Last year the slap row at the Oscars made headlines. This year at the Oscars 2023 Comedian and TV host Jimmy Kimmel triggered a tiff after he joked about a diabetes drug and its alleged widespread use as a weight loss formula by Hollywood biggies.
During his monologue at the Oscars 2023, Kimmel spoke about the use of the injectable prescription drug to lose weight, wondering aloud: “Everybody looks so great. When I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder ‘Is Ozempic right for me?’”
The drug, Ozempic, was developed by Novo Nordisk in 2012. According to the pharma major, the drug, Semaglutide, is sold under the brand names Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus.
According to a report by Bloomberg, the increasing use of the diabetes drug Ozempic as a weight-loss treatment prompted the European Medicines Agency to urge doctors to prioritize the injection made by Novo Nordisk A/S for diabetics, who may be at risk if they don’t get it. Although the drug is for diabetic patients it is also the only drug licensed for helping patients to lose weight.
Celebrities are now publicly speaking out about using the drug to help lose weight, being prescribed by their doctors off-label. However, it doesn’t have an FDA license for weight loss.
However, the pharma major has strictly emphasised that they do not promote, suggest, or encourage off-label use of our medicines.
Jimmy Kimmel’s statement may have been made in a lighter vein, but the statement in itself shows that the drug’s cosmetic benefits are slowly dominating its medical advantages. Currently, the injectable version of the drug is not available in India. Oral semaglutide was launched in India in January last year.
What is Ozempic?
It is an antidiabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and as an anti-obesity medication for long-term weight management. The drug mimics the action of the human incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). Consequently, it increases the insulin secretion and it also increases blood sugar disposal, and improving glycemic control.
According to the pharma major, the drug is indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Earlier, Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman and Head, Endocrinology and Diabetes, Max Healthcare had told Financial Express.com that this drug is effective in typical Type 2 diabetes.
What are the side-effects of Ozempic?
Possible side effects include:
- abdominal pain,
- bloating (abdominal distension),
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in patients with type 2 diabetes,
- gas (flatulence),
- gastroenteritis, and
- gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Possible serious side effects requiring medical attention include:
- difficulty breathing,
- swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat,
- sudden vision loss,
- blurred vision,
- tunnel vision,
- eye pain or swelling,
- seeing halos around lights,
- fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats,
- fluttering in the chest,
- shortness of breath,
- sudden dizziness,
- severe headache,
- slurred speech,
- arm or leg weakness,
- trouble walking,
- loss of coordination,
- feeling unsteady,
- very stiff or rigid muscles,
- high fever,
- profuse sweating, and
Reportedly, in people with heart problems, it can cause damage to the retina of the eye (retinopathy). Kidney problems, allergic reactions, low blood sugar, and pancreatitis are also some of the less common side effects of Ozempic.
According to doctors, lifestyle modification is important to achieve weight loss goal. According to Bloomberg, demand for Ozempic has surged because it’s the same drug as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy weight-loss treatment, but at a different dose.
Doctors have been prescribing Ozempic off-label to patients desperate to try the most recent weight-loss treatment. While Ozempic is sold across Europe, Wegovy is yet to launch in most of the region and has also faced shortages in the US.
Demand for Wegovy has been spurred by use by Hollywood