could be taking on by succumbing to the media’s temptations.

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