If you’ve watched the news, been scrolling through social media, or occasionally read blog posts, chances are you’ve probably heard about Ozempic. In the last year, this once previously little-discussed drug has become one of the most in-demand medications in the United States. Even though it’s prescribed to patients to manage type 2 diabetes, many people are trying to get a hold of the medication for other reasons. However, none of them were expecting to also experience what is known as ‘Ozempic face’ and ‘Ozempic butt’ in the process.

Keep reading to learn what Ozempic is, why it has celebrities trying to get their hands on it, and how it’s impacting people’s faces and derrière.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand name for an FDA-approved medication, semaglutide, that first reached the market in 2012. This medication is specifically approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, there has been a dramatic uptick in Ozempic use over the last two years, as people have responded to reports that its use can lead to dramatic weight loss.

How Does Ozempic Work?

According to the manufacturers of Ozempic, the drug works to control type 2 diabetes in three distinct ways. First, it stimulates the pancreas to ramp up insulin production in response to spikes in blood sugar. This counteracts the usual challenge of type 2 diabetes, which is that a person’s body does not produce enough insulin to deal with increased blood sugar levels.

In addition to that, Ozempic also works on your liver to ensure that it is not pumping too much sugar into your bloodstream. Then, finally, it slows down the rate that food transits through your stomach, which may minimize blood sugar spikes after meals.

Ozempic Side Effects

As with all medications, you risk experiencing side effects, and Ozempic is no different. Fortunately, though, most of the side effects associated with this drug aren’t particularly troublesome and don’t prevent individuals from regularly using it.

Some of the most common side effects associated with Ozempic use include:

  • Dehydration
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Gallbladder pain
  • Pancreatitis

If you experience any of these issues, or other troubling symptoms, while on Ozempic, reach out to your provider for medical advice. 

An Unexpected But Potentially Desirable Side Effect

One of the most surprising side effects of Ozempic is also the reason behind its dramatic spike in popularity, and that is weight loss. But it’s not just a little weight loss. For many, it’s been weight loss to a dramatic degree. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic) mimics the GLP-1 hormone that naturally occurs in the body. This hormone acts on the brain to reduce a person’s appetite and give them a sense of satiety. Not surprisingly, this generally results in a person consuming fewer calories, and this calorie deficit, in turn, leads to weight loss.

The results of preliminary studies on how effective of a tool semaglutide is in leading to weight loss have been stunning. One study found that overweight adults who used semaglutide for just under a year and a half lost, on average, 15 percent of their body weight.

Not surprisingly, people looking for a fast track to weight loss have seen this unexpected side effect as one of the most significant selling points of any semaglutide products on the market, including Ozempic.

What is Ozempic Face?

Many individuals, with and without diabetes, are thrilled with the weight loss they experience while using Ozempic. However, it doesn’t come without some potential downsides.

As noted above, some people lose 15 percent or more of their body weight, and this weight loss can often happen in an extremely short period of time. Often when people lose lots of weight, and they lose it quickly, they’ll begin to notice loose or sagging skin. However, while one might expect this to happen to their arms and legs, they’re typically surprised when these changes occur to their face.

Many people using Ozempic have noticed their facial skin sagging, particularly around their cheeks, jowls, and neck. Some have even seen wrinkles and other signs of aging after starting the medication. These alarming changes have been termed “Ozempic face” by hundreds of social media users confused by their results.

Truthfully though, Ozempic is not the root cause of the facial skin sagging, as this would likely still happen if someone used another method of weight loss. This happens while using Ozempic because the medication impacts a person’s appetite and thus leads to them eating less. As they lose body weight, their face also loses facial fat, which once acted as a cushion for the skin. In addition, the reduced levels of collagen and elastin interfere with the structural integrity of the face and may cause wrinkles.

What Is Ozempic Butt?

Even though it has not received as much attention as Ozempic face, Ozempic butt is also a problem that affects many people.

Similar to how Ozempic face occurs, Ozempic butt may also happen due to dramatic weight loss. Since many people, especially women, tend to hold more fat in their butt and thighs, weight loss is often particularly marked in these areas. The additional loss of muscle mass and tone makes skin sagging even more noticeable if proper measures aren’t taken.

