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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mich chapter.

“I’m gonna gag” one of my friends Emily stated as we all sat down at the annual Christmas dinner my friend Nina hosts every year. We all looked at Emily and each other with concern–we all knew of the eating disorder that she had struggled with all throughout high school. We had helped her get the treatment she needed and believed that she had overcome it. She learned and maintained a healthy eating style for last year. As we looked on in concern, Emily stated  

“Oh, it’s just the Ozempic.” 

Ozempic? I had first heard of the drug a few years back when studies found that it could be used to treat individuals with type 2 diabetes. My grandfather had suffered for years with type 2 diabetes and found that Ozempic–which is injected just once a week–had greatly benefited his quality of life. He lost weight, his blood sugar levels were back under control, and he felt as though he was less tired. The fatigue that plagued his days and the worries he had regarding his diet and health were able to subside.  

However, more recently, I heard about Ozempic on various social media platforms. Influencers outright stated or vaguely hinted at the fact that they were taking Ozempic. Not because they had type 2 diabetes but because of one of the effects of the drug–weight loss. Over the past few weeks, I was able to see that the off label use of Ozempic as an appetite suppressant and weight loss supplement seemed almost glamorized. Ozempic was being perceived as a quick way to lose weight fast. But I had the false perception that this behavior was one which solely influencers and celebrities took on. I never believed that my own friend–someone who I had known for years would also fall victim to this glamorization. Ozempic was something that I associated with influencers such as Tana Mongeau who joked about taking Ozempic shots at a party she recently went to on her podcast.  

We asked Emily to elaborate on why she started using Ozempic and the reason why she felt that she should continue using it. She simply stated that “everyone is using it” and that was her justification for her continued use of Ozempic as an appetite suppressant.  

When I first read literature regarding Ozempic, the effects were almost solely positive. The lowering of blood sugars, the weight loss, etc. seemed positive in aiding type 2 diabetes patients. And it is a drug that does good. I saw how my grandfather was positively affected by Ozempic. Moreover, according to research studies conducted by Columbia University’s Department of Surgery, “Ozempic and similar drugs can yield an average weight loss of 15 to 20 percent, significantly higher than previous options. About one-third experience around 10 percent loss of body weight.” However, on the flip side, I was beginning to see papers and studies on the potentially dangerous side of Ozempic when it is used by individuals who do not have type 2 diabetes and are taking it solely as an appetite suppressant. Aside from the blatant dangers of using a drug irresponsibly, the consistent promotion of toxic diet culture by social media had negatively affected my close friend’ mental and physical health.  

But at the same time, there have been studies that have found that Ozempic can be used to treat Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS–a very common hormone problem which affects women of childbearing age. While Ozempic was not officially created to treat PCOS, studies have been promising and this also proves how off brand use of groundbreaking drugs is not a solely negative course of action.  

My feelings regarding Ozempic and similar drugs are still quite complicated. While this drug has been groundbreaking and has helped change the lives of thousands of individuals, the increasing use of this drug as solely an appetite suppressant is quite concerning to me. It makes me wonder about what the long term effects of using this drug will be to individuals who do not have type 2 diabetes. Perhaps it is because the experience of seeing my friend quite literally gag at the sight of food is still fresh in my mind, but I think I need more time to read and process the research papers and articles that are being published about this drug.  

But I guess what I really want to say right now is: Ozempic, I love you, but I also hate you. 

Temmie is a pre medical undergraduate student who is an avid shoe shopper, casual golfer, and frequent art exhibition visitor.