The drug can redirect the trajectory of a child's life, or deviate it.
Somehow, the American desire for Ozempica is only growing. The drug's active ingredient, semaglutide, is sold as an obesity drug under the brand name Wegovy, and has become so popular that its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, recentlylimited delivery in the USmipaused advertisingto avoid shortage. His promise attracted potential patients and encouraged apharmaceutical arms raceto create more powerful drugs.
Part of the interest stems from Ozempic's potential in adolescents: In December, the FDA approved Wegovy as a drug foradolescents with obesity, which affects22 place12 to 19 years of age in the United States. The drug's ability to promote weight loss in adolescents has been described as "surprisingly.” In January, in its new guidelines for the treatment of obesity in children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)recommendedthat doctors are considering adding weight-loss drugs like semaglutide as a treatment for some patients.
But while many doctors and obesity expertssemaglutide accepted as a drug for adults, some worry that taking the drug at such a young age, and at such a precarious time in life, could pose serious risks, especially since the long-term physical and mental effects of the drug are still unknown. Others believe in itYeahusing this medication in adolescents is riskier because obesity makes adolescents vulnerable toserious health conditionsmiearly death. In part due to apprehension among doctors, semaglutide prescriptions for teens aren't gaining momentum like they are for adults. At this point, it remains highly uncertain whether these drugs will be used as a treatment for adolescents.
Semaglutide is not only effective for adolescents; could beimprovemore effective than in adults. In a large project funded by Novo NordisklearnPublished innew english journal of medicine"The degree of weight loss in adolescents was better than what was seen in adult trials," Aaron S. Kelly, co-director of the Center for Pediatric Obesity Medicine at the University of California School of Medicine, told me. Minnesota. In another project funded by Novo NordisklearnPublished last week, Kelly's team showed that the drug, combined with counseling and exercise, nearly halved the number of obese adolescents after 68 weeks of treatment. For both teens and adults, a weekly dose doesn't "magically eliminate body fat," Kelly said; instead, it works by inducing feelings of satiety and calming hunger pangs.
The experience of adolescents with obesity is different, and in some respects more intense, than that of the elderly. Puberty is a time of full growth and development, so the body fights off attempts to lose weight "with every mechanism it has," Tamara Hannon, a pediatric endocrinologist at Indiana University School of Medicine, told me. Teens may also have less control than adults over what they eat or how active they are because they are highly restricted by family and school, as well as social pressure to conform to the way their peers eat. "Making good choices means doing something different than most other kids," Hannon said. "There is something on every corner that is directly opposed to losing weight."
Because obesity is a chronic disease, its early development can be devastating. In many cases, it can lead to diseases like type 2 diabetes and fatty liver at a young age. Obese children arefive times more likelybut his peers to have him in adulthood; as obese adolescents become obese adults, they can "develop a very, very aggressive disease," said Fatima Stanford, MD, PhD, an obesity medicine specialist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. . . Weight-loss drugs give doctors the ability to intervene before obesity snowballs, she said, which is why the new AAPchildhood obesity guidelinesrecommend its use as part of early and aggressive treatment, in addition to many hours of personal health and lifestyle therapy. If used early enough, semaglutide or other drugs can redirect an adolescent's entire life trajectory.
But semaglutide can also derail teens. Because treatment is considered a lifelong effort, discontinuation often leads to rapid weight regain, teens who start taking the drugs will be on them for decades. "We have no way of knowing if these drugs, used so early in life for so long, could have unexpected side effects," David Ludwig, an endocrinologist at Children's Hospital in Boston, told me. While adults face many of the same unknowns, the risks for teens can be more serious because their bodies and brains are constantly changing. Of particular concern are the possible effects of the drug on the specific physiological changes of adolescence. "We need to look at the development of puberty and the girls' menstrual history," Hannon said. Also, medications can causeunpleasant side effectssuch as gastrointestinal problems and can have other effects, includingsignificant muscle lossmirewiring the brain's reward circuits. Scientists are just beginning to understand these effects; for the moment, aloneof theThere have been large studies of semaglutide in adolescents, none of which included a long follow-up period.
The mental health consequences of semaglutide treatment, an important aspect of obesity control, are even less well understood. Adolescents are "more likely than adults to have intermittent access to medications," said Kathleen Miller, an adolescent medicine specialist at Children's Hospital of Minnesota, and missing multiple doses in a row can pose physical and psychological risks. Another concern is that the overall effect of taking semaglutide (reducing appetite, leading to less eating) is essentially the same as the effect of diet. When teens go on very restrictive diets, whether or not they include weight-loss medications, "we know it can be detrimental to mental health and encourage eating disorders," Hannon said. Because the brain is so plastic during puberty, "there is a risk that these patterns will become entrenched in adolescence," Miller said.
