HEALTH

Risks you should know before taking Ozempic

Apr 26, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: Apr 27, 2023, 7:54 am

Follow @amandadickson...

We’ve all seen the commercials for Ozempic.

“Oh, oh, oh Ozempic!” to the tune of a song from the 1970s called Magic (a one-hit wonder by a group named Pilot).

 

The drug has been in the news a lot lately because of shortages.

“Ozempic is a medication that is approved to treat type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Christopher Jones, Medical Director for Diabetes at Intermountain Healthcare. “It has an amazing interaction with the body that also has some positive effects such as weight loss and cardiac protection.”

That’s what caused the Ozempic shortages

We reported in January of this year that diabetes patients have had trouble accessing Ozempic because of its popularity with people using it for weight loss.

“We have felt that in our clinics,” Jones said. “Our patients couldn’t get the right dose or couldn’t get any for some period. It was difficult for their health.”

FDA approval for Ozempic is just for type 2 diabetes, but the same molecule has been packaged in a higher dose and approved for weight loss. That dose is called Wegovy.

Jones explained that “there is distinct clinical data that shows if weight loss happens on Ozempic or semaglutide, the weight loss reverses or people gain a lot of the weight back if the medication is stopped.”

The doctor said that diabetes patients do better when they stay on Ozempic long-term. So far, that is six years since the drug was only approved by the FDA in 2017.

There are some big risks

With all of those benefits, there are risks associated with Ozempic that you should know.

“Ozempic at a small dose is designed to slow down the gut, and it works well that way,” Jones explained. “That’s one of the reasons people lose weight and their sugars are lower.”

“At higher doses, we see more of a risk of the gut slowing so much that they have more and more side effects.” These side effects can include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea. If it gets bad enough, a patient can develop gastroparesis or a frozen gut.

What is frozen gut?

Gastroparesis means paralyzed gut.

“It’s not 100% paralyzed,” Jones explained. “The movement of the intestines and stomach slows down significantly.”

When this gets severe, Jones says it can be life-changing and not in a good way.

Diabetes itself can cause nerve damage to the gut and cause gastroparesis.

“So, if we have somebody who has diabetes and is already getting a small amount of gastroparesis from their disease,” D Jones said, “and then we add in the medication, that could double the problem and now it is a significant problem.”

Jones does believe it’s safe for most people to be on Ozempic long-term, but he says: “A very important message to hear is that you need to work closely with your physician who knows you and cares about you and is helping you to make those decisions about safety.”

Medicare coverage for obesity

Ozempic has some Medicare coverage on certain plans, but only for type 2 diabetes. 

Jones explained, “The new movement is to say ‘Medicare: you need to recognize obesity as a disease process and cover it the same way you’re covering other diseases.'”

Jones is in favor of Medicare coverage for obesity.

“Obesity is not just about poor self-control. Obesity really is a disease that needs to be treated as a disease, and the patients suffering from this disease need to have equal treatment.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Health

Telehealth has been around for decades, especially in rural and frontier communities. It has become...

Michelle Lee

How telehealth is revolutionizing health care

Let’s Get Moving Host Maria Shilaos spoke with CAPT Heather Dimeris to learn how telehealth is changing the way patients receive health care.

1 day ago

A woman stays hydrated by drinking water, electrolytes also help to rehydrate...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Water may not be enough to rehydrate your body in the heat, expert says

A sports dietician for Intermountain Health shared the importance of electrolytes when trying to rehydrate

3 days ago

The Kem C. Gardner Transformation Center in Murray is pictured on Tuesday, July 11, 2023. Intermoun...

KSL NewsRadio

Microsoft outage putting hospitals at a stand still

Many local businesses have been impacted, in fact any businesses relying on software from the company CrowdStrike has had issues, including hospitals. 

3 days ago

long covid clinic patient in utah...

Adam Small

U of U long COVID clinic shares findings after three years of seeing patients

The Long COVID Clinic in Utah has treated more than 3,000 patients over the last three years according to the clinic's medical director.

4 days ago

Side view close-up of pregnant woman touching her belly....

Britt Johnson

Pregnant women who contract COVID could experience long COVID symptoms study finds

A recent U OF U study found out that 1 in 10 women who contract COVID during pregnancy will experience long covid symptoms.

5 days ago

air quality in utah takes a hit as smog settles over the city...

Adam Small

Wildfire smoke moving into the Wasatch Front

Air quality in Utah could be unhealthy for sensitive groups in some areas due to wind bringing in wildfire smoke from the Pacific Northwest.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

A young woman smiles while reading the menu at a lakeside restaurant, enjoying the panoramic view o...

Bear Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau

The best restaurants to try in Bear Lake

Save this guide to the best restaurants in Bear Lake when you need to find a place to dine during your next visit.

Female leg stepping on weigh scales. Healthy lifestyle, food and sport concept....

Health Utah

Sustainable weight loss: the science-backed way to achieve it

Learn more about Debbie's weight loss journey with Health Utah, who have a unique weight loss philosophy for success.

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...

Comcast

Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

Risks you should know before taking Ozempic