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COLUMN: Oprah and Ozempic ... is the hype worth the side effects?

Ozempic is all the rage. In this week's column, Wendy has a lot of questions about this diabetic and weight loss drug
Ozempic boxes diabetes

Everybody is buzzing about it.

No doubt you’ve heard about all the people touting the praises — or the dangers — of Ozempic.

That’s the medication meant for Type 2 diabetics to bring blood sugar readings (A1C) down to an acceptable level.

The bonus to that is weight loss.

That’s where other people (Hollywood and elsewhere) jumped on the bandwagon.

What they don't really emphasize is that exercise and healthy food is still part of the plan.

Apparently, it helps with quick weight loss even if you don’t have diabetes.

You may have seen Oprah’s recent television special on these types of medications.

She’s been on a similar drug and had great success as you can see by her recent photos. She’s 70 and looking better than ever.

She wasn’t touting one drug over another nor did she say which one she is using (Ozempic/Mounjaro/Wegovy) but the proof was in the pudding or in this case no pudding.

The reason I trusted her take on things is because, well, she’s Oprah! Also, the program included patients who had good results and those who suffered side effects.

The real reason I was intrigued is that Ozempic has been suggested to me a few times.

As a person who is eligible (medically and financially) to have it prescribed I have so many concerns.

As any logical, fair-minded person would do. I let my fingers do the googling.

Never do that.

My brain is swimming with possible horrible side effects from thyroid cancer to constant nausea, abdominal pain to diarrhea.

So, let me understand. I might lose some weight but I’ll have to get super sick to do it?

Oh, did I mention it’s a once-a-week injection to the stomach?

Do you know what that reminds me of?  The days when, if you got bitten by a strange animal, they would give you rabies shots in the stomach. Uh, no thank you.

The thought of giving myself a shot doesn’t thrill me. I’m sure it becomes routine at some point. 

I also know insulin dependent diabetics have done it for years without whining.

Apparently, it is more like an epi-pen than a foot long needle so that’s good. (yes, I know I exaggerate)

I am sitting here with a prescription in my hand and no idea what to do about it.

Maybe because it's constantly in the headlines, you may be faced with a similar question or a dozen.

How bad is the nausea? Do they mean queasy or can’t lift your head? Please elaborate.

Is it constant or for a few days?

How much weight loss? Ten pounds or upwards of fifty?

If you stop the drug do you just gain the weight back plus more?

Does it make you no longer enjoy food? (That seems like zero on the fun scale.)

Do you just feel full all the time? (also not enjoyable)

Does this stuff need refrigeration? What if a person is travelling?

Must it be given in the stomach? Would a big butt work just as well for the poke?

How soon can you tell if it is helping?

Is this a lifelong commitment?

Asking for my friend which in the case is me.

Bottom line — I understand it’s a personal decision between a doctor and patient.

Nobody can truly give you all the answers because its going to be an individual reaction.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to ponder all the extremes.

I’ll let you know when or if I decide to go the Ozempic route and I’ll be honest about the journey.

Good, bad or sickening.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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