Its not a miracle pill the popularity of a weight loss

‘It’s not a miracle pill’: the popularity of a weight-loss drug worries

The growing popularity of a diabetes weight-loss drug that has gone viral on social media is worrying experts, who are warning of the “miracle cure.”

• Also read: [VIDÉO] Meet Ozempic, a drug that suppresses hunger

“It’s not a miracle pill […]. We take some kind of patch that works for the time we take it. But after that we go back to the old lifestyle habits we had and we will regain the weight,” warns Andrée-Ann Dufour Bouchard, nutritionist at ÉquiLibre, an organization specializing in body image.

The drug Ozempic is currently the subject of a promotional campaign. Without counting the countless testimonials praising its virtues on social networks. Netizens here and elsewhere are promoting their weight loss efforts, spreading rumors that Ozempic is the new fad drug among celebrities who have lost weight like the Kardashian family.

However, the side effects can be serious, while nausea, diarrhea, and headaches can occur.

Approved in Canada to treat type 2 diabetes, the drug also works as an appetite suppressant. It thus enables a weight loss of 6 kg or more. And doctors agree to prescribe it for that purpose, even if it’s not the indicated use.

“Professional judgment must be used,” says Jean-Pierre Dion of the Federation of General Practitioners of Quebec.

Too much demand

Ozempic contains the same ingredient as the weight loss drug Wegovy, which is approved for weight loss but not yet available in Canada.

“Demand in the United States is so strong that inventory is not available,” says Pierre-Marc Gervais of the Quebec Association of Proprietary Pharmacists.

“If we don’t make lasting changes in our lifestyle, the weight will come back,” he warns.

“Our concern is that diabetics will no longer have access to it,” he continues, referring in particular to the shortages seen in Australia over the past year.

monitoring required

“It’s not fairy tale powder, it requires necessary monitoring in terms of nutrition and psychological support,” says Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret, President of the Professional Council of Diabetes Quebec.

He fears “almost street drug use, with a black market unfolding before our eyes.”

But the rush for weight loss drugs is far from over.

This suggests that a competitor is about to launch a drug that promises even greater weight loss.

The Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec only reimburses Ozempic for diabetics. Since its launch in 2019, more than 35,000 Quebecers have taken it for diabetes.

Some private insurance companies cover the cost of weight loss.

– With Heloise Archambault


■ Approved drug for diabetes by type 2

■ an injection, weekly

■ tone appetite suppressant effect also helps with weight loss

■ Several possible side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and headaches

Less pounds, but not without suffering

Quebecers who have turned to Ozempic for weight loss are seeing results but note that side effects are sometimes severe.

“Many are not very pleasant, I don’t know if everyone would stand it,” stresses Mélanie De Lafontaine, who found out about the drug on social media.

In six months she lost about 26 pounds with the Ozempic. His doctor agreed to prescribe it after he failed to lose weight despite exercising up to five days a week.

Ozempic is injected once a week and Ms De Lafontaine says her nausea can last for two days after the injection.

At the moment, she does not know how long she will be partially reimbursed by her private insurance for the drug, which costs her $87 a month.

A Facebook group dedicated to Quebecers who use it for weight loss already has nearly 1,000 members, testament to Ozempic’s popularity.

Over 50 pounds

For her part, Annick Gauthier left the Ozempic last year after losing just over 50 pounds in one year, double her target.

“It reduces snacking cravings. I was hungry, but after two bites I felt full,” she explains.

But as soon as the drug was stopped, the craving returned. “It’s a band-aid on the wound,” the 52-year-old recognizes.

She says she took Ozempic with follow-up from her doctor and regular blood tests. Five years after bariatric surgery, she saw her weight gaining again and was looking for a way to control it.

She had previously tried Saxenda, which is also a weight loss drug. However, the latter must be injected daily.

The side effects were too harsh, Ms Gauthier says. However, with Ozempic, she still had diarrhea after the injection.

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