With so many unknowns, would obese teens be better off avoiding semaglutide? At least for now, many pediatricians are reluctant to prescribe it. "The idea of using obesity pharmacotherapy was challenging even in adults a few years ago," says Angela Fitch, assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and president of the Association for Obesity Medicine; acceptance of its role in pediatric care is further delayed. But denying teens drugs, she told me, is the biggest risk: Teens develop unhealthy ways of thinking about their bodies when they're not helped to lose weight. Explaining to a teen that obesity is not their fault and correcting the underlying biological problem with medication or other treatments helps them develop a "better self-image," she said.
None of the experts I spoke to said that semaglutide should never be used to treat adolescents. Even those who were wary of the drug recognized that it might be medically appropriate for teens who really struggle with weight and have had little success losing it by any other means. That argument can only get stronger as teens endorse medications that are more suitable, or with fewer side effects. This week, Novo Nordisk and Pfizer announced that tablet versions of these drugs are now available.success in the first tests.
Even without all the answers about how the drug might affect adolescents in the long term, Fitch predicted that "the acceptance of semaglutide and other anti-obesity drugs in pediatric clinical care will be slow and gradual." Ultimately, they can be seen as just one of several weight loss tools that help prepare children for a healthier life. Treatment of adolescent obesity shouldn't be an either/or choice, Ludwig said, "it's both and." He suggested that the combination of semaglutide with a low carbohydrate diet, for example, couldSynergistic effects on weight loss in adolescents..
For the foreseeable future, semaglutide is not as ready to be taken in adolescents as it is in adults. Despite all the buzz surrounding Ozempic, experts and their patients face a difficult choice based on different risk assessments: what might happen if teens are treated with drugs, and what might happen if they don't get treatment. In either case, teens have more to gain and more to lose.
Can Ozempic cause mental health issues? ›
In rare cases, the use of Ozempic may cause anxiety and mood swings, irritability, shakiness, and confusion. However, when you take other medications along with Ozempic, it may escalate anxiety or mood change.What is the biggest side effect of Ozempic? ›
Semaglutide (Ozempic, Wegovy, Rybelsus) can cause side effects that some people are unable to tolerate. Following dosing guidelines can help manage these side effects. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common semaglutide side effects.How does Ozempic affect the brain? ›
Ozempic contains semaglutide, which mimics a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1; when people take the drug, higher levels of that hormone flood the receptors in our brain that regulate our eating behaviors, Dr. Hwang said, changing how our neurons transmit signals to the rest of our body.Who should not use Ozempic? ›
Do not use Ozempic® if you or any of your family have ever had MTC, or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).Does Ozempic affect hormones? ›
On the other hand, some studies suggest that Ozempic could have potential negative effects on fertility by altering hormone levels. Ozempic can reduce levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are essential signals for coordinating regular ovulation.Is Ozempic a high risk medication? ›
This drug has a boxed warning about possible risk of thyroid cancer. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous. In animals, Ozempic can increase the risk of thyroid tumors.Are there long term side effects of Ozempic? ›
Drugs such as Ozempic have caused new or worsening kidney disease, including kidney failure, in some people. If you become dehydrated from other side effects of Ozempic, such as vomiting or diarrhea, this could also cause kidney problems. Your doctor may monitor your kidney health closely during your Ozempic treatment.Do the side effects of Ozempic ever go away? ›
Most people who develop side effects from taking Ozempic have only mild, short-term symptoms. Side effects of Ozempic should go away on their own after a few days or weeks. In rare cases, Ozempic can cause some side effects that may not go away.What does Ozempic do to your face? ›
“Ozempic face” is a term for common side effects of the type 2 diabetes medication semaglutide (Ozempic). It can cause sagging and aging of facial skin. A doctor may recommend lifestyle modifications or facial fillers to treat these effects.Does Ozempic change your brain chemistry? ›
Ozempic works by producing a synthetic version of the hormone GLP-1, which is released into the intestine and pancreas during eating. When semaglutide hits GLP-1 receptors in the brain, it mimics the effect of eating so you have less appetite and feel full sooner.
Why do I feel bad on Ozempic? ›
Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) that slows down stomach emptying. It may present with mild to moderate stomach upset and nausea. These symptoms could be temporary and last for a few weeks. To relieve indigestion symptoms, eat smaller portions of foods throughout the day.What percentage of people have side effects from Ozempic? ›
The most common adverse reactions, reported in ≥5% of patients treated with Ozempic® are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.What foods to avoid on Ozempic? ›
It is recommended that you take Ozempic before meals, rather than after, to minimise any potential side effects from eating high-fat or high-sugar foods. Foods high in fat or sugar include candy, ice cream, doughnuts, processed meats, french fries, fried chicken, any other fried foods, crisps and other fatty snacks.What organs does Ozempic affect? ›
- inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). ...
