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Using Ozempic for weight loss is unhealthy: Doctor

By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: There has recently been a surging demand for Ozempic-which helps people with diabetes keep blood sugar levels in check-leading to a shortage. The popularity of the drug is not because of rising rate of diabetes, doctors say, but because of its weight loss benefits.

Dr Waleed Al-Dahi

Speaking to Kuwait Times, Dr Waleed Al-Dahi, consultant endocrinologist and head of the Kuwaiti Diabetes Association, said that using diabetes injection medication is now a trend in Kuwait for obese people. “Everyone is looking for a solution to lose weight quickly without the supervision of specialists, although using diabetes medications without a prescription is against the law, as these injections are not used in all cases,” he said.

He indicated that these medications are being sold illegally on social media platforms and inside clinics without supervision, noting that some clinics are selling the injections at 3-4 times their real price. The cost of an injection is KD 36, said Al-Dahi, but it is sold at the clinic for KD 100. “We do not know whether a single needle is used for more than one patient or not, and this will pose a danger to the patient. This phenomenon is unhealthy and alarming. The only correct way to lose weight is to adopt healthy eating habits.”

Al-Dahi stressed that diabetes injection medications are considered safe, but they must be taken at specific doses. Therefore, the patient needs to be under the supervision of a specialist doctor. Patients who don’t have diabetes could get side effects as a result of the injections. Al-Dahi pointed out digestive problems is one dangerous symptom.

These injections could also put people who suffer from kidney and thyroid problems at risk. “People who use those injections must check the family health history of cancer. The injections may also lead to an inflammation in the pancreas. Those who use the needles for weight loss will gain back more weight once they stop taking them,” he said.

Ozempic is an FDA-approved prescription medication for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. It helps improve blood sugar levels in diabetes patients and is proven to lower hemoglobin A1C, a measure for blood glucose over time, according to research cited on Ozempic’s site. It is currently under review by the FDA as a once-a-week shot to help people lose weight when used in combination with diet and exercise.

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