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Top doctor warns against taking weight loss drugs such as Ozempic to get 'beach body ready' for summer

Nathan Rennolds   

Top doctor warns against taking weight loss drugs such as Ozempic to get 'beach body ready' for summer
  • A top UK doctor has warned people against using weight loss drugs to get "beach body ready."
  • Stephen Powis said drugs like Ozempic should not be seen as "a quick fix."

One of the UK's top doctors has warned people against taking weight loss drugs such as Ozempic to get "beach body ready" for summer, saying they should not be seen as a "quick fix."

The National Health Service (NHS) England medical director Stephen Powis said such drugs needed to be taken with proper medical supervision and warned that they could have potentially dangerous side effects, The Times of London reported.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference, Powis said: "We know these new drugs will be a powerful part of our arsenal dealing with obesity, but they should not be abused. Buying medication online without a doctor's supervision can lead to complications and dangerous consequences."

"Drugs including Ozempic and Wegovy should only be used by people prescribed them for obesity or diabetes. I'm worried about reports that people are misusing them — they are not intended as a quick fix for people trying to get 'beach body ready.'"

Vicky Price, an acute physician and president-elect of the Society for Acute Medicine, said some of the more dangerous potential side effects of weight loss drugs bought online included "serious, life-threatening complications" such as "inflammation of the pancreas gland and alterations in blood salt levels."

Nevertheless, weight loss drugs such as Ozempic and Wegovy have soared in popularity over the last year.

The boom in Ozempic sales has even helped its maker, Danish company Novo Nordisk, become Europe's biggest company by market cap.

It has also markedly impacted the Danish GDP, which grew by almost 2% in 2023.

Statistics Denmark has said the pharmaceutical industry largely drove the growth.

"The pharmaceutical industry has been the main driving force in the Danish economy in both the fourth quarter and for the whole of 2023," the agency said. "Other industry and business services also contributed to the progress in the fourth quarter."

The active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, functions by mimicking GLP-1, a hormone that the gut produces to help balance blood sugar and that makes you feel full.

But the once-a-week injection comes at a cost, with buyers having to shell out around $1,000 a month for the drug.

There are currently three semaglutide products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration — Ozempic injection, Wegovy injection, and Rybelsus tablets.

All three are only available with a prescription.




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