- changes in vision. ...
- low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). ...
- kidney problems (kidney failure). ...
- serious allergic reactions. ...
- gallbladder problems.
Mounjaro has been studied head-to-head against Ozempic. After 40 weeks, people taking it saw a better reduction in hemoglobin A1C levels (average blood sugar over 3 months) compared to Ozempic. And they lost more weight, too. Mounjaro is only approved to treat Type 2 diabetes for now.What happens if you take Ozempic without diabetes? ›
Ideally, you should not take Ozempic if you do not have diabetes, or if you're pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning on becoming pregnant. Ozempic may cause serious (but rare) side effects, including thyroid C-cell tumors and medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC).How long should you stay on Ozempic? ›
A person can stay on Ozempic® so long as they are tolerating the medication and it is deemed appropriate by their treating provider. There is no specific time frame when someone should stop taking Ozempic as it is a medication that is intended for chronic (long-term) use.What are the post Ozempic problems? ›
The drugs also come with a warning that they may increase the risk of thyroid cancer, acute pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, low blood sugar, kidney injury, damage to the eye's retina and suicidal thinking or behavior.What age is Ozempic for? ›
Safety and efficacy of OZEMPIC have not been established in pediatric patients (younger than 18 years).Why is Ozempic not covered by insurance? ›
They aren't FDA-approved for weight loss, so they often aren't covered for that use. Ozempic and similar drugs mimic a naturally occurring gut hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1, which binds to and activates receptors in various parts of the body that can have beneficial effects for diabetes and obesity.
Will Ozempic reduce belly fat? ›
Will Ozempic or Wegovy reduce belly fat? The answer appears to be yes. That Novo Nordisk-funded study of almost 2,000 overweight or obese adults without diabetes also found their visceral fat — the type that accumulates in the belly — was reduced from baseline with semaglutide, along with their total fat mass.Can I stop taking Ozempic cold turkey? ›
For most people, stopping Ozempic cold turkey is not recommended. When to stop Ozempic is an individual decision you should come to with the help of your healthcare provider. If your health provider agrees it's time to stop taking Ozempic, they will provide you with instructions for tapering off your dose.Do you regain weight after stopping Ozempic? ›
Some individuals may actually gain more weight after stopping an obesity drug than they initially lost, Conde-Knape added. Studies have similarly shown weight rebound in people who stop taking Ozempic.Can Ozempic damage kidneys? ›
There is a potential risk of kidney injury associated with both Wegovy and Ozempic use since semaglutide is cleared out of your blood through the kidneys.Do celebrities take Ozempic? ›
Demand has skyrocketed for the diabetes and obesity treatment Ozempic, as many social media influencers and celebrities are suspected of using the drug as a quick fix for weight loss.Does .25 Ozempic do anything? ›
The starting Ozempic dosage is usually 0.25 mg once weekly. This dose isn't intended to have an effect on your blood glucose. Instead, it's meant to help your body start adjusting to digestion-related side effects.Does Ozempic cause depression? ›
Does Ozempic cause depression? There is no direct link between taking Ozempic and depression, but some patients may experience mood changes while on the medication. These changes can range from mild to severe, depending on the person and their situation.Is Kim Kardashian on Ozempic? ›
Celebrity cosmetic dermatologist Simon Ourian, friend and doctor of the Kardashians, told The Hollywood Reporter he's seeing patients come in with saggy skin and "deflated" butts after losing weight too quickly from the popular new drug Ozempic. (No member of the Kardashian family has publically said they use Ozempic.)Do the Kardashians use Ozempic? ›
Despite the Kardashian doc's dishing, sister Khloé has denied using the drug, but other celebrities aren't ashamed to share their Ozempic stories. Indeed, comedian Chelsea Handler even claimed to have taken the medication unknowingly because her doctor was practically giving it away.What happens when I stop taking Ozempic? ›
If you stop taking Ozempic, the weight you lost will likely return, fast. People who ceased use of semaglutide gained back, on average, a full two-thirds of the weight they had lost on the drug within one year, according to an August 2022 study, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Can Ozempic change your hair? ›
Patients who have taken Ozempic as a weight-loss drug may experience hair loss approximately three to six months after beginning treatment due to the stress the body undergoes when calorie intake is decreased.Does Ozempic fix your metabolism? ›
Ozempic® (semaglutide): It's one of several GLP-1 medications that are best known for their ability to help patients with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar—but the drug is also effective in helping those with obesity or overweight improve their metabolic health and lose weight.Can Ozempic cause extreme fatigue? ›
Fatigue may be a side effect of Ozempic. It's reported in more than 0.4% of people taking the drug, so it's not common.What happens if you eat fast food on Ozempic? ›
