OZEMPIC: Are you being counselled properly?
BEWARE “trendy” drugs.
No, I’m not saying you shouldn’t be on Ozempic or Wegovy.
I’m saying that when a drug that has real indications becomes a trend you can get at your local mall, auction prize, or boutique medispa, use it appropriately and know what the risks are.
First, what ARE these drugs? Ozempic and Wegovy are the brand names of SEMAGLUTIDE. This is a glp-1 agonist that stimulates insulin release (which also can cause weight loss). They are both given as weekly injections but at different doses with different indications.
More details on that below but since we’re women’s health focused here, let’s talk about it in the context of reproductive aged women who could become pregnant. These drugs have NOT been shown to be safe in pregnancy. In fact, the manufacturers advise to not get pregnant until at least 2 months after the last injection. Animal studies have shown fetal toxicity.
Long term reliable contraception is ideal, if not necessary, when taking these medications. I have concerns that since it’s so easy to get OUTSIDE of a doctors office, that women may not be counseled properly on the risks involved to a pregnancy.
They are also meant to be used long term (at least 6 months or so). If stopped early, the chance of gaining the weight back is high. So if you are planning to conceive and are on these medications for weight loss, you have to plan and prioritize which one you want more. They can’t be done together.
If you are on it for diabetes management, talk with your doctor about safer options when it’s time for you to conceive. Remember, this may be best for you at one time in your life, but not at another. Switching is ok.
Ozempic is FDA approved for Type 2 diabetes. It improves glycemic control and decreases risk of major cardiovascular events. It’s not FDA approved for weight loss.
Wegovy is indicated for weight loss in people who are classified as obese, according to their BMI (we’ve discussed here before that BMI is not the best indicator of health). It is meant to be an add on to lifestyle changes including decreased caloric intake and increased exercise. It is not meant to be a stand alone treatment for obesity.