When 28-year-old Danielle K. gained around 50 pounds during the pandemic, she tried everything to drop the weight: intermittent fasting, working out consistently, and focusing on a balanced diet. But nothing made a difference on the scale or in the mirror.
Danielle’s sister has type 1 diabetes and has started taking a prescription drug called Ozempic that has a known weight loss side effect. While the drug is technically prescribed and FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes, Danielle noticed that her sister shed “a significant amount of weight” after a year of injections. So, Danielle started doing her own research, diving into Reddit threads about other people’s experience using the new drug. And then she asked her primary care doctor about it.
Since Danielle was considered obese, her doctor prescribed the semaglutide injection, Ozempic, off-label. That means a doctor prescribes you a drug that has been FDA-approved to treat a different condition than the one you’re using it for. (Doctors say the diabetes drug can be used for weight loss alongside a healthy diet and regular exercise, since it decreases appetite and slows digestion.)
Six months later, Danielle’s down 25 pounds. “I’m somebody who has struggled with binge eating in the past, and who constantly thinks about food, so Ozempic has made it a lot easier to identify when I’m full and not mindlessly eat,” she says. “It’s definitely been really great for me.”
Danielle is not alone. These drugs have been whispered about in elite circles for about a year now, with celebs seemingly “suddenly showing up 25 pounds lighter,” as Andy Cohen pointed out in a tweet in September. “What happens when they stop taking #Ozempic ?????” he asked, making a tongue-in-cheek joke about the drug.
While it’s unclear which, if any, of the rich and famous are actually taking the drug, billionaire Elon Musk was quick to respond to questions on Twitter about his newly ripped physique by crediting “fasting” before adding, “and Wegovy.”
The prescription medications, sold under brand name Wegovy for weight loss, and Ozempic for diabetes (and prescribed off-label for weight loss), have made their way into the mainstream thanks in part to Reddit threads and social media. They’ve even gone viral …….