A photo of an Ozempic injector.

Ozempic

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Updated Mar 28, 2023 at 05:52PM EDT by Zach.

Added Mar 28, 2023 at 01:43PM EDT by Philipp.

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About

Semaglutide, also sold under the brand names Ozempic and Wegovy, is an antidiabetic medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes that achieved massive virality in late 2022 and early 2023 as a weight loss medication. Rumored to have been used by Kim Kardashian and Mindy Kaling, among other celebrities, the drug achieved popularity as a weight loss method thanks to viral TikToks, with the trend resulting in its shortages and sparking controversy.

History

On December 5th, 2017, the FDA approved Semaglutide, sold under the brand name Ozempic, among others, for use in patients with type 2 diabetes. The medication is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, which increases insulin secretion, increases blood sugar disposal and improves glycemic control.[1] The immediate effect is lowered appetite and slowed digestion in the stomach, resulting in a decrease in food consumption and weight loss.

In 2019, a TV commercial for Ozempic started airing (shown below).



Online History

Ozempic, and another Semaglutide drug, Wegovy, started gaining online recognition as a way to lose weight in the spring of 2022, with the trend spreading mainly through TikTok where users advised others to use it for weight loss purposes. For example, on May 9th, 2022, TikToker[2] @calledhercalder posted a video about being prescribed the drug for weight loss (shown below). The video gained over 235,000 likes in 10 months.


https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7095915916218862894

On May 17th, 2022, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration issued a joint statement about the unexpected increase in consumer demand for the drug.[3] On May 31st, The Guardian[4] reported that Ozempic's virality on TikTok caused a shortage of the drug.

The drug's popularity further increased in September 2022 following rumors that Kim and Khloe Kardashian both used it to lose weight.[5]


The Hufflepuff RPh @Hufflepuff_RPh 5 Really? Is THAT why Ozempic is on backorder... bc Khloe Kardashian is using it to lose weight and now everyone wants it?? Is it really on backorder BC OF A KARDASHIAN?! #retailpharmacy ...also, am I the last to know? 11:15 AM. Aug 23, 2022

The prominence of the drug saw continuous growth online as more users shared videos about it on TikTok and posted about it on Twitter, Instagram and other sites. For example, on October 13th, 2023, TikToker[6] and plastic surgeon @dr.90210 posted a video about the drug, which received over 130,000 likes in five months (shown below, left). On January 1st, 2023, TikToker[7] @karolinaochoaa posted a video that garnered over 183,000 views in four months (shown below, right).


https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7154126520250830123
https://www.tiktok.com/embed/v2/7184286564925672747

On February 9th, 2023, The Cut[8] published an article about the drug's use as an appetite suppressant.

On March 12th, following the 95th Academy Awards, the suspected use of Semaglutide by Mindy Kaling and other celebrities became a viral topic of jokes and discussions on social media (example tweets shown below).[9][10]


Frank Costa @feistyfrank "were people doing Ozempic in the Dolby Theatre bathrooms?" #Oscars 6:33 PM - Mar 12, 2023 · 240K Views 2021 Bob @tweetsbybob_ Jason Derulo has just tripped over a used Ozempic needle and fallen down the stairs at the 2023 Oscars 6:57 PM Mar 12, 2023.95.9K Views ...

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Top Comments

Z_2
Z_2

Y'know, given that it's the thing literally everybody has wanted since the dawn of modern pharmaceuticals, it was inevitable there WOULD be an actually fully functional weight loss drug some day.

It being used exclusively by the rich for years and years and then immediately becoming unavailable entirely as soon as the broader public found out… also probably inevitable.

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