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COLUMN: Does latest weight-loss drug spell 'medical miracle'?

Oh-oh-oh, Ozempic! In this week's column, Wendy shares her personal journey with the diabetic-turned-weight-loss medication
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Riddle me this: What has its own theme song, its own catch line and is the newest and best conversation starter?

Oh-oh-oh, Ozempic!

Forget chit-chat about weather — just mention the latest diabetic/weight-loss drug and let the chatter begin.

It was far from a scientific poll, but I was at a convention recently and it seemed like every other person was on the medication, and if they weren’t yet they were certainly considering it.

As a reminder, it is prescribed for people with Type 2 diabetes and, while it's not meant as a potential weight-loss solution, it can have that effect.

It should also be noted that doctors are clamping down on who can get a prescription, as there have previously been shortages. That's because many people wanted it just for the weight-loss component.

If you are diabetic, the cost is covered. If not, it’s a hefty $300 monthly fee in Canada.

Everyone knows about Ozempic by now, or has heard about it, and has questions.

Oprah recently admitted she needed a boost, even though she'd been a Weight Watchers spokesperson for several years. She stepped down from the board of directors and went public with the admission that was she taking the shots.

Personally, I thought it was brave and very Oprah-esque to come out and say she went the medication route and that counting points wasn’t the whole answer for her. No shade to Weight Watchers. In fact, the company is now including a medicinal component to their programs.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned I had a prescription for it, but hadn’t filled it. I had concerns about possible side effects and the thought of giving myself a shot in the stomach once a week gave me pause.

I promised to tell you how my Ozempic journey progresses.

I am now a month in. It basically looks like an epi pen. You set the dosage and attach the needle, which is thin and tiny.

There is that brief hesitation before sticking it into your stomach (or upper thigh), but I promise you it hurts less than pricking your finger for a blood sample.

The pen is held in place for a count of 10, and that’s that.

As for side effects — and I had heard all the horror stories — of terrible stomach pain, diarrhea and nausea, trust me when I say I was waiting and watching. Absolutely nothing.

Have my A1C numbers (which can be an early indicator of diabetes or prediabetes) or numbers on the scale changed? Also no. Not yet, anyway.

I expect as my dosage increases, which will happen in the second month, I may see more obvious changes.

I do think I am less hungry with less binging, though. Full meals have given way to smaller portions and more snacks through the day, which is technically what diabetics are supposed to do anyway. (Smaller meals, but more often.) More grazing and less overeating.

The drug's literature says most people can expect a weight loss of 12 pounds. The anecdotal evidence I’ve heard has been more like 50 to 100 pounds.

I will have to keep you posted on that score.

I offer the information only because it seems a lot of people have questions about how it all works. Scientifically, I have no clue why it works, but if helps diabetics live a healthier life then it seems worth it.

The goal is to get blood-sugar levels below seven and that, in turn, can help protect against heart disease, stroke and other issues connected to diabetes.

Medical miracle? That remains to be seen.

It is all in the numbers.

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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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