What it is wish to take the blockbuster medication Ozempic and Wegovy, from extreme uncomfortable side effects to dropping 50 kilos

For the 2 months Carey Yazeed took Ozempic, the drug labored as supposed. Yazeed has kind 2 diabetes, and the weekly injection lowered her blood sugar ranges. But it surely additionally introduced uncomfortable side effects she thought of insufferable, together with vomiting, fatigue, complications and abdomen cramps.

5 weeks into taking the medicine, Yazeed stated, she discovered herself unable to maneuver off the lavatory ground.

“I had vomited a lot that I did not have the vitality to rise up and I used to be principally mendacity in it,” she stated. “I could not even elevate my head to vomit within the commode. It was so unhealthy.”

dr  Carey Yazeed.  (Courtesy Carey Yazeed.)

dr Carey Yazeed. (Courtesy Carey Yazeed.)

The extreme results Yazeed confronted aren’t frequent, however folks’s experiences taking Ozempic and its sister drug, Wegovy, can range extensively — from substantial weight reduction and minimal discomfort on one finish of the spectrum to excessive results on the opposite.

NBC Information spoke to 10 folks about their experiences taking these blockbuster medication, each of that are types of semaglutide. They’re designed to imitate a hormone that alerts to the mind when an individual is full and promotes the discharge of insulin, a hormone that stops blood sugar from getting too excessive. In flip, the medicines can decrease blood sugar ranges and suppress appetites.

They’ve soared in recognition over the past yr, partly from social media consideration and billionaires like Elon Musk touting the medication’ weight reduction results.

Prescriptions for Ozempic tripled from 2021 to 2022, in accordance with information from the prescription drug low cost firm SingleCare, which has greater than 5 million members. Final yr, excessive demand and international provide constraints gave rise to shortages of medicine. The FDA stories a Wegovy scarcity in March 2022, adopted by an Ozempic scarcity in Aug.

A number of folks interviewed stated the advantages they bought from the medication outweighed the uncomfortable side effects.

“It simply feels lighter shifting round. My garments match so a lot better and extra comfortably,” stated Stacey Bollinger, an account director in Maryland, who reported dropping 52 kilos since beginning Wegovy. “One thing so simple as bending over to tie my shoe is a lot simpler.”

Stacey Bollinger.  (Courtesy Stacey Bollinger)

Stacey Bollinger. (Courtesy Stacey Bollinger)

Some folks stated they felt high-quality on the medicines. However Yazeed and a few others described uncomfortable side effects that pressured them to cease taking the medication or query whether or not they may keep on them long run.

Weight problems drugs consultants who prescribe Ozempic and Wegovy stated the medication can rework sufferers’ lives and well being. The load loss results can allow sufferers to do actions they could not do beforehand, like chase after grandchildren or discover garments that match at mainstream shops. Semaglutide may also deal with well being points linked to weight problems and diabetes, equivalent to an elevated danger of coronary heart assaults or stroke.

“By treating weight problems, you are successfully probably treating over 200 different obesity-related or weight-related illnesses,” stated Dr. Ania Jastreboff, an affiliate professor of drugs on the Yale Faculty of Medication. Jastreboff serves on the scientific advisory board of Novo Nordisk, which makes Ozempic and Wegovy.

Accounts of dramatic weight reduction

The Meals and Drug Administration authorised Ozempic for folks with kind 2 diabetes in 2017, then Wegovy — the identical drug, which matches as much as greater dosage — in 2021 for weight reduction in adults with weight problems or those that are chubby and have least one weight- associated well being situation, equivalent to hypertension or ldl cholesterol. Ozempic will not be authorised for weight reduction, however docs typically prescribe it off-label for that function.

Most individuals who took Ozempic or Wegovy stated it curbed their starvation and decreased cravings for unhealthy meals. Bollinger and Randi Lee Harper, a software program developer within the Seattle space, every reported dropping greater than 50 kilos.

Harper took Ozempic off-label for weight reduction from Might till November (she paused whereas shifting to Washington state however plans to begin once more). She stated she nonetheless loved her favourite meals — like truffle mac n’ cheese and Bitter Patch Children sweet — however her parts have been smaller.

“You do not understand how a lot your life is centered round meals whenever you’re chubby till you are on a weight-reduction plan that simply allows you to not give it some thought a lot, like on Ozempic,” Harper stated.

For probably the most half, she added, she reacted nicely to the medicine, although typically she burped if she ate an excessive amount of — a reasonably frequent aspect impact.

As for Bollinger, she stated that along with her weight reduction, her common blood sugar ranges have dropped to a degree the place she’s not pre-diabetic.

