Advice From the Trenches

Advice From the Trenches: The Ozempic Games

Dear C;

I really want to lose about 15 lbs before my high school reunion. I know this sounds vain and stupid, but I would really feel like crap if I showed up looking like I had a baby when I didn’t. 

The event is in a couple of weeks and I need something to work fast so I thought of Ozempic. I’ve heard so much about this new drug and so many people seem to be using it that seems like a miracle solution. Not only does it make people lose weight, it reduces their risk of heart attack too.  

What’s not to like?        

Pam Pound

C says:

Well, I guess that depends on your idea of a good time. But from the testimonials I’ve been reading I suspect that Ozempic may not be quite the miracle miracle solution you were hoping for before your reunion.

First, take the medical benefits off the table – the weight loss from Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs will only help in the prevention of heart disease if the patient is dangerously obese. For someone like you, Pam, there are no such protective benefits.  

My favorite honest account by an actual Ozempic user comes from Sharon Osbourne, a woman who will unabashedly admit to every cosmetic or surgical procedure she’s ever had done. During a TV interview with Bill Maher in August of this year, Osbourne, age 70, had this to say about her own experience: “The first few weeks were fucking shit because I just threw up all the time.”

But let’s look at a full list of common side effects and you can decide for yourself if this what you were hoping for at your highly anticipated HS reunion:

1. Stomach side effects 

These are users’ biggest complaints and the symptoms are many. The most common side effect is nausea. Others include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach-area pain, and constipation. High levels of flatulence have also been reported. Some patients receiving Ozempic discontinue treatment due to the GI side effects.

2. Diabetic Retinopathy 

This is a serious eye disease that can lead to blindness.Surprisingly, it is the rapid improvement in blood sugar control that may be the underlying cause of a worsening of diabetic retinopathy in some patients. People with type 2 diabetes and long-term, uncontrolled blood sugar levels are at higher risk, as are smokers and those with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or kidney disease. The complications that may result after long-term use have not been studied.

3. Thyroid tumors or cancer

It’s rare, but warnings for Ozempic include a risk for thyroid tumors or cancer. To be fair, this was discovered in studies with rats not humans, but despite the fact that there isn’t enough data to draw a final conclusion, the FDA requires the drug to carry a prominent Boxed Warning. They do not flash this alarm lightly, so if you or anyone in your family has ever had thyroid cancer, I would take the warning seriously.

4. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

This can be a pretty serious side effect with Ozempic. In patients who have diabetes, Ozempic can interact with insulin or Metformin, but non-diabetics who are on the 1 mg dose have reported severe low blood sugar as well. Symptoms include disorientation, vertigo, weakness and fatigue, headache and a major case of the shakes. Be careful when standing up too quickly – you could easily faint.

 So if you want to show up at your reunion feeling nauseous, dizzy, anxious, and on the verge of vomiting as you greet old friends, I guess this could be the miracle drug for you. 

But honestly? I doubt very much that anyone at your reunion is going to be as quick to judge you as you seem to fear. The average American woman today is 5’ 3” and weighs about 170 lbs. Unless every other female in your class has the genetics of Heidi Klum along with a personal trainer and plastic surgeon on call, no one is going to give your extra 15 lbs a second look unless it is to admire your curves.