Medications used to combat type 2 diabetes are trending on social media for fast weight loss — but some people are now reporting unwanted side effects like facial aging and vomiting.
The drugs — which include brands like Ozempic, Mounjaro, and Wegovy — have gone viral after several celebrities and influencers were rumored to be using them to reduce weight, including Kim Kardashian and Elon Musk.
But many doctors are concerned that the popularity has led to more people taking it without adequate medical supervision which could be risky as there is a potential for rare but serious side effects such as thyroid cancer, pancreatitis and kidney failure.
The most common side effects — as many women have documented on TikTok — are nausea, vomiting, and an aging face that’s been dubbed the “Ozempic Facial.”
Drugs such as Ozempic, which are used to combat type 2 diabetes, are trending on social media for rapid weight loss – but some are reporting side effects such as facial aging and vomiting.
Dr. Daniel Dzibas posts animation of ‘Ozempic’s face’ cringing from drug use
Jennifer Berger, 41, told The New York Times that she used Monjaro to lose weight after her pregnancy. The drug, which she injected into her thigh, stomach, or arm, worked well and she was able to lose 20 pounds.
But she said her face was beginning to look very gaunt.
“I remember looking in the mirror, and it was like I didn’t recognize myself,” she told The Times. My body looked great, but my face looked haggard and old.
It’s common for major areas of the face to shrink with weight loss — so much so that that person looks older, Dr. Oren Tepper, a New York-based plastic surgeon, told the Times.
“When it comes to facial aging, fat is usually more friend than foe,” he said. Losing weight may set your biological age back, but it tends to turn your face clock forward.
Mounjaro, which regulates blood sugar, suppresses appetite, and apparently helps shed extra pounds, is the latest demand on the market.
“Everyone is either into it or asking how to get it,” New York dermatologist Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, told the Times. “We haven’t seen a prescription drug have this much cocktail and dinner conversation since Viagra hit the market.”
Dr. Frank said he coined the term “Ozempic Facial” to describe the condition of facial sagging.
“I see him every day in my office,” he explained. A 50-year-old patient would come in, and all of a sudden, she was so skinny she needed a filler, which she didn’t need before. I look at her and say, “How long have you been at Ozempic?” I am right 100% of the time. It’s the drug of choice these days for the 1%.
A woman on TikTok spoke about her journey with injections and said they made her bloated, gassy, and didn’t feel well.
Another person posted a video of themselves in a towel and saying they vomited while they were in the shower
There are procedures to restore patients’ facial volume, The Times reports, in which doctors administer expensive but non-invasive injections of Radiesse and hyaluronic acid, or Sculptra, which stimulates collagen.
Fat can also be transferred from other parts of the body to act as a filler in the face.
Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, a dermatologist in New York, told The Times that “the idea is to balance the face to compensate for the hollow, downward bumps on the cheeks, jaws, and other areas.”
“We see more and more patients taking medication,” he said. “In general, it’s people in their 40s and 50s who lose significant amounts of weight and are concerned about facial aging and sagging that occurs as a result.”
Everyone from Hollywood stars to tech moguls are turning to the injectable drug to stay slim, with Elon Musk crediting the drug in October for his recent weight loss.
It’s been rumored that Kim Kardashian used Wegovy to lose weight fast in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress she wore to the 2022 Met Gala.
Everyone from Hollywood stars to tech moguls are turning to the injectable drug to stay slim, with Elon Musk crediting the drug in October for his recent weight loss. Pictured above is Elon Musk in August 2022. Jeremy Clarkson, 62, revealed that he started injecting himself with the “massive” drug, Ozempic, after fearing he might develop type 2 diabetes. Pictured above is Mr. Clarkson in 2017
Kim Kardashian is rumored to have used Wegovy to lose weight fast in order to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s famous ‘Happy Birthday Mr President’ dress at the 2022 Met Gala (pictured)
Since drugs are so prevalent, doctors warn against weight loss injections at home using raw chemicals bought online.
People are directed to websites that research groups typically use to purchase experimental chemicals amid nationwide shortages of Wegovy and Ozempic.
I found about a dozen websites selling semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, for $80 and $300 for up to two months. The chemicals were sold entirely at two websites, one of which had a tutorial teaching people how to mix and inject the ingredients.
But Dr. Shauna Levy, MD, assistant clinical professor of bariatric surgery at Tulane University in New Orleans, who sits on the American Board of Obesity Medicine, said:Taking the drug at home is “incredibly unsafe on many levels” and puts people at risk for side effects, unsafe ingredients and overdoses.
The websites—which often include words like “lab” or “asylum” in their title—sell a range of research chemicals, including hormones and steroids, which they say are “not for human consumption.”
Ozempic suppresses appetite and makes the stomach feel fuller for longer
A global shortage of the drug occurred last year due to a stampede by celebrities and influencers, endangering people who rely on it to treat type 2 diabetes and leaving semaglutide unavailable even on some peptide supplier sites.
Listings for many chemicals say they should only be purchased for scientific research purposes — a warning that allows sites to exploit a legal loophole.
DailyMail.com also found semaglutide in 10 locations. It was sold in powder form, to be mixed with bacteriostatic water before being injected into the abdomen.
Wegovy has become highly coveted since it first became available in the US last year, after it was shown to be able to reduce a person’s body weight by about 15 percent over the course of 68 weeks in clinical trials.
But its popularity, along with manufacturing issues, led to month-long shortages of both Novo’s drug Wegovy and its sibling, Ozempic.
Tirzepatide, another diabetes drug sold under the brand name Mounjaro by Eli Lilly, is also down, according to the FDA’s online drug shortage database.
Wegovy and Ozempic work by stimulating the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 that is naturally released from the intestines after meals.
Wegovy and Ozempic work by stimulating the body to produce a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 which is naturally released from the intestine after meals.
The hormone helps control blood sugar and makes people feel full so they know when to stop eating.
Results from a study of 2,000 people over 15 months show that participants lost an average of 15 percent of their body weight, which equals (34 lbs) (15 kg).
The group received one-on-one counseling sessions from registered dietitians to help them adhere to a reduced-calorie diet and exercise plan, along with weekly injections.
The volunteers reported an improved quality of life and reduced risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, such as lower waist circumference, blood lipids, blood sugar, and blood pressure.
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