A examine of greater than 1,000 folks with kind 2 diabetes discovered that semaglutide was simpler than insulin at decreasing blood sugar. The contributors had not seen outcomes from different antidiabetic medication, which they continued to take through the trial. In one other examine of practically 2,000 chubby or overweight adults with out diabetes, folks taking semaglutide misplaced a mean of 34 kilos in lower than 16 weeks, in comparison with 6 kilos amongst these receiving a placebo.

dr C. Nicole Swiner, a household drugs physician in Durham, North Carolina, stated she began taking Wegovy in 2021 after seeing how a lot it helped her sufferers. She has misplaced 30 kilos since then, she stated.

“As a result of I am not ravenous, I can really cease and make a wiser resolution [rather] than, ‘Oh my God, I am ravenous. Let me seize no matter’s within the workplace kitchen,’ which is often junk,” Swiner stated.

C.Nicole Swiner.  (Chris Charles)

C.Nicole Swiner. (Chris Charles)

On Wegovy, she added, she eats much less total and has swapped sugary treats like cookies or muffins for more healthy options like yogurt or fruit.

For Yazeed, weight reduction was not the rationale she went on Ozempic, nor was it a aim. However on the drug, she stated, she needed to power herself to eat and infrequently could not abdomen something past a protein shake within the morning. On a very good day, she may also tolerate some hen broth.

She misplaced 10 kilos in two months, going from a dimension 12 to an 8 or 10.

Sufferers who cease taking the medication usually regain weight

Like many medication, the consequences of semaglutide cease when sufferers go off of it, so some folks regain weight. Specialists stated they think about Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong medicines.

“Information from our medical trials for Wegovy confirmed that, not unexpectedly, sufferers expertise weight regained as soon as they cease taking the medicine,” Novo Nordisk advised NBC Information in a press release.

“This helps the assumption that weight problems is a power illness that requires long-term administration, very like hypertension or excessive ldl cholesterol, for which most sufferers stay on remedy long run,” the corporate added.

Ebony Wiggins, who has kind 2 diabetes, stated she has gained again about 15 kilos of the 25 she misplaced final yr whereas taking Ozempic.

Artemis Bayandor, who lives in Naperville, Illinois, stated she weighs extra now than when she took Wegovy: Inside a month of stopping the medicine, she gained again the 15 kilos she had misplaced on the drug, she stated, plus an additional 10 over the following six months.

“For the primary week I used to be OK, and for the second week I went proper again to all the cravings, however worse,” Bayandor stated.

Uncomfortable side effects put some folks off the medicines

Courtney Hamilton did not make it greater than a month on Ozempic, which her physician prescribed off-label as a result of Hamilton has kind 1 diabetes, not kind 2.

Her nausea bought so unhealthy that she may barely eat, Hamilton stated, and the meals she may tolerate weren’t significantly wholesome.

“Sarcastically, it made me keep on with very starchy, carby meals like potatoes as a result of they’re very bland. I ate numerous that and numerous plain toast,” she stated.

Individuals usually begin with a low dose of Ozempic or Wegovy, then ramp as much as scale back uncomfortable side effects. dr Fatima Cody Stanford, an assistant professor of drugs at Massachusetts Normal Hospital, stated some extreme results could also be the results of elevating that dosage too shortly.

“If the affected person’s saying, ‘Oh gosh, I am sick. I am unable to even go to work, I am vomiting all day,’ it is in all probability the dose is simply not an acceptable dose for them,” Stanford stated.

In medical trials, 73% of adults taking the very best dose of Wegovy reported gastrointestinal points. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, constipation and abdomen ache are most typical. Some folks have reported extra critical, albeit uncommon, uncomfortable side effects like pancreatitis and kidney failure.

Novo Nordisk stated sufferers experiencing nausea as a aspect impact ought to contact their well being care supplier for steering about methods to handle it.

Jastreboff stated she encourages her sufferers to devour smaller, extra frequent meals, not eat previous the purpose of fullness, and monitor which meals exacerbate their signs. Most uncomfortable side effects happen as persons are growing their dosage, then subside as soon as they attain the upkeep section, she added.

Megan Cornelius, who has been taking Ozempic off-label for kind 1 diabetes for a number of years, stated she was nauseous and fatigued at first however these results light over time.

“So long as I can proceed to take it, I in all probability will,” Cornelius stated.

Eric Joiner Jr. (Cortesía de Eric Joiner Jr.)

Eric Joiner Jr. (Cortesía de Eric Joiner Jr.)

For Eric Joiner Jr., a former kind 2 diabetic, Ozempic hasn’t completed something past its supposed impact: enhance his kidney perform — an off-label software of the drug. Joiner developed power kidney illness as a byproduct of his diabetes.

He hasn’t skilled uncomfortable side effects or weight reduction from Ozempic, he stated, however he acknowledges that is not true for everybody.

“On the finish of the day, it is a very private factor,” he stated. “Your biology is totally different than mine.”

This story initially appeared on NBCNews.com.

This text was initially printed on TODAY.com

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