The injectable weight loss drug semaglutide, sold as Ozempic and Wegovy, causes fat and muscle loss, premature aging in your face, and increases your risk for a number of serious health problems, including possibly cancer. And most of the weight comes back after you stop the weekly injections.
I first heard about this new drug from a tv personality who messaged me a few months ago to ask my opinion. She said, “Everyone in LA is taking these $1000 a month shots for weight loss.” I had no idea what she was talking about so I started researching and what I learned was alarming. I apologize for taking so long to share this information with you.
Ozempic is approved for type 2 diabetics. Wegovy is approved for people who are overweight. Both drugs along with the oral version Rybelsus are owned by the same Danish drug company: Novo Nordisk.
And in terms of marketing sophistication, this tactic is next level.
Drug companies are taking catchy hit songs and using them in their commercials to give you those good feels, and replacing the lyrics in the hook with the drug name, so it stays in your head.
Ozempic replaced the lyrics of Pilot’s 1975 hit “It’s Magic” with “Oh Oh Oh Ozempic.”
The Wegovy commercial uses the song “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman replacing “This is me” with “Wegovy.” Ugh. Gross.
And at the end of the commercial, an actor lies directly to the camera, saying… “Wegovy helped us lose weight and keep it off.”
So do semaglutide injections cause weight loss?
There was a double-blind placebo-controlled trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in October 2021 in which 1961 obese adults, mostly women, who were not diabetic, and who weighed an average of 232 lbs, were given weekly injections of semaglutide or a placebo for 68 weeks. That’s a year and four months. Both groups also received instructions for a reduced-calorie meal plan and increased physical activity.
7% of patients left the study due to the drug side effects.
The average change was a 12.4% loss of body weight, about 29 lbs, after 68 weeks of injections, compared to the placebo group. Some people lost more. Some lost less, but the average semaglutide user lost less than half a pound per week, which is easily achievable with diet and lifestyle changes.
And guess who funded the study… Novo Nordisk!
It’s worth mentioning that at the end of the study, almost a third of participants who received placebo injections had lost at least 5% of their baseline body weight, 12% of them lost 10% of their weight, and 5% of the placebo group lost 15% of their body weight, more than the average Ozempic user, just from following the diet and lifestyle recommendations.
But it wasn’t just fat loss.
In semaglutide’s primary clinical trial. Participants lost an average of 10.4% of their fat mass and 6.9% of their lean body mass. Semaglutide causes fat and muscle loss. And apparently, the rapid fat loss of fat in the faces of semaglutide users is making them look significantly older. There’s even a new term to describe this, coined by dermatologists: “Ozempic face.” And dermatologists are reporting that a lot more patients are coming in for face fillers after taking the weight loss injections.
So what happens after you stop taking this appetite-suppressing drug?
Your appetite comes back, you eat more, and you gain the weight back. That’s what happened in two different studies. Look at this chart from the Wegovy website:
People who were given placebo injections instead of Wegovy, starting at week 20, gained almost all the weight back by the end of the trial. Notice the marketing spin above. “People who kept taking Wegovy continued to lose weight.” They want you to keep taking Wegovy injections forever.
Another study found that one year after stopping weekly semaglutide injections, participants regained two-thirds of their lost weight.
60 Minutes Paid to Pimp the Drug
On January 1st, 2023, 60 Minutes aired a 13-minute story on Wegovy. In the piece, Wegovy is described as “safe,” “highly effective,” “impressive,” and “fabulous.” But there was no mention of the risks and side effects. Turns out, CBS received advertising payments from Novo Nordisk, and all the doctors and experts in the segment were also paid by Novo Nordisk.
CBS posted four additional 60 Minutes After Hours segments about Wegovy on their website. Because of this blatantly obvious paid drug promotion masquerading as a news story, Dr. Neal Barnard and the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed a complaint with the FDA because this was not an unbiased news story, it was an advertisement and violates the fair balance requirement for drug ads, where you have to list the side effects.
The Physicians Committee also reported that Novo Nordisk’s PAC paid over $250,000 in campaign contributions to members of Congress in an effort to persuade them to pass legislation to make the U.S. government pay for Wegovy prescriptions at $ 1,300 per month per person.
Now let’s talk about the side effects
Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus all have the same side effects disclosure. The following is copied directly from the Wegovy website:
Wegovy® may cause serious side effects, including:
- Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer. In studies with rodents, Wegovy® and medicines that work like Wegovy® caused thyroid tumors, including thyroid cancer. It is not known if Wegovy® will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people.
Wegovy® may cause serious side effects, including:
- inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis).
- gallbladder problems, including gallstones.
- increased risk of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in patients with type 2 diabetes, especially those who also take medicines for type 2 diabetes. This can be both a serious and common side effect.
- kidney problems (kidney failure).
- serious allergic reactions.
- change in vision in people with type 2 diabetes.
- increased heart rate.
- depression or thoughts of suicide.
The most common side effects of Wegovy may include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation, stomach (abdomen) pain, headache, fatigue, upset stomach, dizziness, feeling bloated, belching, gas, stomach flu, heartburn, and runny nose or sore throat.
If the risk of cancer and all of those other serious side effects, and the fact that patients gained most of the weight back when they stopped, isn’t enough to make you think twice about taking Ozemic or Wegovy, here’s a quick history lesson for perspective.
The FDA approved a weight loss drug called Belviq (Loarcaserin) in 2012. That drug was eventually recalled because it increased the risk of pancreatic, lung, and colon cancer. Guess how long Belviq was on the market before they figured this out?
Tens of thousands of people took Belviq and countless people were harmed. Meanwhile, the drug company made around $50 million dollars a year off Belviq and got to keep all the profit after it was deemed unsafe and taken off the market. Lawsuits are underway.
Weight loss drug Meridia (Sibutramine) was approved in 1997 and pulled off the market for increasing cardiovascular risks, heart attack, and stroke. Guess how long Meridia was prescribed before they figured this out?
If you take a new drug with no long-term safety testing, you are paying to be part of an experiment that may cause you considerable harm.
Don’t be seduced by the quick fix, magic bullet, miracle cure marketing. There are no quick fixes. But you can lose weight and dramatically improve your health by changing your diet and lifestyle.
Here’s how you do it. Adopt a whole food plant-based diet, with lots of raw fruits and vegetables, giant salads, fresh juices, and as much fruit as you want. When you eat this way, you never have to go hungry. You can eat as much as you want and still lose weight. And make exercise a priority. Aim for at least thirty minutes of exercise per day six days a week.
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