If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that human beings will always jump on the bandwagon to lose weight. Do you remember Fen Phen? Atkins? Olestra? Trends come and go, but obviously our collective desire for lean, taut bodies is constant – which is why 2022 may well be remembered as the year of Ozempic. Right now, no social gathering or midnight TikTok scroll is complete without at least a mention of the ubiquitous and controversial drug. Ozempic’s sudden popularity, thanks in part to celebrities touting it, made it the Botox of weight loss.
“There’s a large influx of patients coming in asking for it by name,” says Jamie Gabel, PA-C, of Advitam at Shafer Clinic At New York. “They know what it’s called, they know what it feels like, and they specifically ask for it before anything else.” This, he observes, is a new phenomenon that has only begun in recent months.
A quick reminder: Ozempic is the brand name (like Tylenol) for a GLP1 agonist peptide called semaglutide, which helps the pancreas produce insulin. It was originally developed and approved by the FDA in 2017 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but a side effect of the drug is appetite suppression and weight loss, which is why it is now used by non-diabetics as a figure reducer. daily aid, despite possible serious side effects such as nausea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Off-label drug uses aren’t new, but here’s the catch: Increased demand for Ozempic has left local pharmacies and Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer, clamoring to keep pace. Which means diabetics who need the drug to treat their condition have a harder time getting it – and those who can may find the price much higher, especially if they don’t go through insurance. Market watchers speculate that the run on Ozempic actually started when supplies of Wegovy – a preparation of semaglutide specifically prescribed for weight loss – began to run low, prompting many to switch to non-use. Ozempic Compliant instead. Add a Tiktok hashtag or two, and you have a viral sensation situation where supply simply cannot keep up with demand.
Fortunately, there are effective alternative medications for those using Ozempic for the treatment of diabetes. And for those who want to try their luck to lose a few extra pounds? The best answer is to wait. Novo Nordisk and pharmacies are “working on it,” says Gabel. Wegovy is poised for a robust relaunch in 2023, Ozempic supplies are expected to stabilize by March, and competitors waiting in the wings with similar drugs are expected to hit the market in the coming months. Ozempic’s year? This could well turn out to be an era.
Garrett Munce writes about men’s styling and grooming. He wrote for Squire, New York magazine, Projectorand Very good light and held positions at QG and O. Follow his skincare obsession on Instagram at @garrettmunce.