How a TikTok Weight Loss Craze Caused a Shortage of Diabetes Medication

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If you spend time scrolling through TikTok or Instagram, you’ve likely seen people post comments on celebrities’ photos like “the Ozempic is Ozempic’ing” and “maybe she’s born with it, or maybe it’s Ozempic.”

While these comments are rather harmless, this health trend that took off on TikTok is causing a global shortage of Ozempic (otherwise known as semaglutide), a medication required by diabetics. Through social media, people became aware of the drug’s weight loss properties, leading them to abuse the medication for appearance purposes when those with type 2 diabetes require the drug to lower their blood sugars.

In this blog post, we’ll dive deep into the latest TikTok weight loss trend that has resulted in worldwide consequences.

What is Ozempic and how does it work?

Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Ozempic, is a medication created for individuals with type 2 diabetes. Because it has been proven to reduce body fat over the long-term, many people with diabetes who need to lose weight for health-related reasons are put on this medication.

The FDA-approved medication is a once-weekly injection that regulates blood glucose levels and causes people to feel satiated or full for longer, resulting in the need to eat less food. For those who are taking Ozempic solely for weight loss purposes, this can lead to malnourishment as it’s hard to get all of the vitamins and nutrients your body requires when you’re not eating as much as you should be.

Who should be using Ozempic?

It’s no surprise that the people who should be using Ozempic are the people that the medication was originally intended for — individuals with type 2 diabetes. Additional criteria for the prescription medication include uncontrolled A1C levels if you’re at risk of or currently have cardiovascular disease, and if you have heart failure or kidney disease.

Doctors recommend that people who have type 2 diabetes and are taking Ozempic also follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

So, who shouldn’t be taking Ozempic? Celebrities and influencers who are already very thin, and have not been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or another medical condition that requires weight loss. While there’s lots of speculation surrounding the celebrities who have been wrongfully taking Ozempic, we’ll never truly know as it’s typically kept a secret!

The weight loss drug and the media

From Instagram influencers and singers to reality television stars and TikTokers, many seem to be looking a little skinnier than usual lately. While they could be dieting and exercising more than usual, they could also be taking Ozempic after learning of its weight-loss properties.

Social media has been fuelling the use of Ozempic for a fast and easy weight loss solution. But in reality, it’s a medication that people with type 2 diabetes require to live. Because people have been using it incorrectly, those with diabetes have had trouble getting their prescriptions filled as there is now a shortage of the drug in the United States due to an increase in demand.

The risks of Ozempic when used improperly

While Ozempic is safe for diabetics to use, this isn’t always the case for those seeking the medication for weight loss purposes. The drug has been FDA-approved for the treatment of diabetes but has not been approved for weight loss. Ozempic can cause some pretty serious side effects, like inflammation of the pancreas, so it shouldn’t be taken unless prescribed by your doctor to address a medical condition.

In addition to taking some of the supply away from those who need it, Ozempic can affect your body in several ways once you stop using it. These side effects include constipation, your blood sugar will climb, your appetite will return, and you’ll regain the weight you had lost. Even though it sounds like a fast and easy weight loss solution, it’s certainly not permanent.

The rise of natural alternatives

Of course, it was only a matter of time before social media influencers and users found a more natural alternative to Ozempic. Berbamine, a natural compound found in plants, can be consumed in supplement form and has been shown to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It could also be an effective weight loss supplement, however, research and studies on this are fairly limited.

In one study, obese participants taking berbamine lost an average of 5 pounds during a 12-week period. But it’s important to note that these participants were considered overweight, to begin with.

Remember that taking weight loss supplements when you’re a normal weight can be damaging to your overall health and well-being. Instead of leaning on medications and supplements for weight loss purposes, tweaking your current lifestyle habits can be just as effective without causing any potentially risky side effects. Eating more whole foods, getting adequate sleep each night, staying active, and drinking more water can yield some pretty exciting results.

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How a TikTok Weight Loss Craze Caused a Shortage of Diabetes Medication was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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