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Ozempic and Mounjaro- Why is Everyone Talking About Them?

Ozempic and Mounjaro- Why is Everyone Talking About Them?

Social media platforms, news outlets and probably most of your social circles are buzzing about the popular diabetes drugs Ozempic and Mounjaro, which treat type 2 diabetes. What you may not have known until recently is that these drugs have been used by celebrities for years because of its main side effect: weight loss. But has it gained popularity for the wrong reasons?

Approved by the FDA in 2017 to treat diabetes, Ozempic is a weekly injection that helps regulate blood sugar levels. Semaglutide, the drug’s main ingredient, replicates a hormone made in our intestines that is released when we eat. It increases insulin levels and causes digestion to stall, while helping the brain regulate appetite and control food intake. The hormonal changes help the body’s fat cells shrink over time leading to a decrease in inflammation and increased weight loss.

Mounjaro is the newest medication to hit the market and is also a weekly injection whose main ingredient, tirzepatide was approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes in 2022. Mounjaro is a first-of-its class medication that helps regulate two incretin hormones, GIP and GLP-1 directly involved in blood sugar control. By activating these hormones, Mounjaro slows digestion, decreases food intake and appetite and increases insulin sensitivity and secretion.

The drastic increase in the popularity of both Ozempic and Mounjaro has caused a nationwide shortage of what some call a “miracle drug.” But some experts believe that the people driving the shortage of the drugs have neither diabetes nor obesity. The shortage is particularly troublesome for those with type 2 diabetes who are struggling to get the medication needed to manage their blood sugar. If not properly managed, diabetes increases the chance of stroke, heart attack or even death.

It is important to note that neither Ozempic or Mounjaro are FDA approved as weight-loss drugs and much more research is needed to determine the long-term effects on those with no diabetes or obesity diagnosis.

Ozempic manufacturer Nova Nordisk produces another semaglutide drug called Wegovy, which was FDA approved in 2021 specifically for weight loss in those diagnosed as obese. Eli Lilly and Company that manufactures Mounjaro are fast-tracking the FDA approval for tirzepatide to be cleared for weight loss. Early estimates predict full FDA approval as early as April.

While weight loss can lead to improved health, taking semaglutide and tirzepatide products come with some risk. Most side effects reported are mild and include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and constipation. These medications also carry a risk of more serious side effects such as pancreatitis, gall stones, acute kidney problems, eye damage and increased heart rate.

Experts stress that even if you are taking these or other medications to help with weight loss, you should also focus on leading a healthy lifestyle with positive changing to diet and exercise that will help ensure long-term success.