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The Rise of Ozempic: Why a Diabetes Drug is Trending On TikTok

Celebrities and influencers alike are hailing Ozempic as a miracle weight loss drug.

Credit: Douglas Cliff / Shutterstock

Weight loss is always a trending topic, whether online or in real life. While fad diets come and go every few months, one weight-loss technique has been dominating social media: a drug called Ozempic.

Over the past two years, using Ozempic has been hailed as the most effective way to lose weight. Countless celebrities and influencers have admitted that their impressive weight loss is thanks to the drug. While Ozempic is being hailed as a miracle dieting drug, its ever-increasingly popularity has some seriously concerning impacts.

Despite seeing the name Ozempic everywhere, many people don’t know how the drug works or that it was never intended to be a weight-loss medication. Ozempic, or Wegovy, the brand name for the drug semaglutide, is an injectable anti-diabetic medication.

Ozempic works by mimicking a hormone called GLP-1, which helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. It also significantly reduces appetite, which is why it helps people quickly lose significant amounts of weight. Those prescribed Ozempic will receive a weekly dose of the medication and, on average, see a 6% to 15% reduction in their overall body fat over a year.

The drug is a relatively recent development, as it was only approved for treating Type-2 diabetes in 2017. Doctors began prescribing Ozempic ‘off-label’ for weight loss in late 2021.

Ozempic has become a household name thanks to TikTok

Although multiple celebrities have admitted that they’ve used Ozempic to shift weight, Ozempic didn’t take off until people on TikTok started talking about it. After all, a third under 25s use TikTok for health tips before going anywhere else, especially dieting and nutrition advice.

Seeing ‘normal’ people using Ozempic took it off the ‘celebrity only’ pedestal, making it appear accessible to the average person. Ozempic influencers on TikTok would also give more in-depth reviews of the side effects and the cost of using it than any celebrity.

@ashton_olivia27

The long awaited before/afters! Cant believe im showing my before pics on social media. 🤣 if you’re looking for a sign to start Wegovy/ozempic, HERE IT IS! 🙌🏽👏🏽down 40ish pounds! 🎉 #fyp #wegovy #wegovyweightloss #mounjaro #ozempic #ozempicweightloss #beforeandafter #medspa #aesthetics #lipfiller #tulsa #oklahoma #facialaesthetics #botox #semaglutide #wegovyshot #wegovyforthewin #momsoftiktok #over30 #momof4 #twinmom

♬ original sound – creamfilms
@onthecrafttable

#weightloss #ozempic #losingweight I am not affiliated with ozempic. If you have any questions, leave them below. ❤️

♬ In A Minute – Lil Baby

While the comments sections under these videos are usually filled with people congratulating the individual, others are questioning the ethics of promoting the drug.

Ozempic’s trendiness has led to severe shortages of the life-changing anti-diabetic drug

The popularity of Ozempic has led to shortages, meaning those who need it for their diabetes are struggling to get it. Already, many patients have been forced to take a lower dose because it’s all that was available. Shortages are so severe in places that many diabetic patients have to switch to less effective medications. Some are even unable to get started on Ozempic.

Without medication, people with Type 2 diabetes risk blood sugar spikes that can potentially lead to serious medical complications. While Ozempic is effective for losing weight, it was developed for those with diabetes. Therefore, it should be the people who need this medication to survive who get it, not people looking to lose ten pounds or so.

However, this is not the only ethical concern surrounding Ozempic’s popularity

Another negative aspect of Ozempic’s rise in popularity is its impact on body positivity and weight attitudes. There has been a steady move back to the glorification of thinness seen in the 90s and early 2000s, and Ozempic is just another step towards this unhealthy mentality. Body positivity was beginning to change societal views about weight.

However, Ozempic has started a return to using drugs to manipulate bodies to be thinner. Diet pills have existed since the 1930s, and every generation was promised a ‘miracle’ cure to fatness. Each ‘miracle’ drug always had drawbacks, whether it caused medical conditions or encouraged disordered behaviors. The long-term side effects of Ozempic are not yet known however, even the short-term effects are far from pleasant.

Promoting the use of drugs to lose weight signals one thing; fatness is unacceptable and needs to be cured. Any diet pill goes against all ideas of body acceptance and self-love. Seeing Ozempic rising to prominence is a worrying return to bygone years where those who did not fit the narrow beauty standards were made to feel like they were a problem that needed to be fixed.

Written By

Postgraduate student studying journalism at Edinburgh Napier University. Fandom enthusiast and ex-Wattpad writer.

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