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Ozempic Is Not Approved for ‘Casual Weight Loss’ Despite Celebrity Diet Trend, Dr. Thomas Su Says (Exclusive)

Dr. Thomas Su Says Ozempic Is an 'Easy Method to Lose Weight,' Breaks Down 'Exact Stipulations' for Use - 523

Ozempic has quickly become a hot-button issue in terms of diet trends, with many celebrities even opening up about the possibility of using it to shed pounds quickly. Dr. Thomas Su, a plastic surgeon, exclusively broke down the controversial weight loss plan for Us.

Related: Celebrities Who’ve Spoken About the Ozempic Weight Loss Trend

“The drug was never meant to be for people who are near their ideal weight. It’s not even approved by the FDA for casual weight loss,” the Artistic LipoSculpting Center owner, 54, exclusively told Us Weekly earlier this month. “There are exact stipulations that patients need to meet to qualify for Wegovy as a weight loss medication [including] their BMI requirement [and] they have to be over 30. So for casual weight loss, it’s not approved and would be considered an off-label use.”

He added: “Now that being said, will it work for weight loss is someone who is closer to their ideal [weight]? Yes, it will. It’s not a good idea for someone who hopes to keep it off because one thing that we know is when you stop the medication, whether it be a few months down the road or a year later, your weight will come back pretty rapidly. It’s not a good weight loss measure if you’re really planning to keep something off.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Ozempic and Wegovy are medications that are commonly used for chronic weight management in adults with obesity or who are overweight with a weight-related condition, including high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes. However, many celebrities have been vocal about trying the drug as a simple alternative to shed pounds.

Related: Celebrities' Weight Loss and Transformations: Before and After Pictures

“It’s an easy method to lose weight. It doesn’t require a lot of thinking or a lot of effort,” Su said on March 3. “You give yourself an injection, and your appetite is suppressed and you’re not suffering from it. So you naturally just eat less. You’re not having to struggle through cravings or going to the gym and working out hard so it’s taking off weight in an easy fashion.”

Ozempic was initially approved by the FDA to improve the secretion of insulin in individuals with diabetes, with an unintended side effect of weight loss. As a result, the brand began marketing it as a specific weight loss tool.

“It’s going to take a little bit of time, maybe a whole month before someone starts to see any noticeable weight change, and the effects of it can be variable from person to person,” Su said. “So, some people really don’t respond well to Ozempic as a weight loss medication.”

The Florida-based physician further explained that Ozempic’s side effects are primarily related to gastrointestinal issues.

“This medication does slow down the absorption and emptying of the gut so it can cause nausea, vomiting and constipation.” Su told Us. “Those type of side effects are usually noticed mostly at the beginning, maybe in the first few weeks of someone using it. … Most people would see that those side effects are going away and if not, some doctors are spacing out the injections a little bit further or reducing the dose.”

After users stop taking Ozempic, there is a major risk of “unwanted” weight gain — rapidly.

“I don’t think [there’s any way to stop it],” Su posited. “It says it’s an artificial means of losing weight and unless you do take drastic measures and change your diet after you get off of Ozempic, then you’re not going to maintain that weight gain and you’re going to notice that your appetite probably comes back very ravenously after you stop it.”

Related: Intermittent Fasting, Plant-Based! Celebs Reveal Which Diets Work Best

The medication, however, can be a “long-term solution” for individuals with weight-related conditions.

“We know that for Type 2 diabetics, it’s going to be a lifelong medication that they’re going to be on and for people who are heavier, it can be a long-term solution too,” the University Of Texas Medical School alum said. “If you have a co-morbid condition, such as high blood pressure, or cardiac disease or high cholesterol — if you have one other high-risk factor for cardiac disease, Wegovy is actually approved, and it’s meant for long-term use, not just for one year but for pretty much forever for management of that disease, just like a high blood pressure medication will become a permanent part of your medication regimen.”

With reporting by Sarah Jones

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