Fried foods and greasy and fatty foods (most often from fast food restaurants) can cause bloating, nausea, constipation, and gas, which can be exacerbated if you take Ozempic.Can you drink coffee on Ozempic? ›
The general guidance is that it's best to limit consumption to no more than one cup of coffee per day when taking Ozempic®—but listen to your body and, most importantly, stay hydrated.Can you eat whatever you want on Ozempic? ›
No specific foods need to be avoided while taking Ozempic and there is no fixed Ozempic diet or meal plans — one less thing for you to worry about! For certain people, carbohydrates, sugary, high-fat, heavily processed and calorie-dense foods are off-limits when dieting.Can Ozempic damage your stomach? ›
Ozempic can cause other digestive side effects, such as gas, burping, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation. These side effects may affect your belly pain. Belly pain can also be a symptom of pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas). This is a rare but serious side effect of Ozempic.How much weight can you lose in a month with Ozempic? ›
How much weight will I lose with Ozempic? About a third of people who take Ozempic for weight loss will lose 10% or more of their body weight. Most people should expect to lose at least 5% of their starting body weight when using Ozempic for weight loss.Is there a natural alternative to Ozempic? ›
PhenQ – This all-natural weight loss supplement offers almost the same benefits as Ozempic and other semaglutide drugs. It's also more versatile than Ozempic because aside from suppressing appetite, it also boosts metabolism to help patients burn more calories throughout the day.What else can I take instead of Ozempic? ›
Possible Ozempic alternatives include Bydureon (exenatide), Victoza (liraglutide), Mounjaro (tirzepatide), Tanzeum (Albiglutide), and Trulicity (dulaglutide).
What can I have instead of Ozempic? ›
The other alternative medications approved for weight loss include: Liraglutide (Saxenda) – similar to ozempic but given as a once daily injection. Naltrexone/Buproprion (Contrave) – a medication that decreases both hunger and cravings. Orlistat (Xenical) – rarely used anymore due to unpleasant side effects.Does semaglutide affect mood? ›
This medicine may cause some people to be agitated, irritable, or display other abnormal behaviors. It may also cause some people to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies or to become more depressed.What happens if you just stop taking Ozempic? ›
Ozempic stimulates the release of insulin and lowers blood sugar. When you abruptly stop using it, the amount of glucose in your body can spike, especially if you have diabetes. Some may end up in the ER due to sheer exhaustion from the blood sugar spikes and crashes.Can I stop Ozempic cold turkey? ›
For most people, stopping Ozempic cold turkey is not recommended. When to stop Ozempic is an individual decision you should come to with the help of your healthcare provider. If your health provider agrees it's time to stop taking Ozempic, they will provide you with instructions for tapering off your dose.Does semaglutide affect the brain? ›
Semaglutide stimulates neuronal activity in brain areas involved in appetite regulation.Can Ozempic worsen depression? ›
Does Ozempic cause depression? There is no direct link between taking Ozempic and depression, but some patients may experience mood changes while on the medication. These changes can range from mild to severe, depending on the person and their situation.Can semaglutide affect hormones? ›
This leads to improved glycemic control and better weight management. It also affects the brain, decreasing hunger hormones and causing a feeling of fullness. Semaglutide works by binding to and activating the GLP-1 receptor in the pancreas, stimulating insulin secretion and reducing glucagon levels.Can you stay on Ozempic for life? ›
Experts said they consider Ozempic and Wegovy to be lifelong medications.What organ does Ozempic affect? ›
Drugs such as Ozempic have caused new or worsening kidney disease, including kidney failure, in some people. If you become dehydrated from other side effects of Ozempic, such as vomiting or diarrhea, this could also cause kidney problems. Your doctor may monitor your kidney health closely during your Ozempic treatment.What foods to avoid on semaglutide? ›
Fried foods and fatty foods, such as fast food, and foods high in sugar tend to be the toughest for your body to digest and the most likely to cause nausea while taking a GLP-1 medication.
Who Cannot take semaglutide? ›
Semaglutide is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of certain types of thyroid cancer, specifically thyroid C-cell tumors such as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), or in patients with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).How many days can you skip Ozempic? ›
If you miss a dose of Ozempic®, use it as soon as possible within 5 days after your missed dose. If you miss a dose for more than 5 days, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule.Why do people regain weight after stopping Ozempic? ›
Because people stop feeling full and their food cravings return when they stop Ozempic, weight gain is likely, Kushner says.How long do you stay on Ozempic for weight loss? ›
Ozempic treatment for weight loss starts at 0.25mg once per week. You stay at that low dose for at least the first 4 weeks of treatment whilst your body gets used to the drug.