Another thing to consider is that since people on Ozempic don’t eat as often, they may not be getting enough healthy nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. Without these nutrients, it can be difficult for the body to repair damage to the skin and reshape itself after holding excess body weight.

What Can You Do About Ozempic Face and Ozempic Butt?

The good news is that there may be ways to address both of these unwanted side effects. Consider these three suggestions:

  • Drink more water, as staying well-hydrated is essential for healthy skin;
  • Increase your protein intake (collagen specifically), which can help tighten your skin. If you are not hungry, consider adding a scoop of protein powder to some of your meals;
  • Try strength training to build muscle mass, as that can help tone areas of your body at risk of sagging and reduce the appearance of loose skin.
  • Consider dermal fillers for your face. Dermal fillers can plump your skin and counteract the sagging appearance of extra or loose skin.
  • Ensure you get enough vitamins in your diet, especially C, E, A, and D. Each of those nutrients helps with skin aging and sagging.

The Rise of Off-Label Ozempic Prescriptions

Even though Ozempic is currently only approved for use by adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, this hasn’t stopped non-diabetics from seeking doctors who’ll write off-label prescriptions.

In recent months, the media has been rife with speculation about which celebrities are or are not using Ozempic. This is especially true if a celebrity has had a noticeable weight loss and/or has hollowed-out cheeks, often a telltale sign of Ozempic face. From the celebrity world, the Ozempic craze quickly spread to Instagram influencers, and from there, it has seeped into the real world.

What’s also interesting is that many of the non-diabetics seeking the medication are not obese or medically overweight. They simply see Ozempic as an easy answer to losing a stubborn five or ten pounds that they struggle with. While some doctors have said no to these prescriptions, a surprising number seem willing to co-sign on this off-label use. In addition, some patients do not seem overly concerned about the Ozempic rebound, meaning that weight is quickly regained once medication use stops.

Perhaps not surprisingly, this has occasionally led to a drug shortage. As a result, many people who need it for their type 2 diabetes have been unable to get it. The manufacturers of Ozempic have struggled to keep up with the surge in demand, and while the supply may be stabilized now, a shortage could very easily happen again.

Ozempic: Wrapping Up The Ins And Outs

Type 2 diabetes affects millions of Americans, and FDA-approved options that include semaglutide have promising results for the individuals it’s intended for. However, because drugs like Ozempic may also lead to potentially desirable effects like weight loss, those who actually need it may have difficulty getting it. This unexpected phenomenon puts patients with type 2 diabetes in a precarious situation.

Ozempic helps people with diabetes lower their blood sugar, so when patients don’t have that, they’re at risk of devastating health outcomes. For instance, poorly controlled diabetes ups the likelihood of preventable issues such as complications with one’s eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart, and more. Therefore, shortages like the most recent ones are troubling.

In addition, not enough research has been done on the long-term effects of taking Ozempic if you don’t have diabetes. Situations like Ozempic butt and Ozempic face are just what we see on the surface, but what’s happening internally is yet to be revealed.

References

  1. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/medications-containing-semaglutide-marketed-type-2-diabetes-or-weight-loss
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/ozempic-face#other-side-effects
  4. https://dpcj.org/index.php/dpc/article/view/dermatol-pract-concept-articleid-dp1201a18 
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11706283/#:~:text=Abstract,the%20visceral%20(abdominal)%20depot.
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429075/
  7. https://www.dovepress.com/dietary-water-affects-human-skin-hydration-and-biomechanics-peer-reviewed-fulltext-article-CCID
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-tighten-loose-skin#:~:text=Building%20muscle%20mass%20through%20weight,to%20shrink%20with%20weight%20loss.
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542252/
  11. https://www.ashp.org/drug-shortages/current-shortages/drug-shortage-detail.aspx?id=813&loginreturnUrl=SSOCheckOnly
  12. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/basics/type2.html#:~:text=More%20than%2037%20million%20Americans,adults%20are%20also%20developing%20it
  13. https://www.ucihealth.org/blog/2020/02/controlling-diabetes#:~:text=Uncontrolled%20blood%20glucose%20also%20puts,kidney%20transplantation%2C%E2%80%9D%20says%20Yang.