What Is Ozempic Face? Some Using Diabetes Drug for Weight Loss ...
The drug has been around in some form or another for years as a once-weekly non-insulin injection to help adults control their blood sugar but a combination of factors now has vaulted the name Ozempic into the lexicons of people who may not even have diabetes all, especially in recent months.
It's become such a talker, in fact, that people who have used Ozempic to manage their Type 2 diabetes for years (it first came to market in 2017) aren't always finding it readily in stock -- and some have had to switch meds.
Google searches for Ozempic have been skyrocketing up the trend charts in recent weeks, and rumors about some celebrities using it specifically for weight loss have only fueled the intrigue. And a growing number of locals, especially people in the Bronx and Long Island, based on Google Trends data, are curious about the origins of a new term.
It's Ozempic face -- and it's a phrase that apparently has emerged to refer to the drug's impact on one's face from a weight loss perspective. Anyone who has ever lost significant weight knows the change is quite obvious in one's face -- but in this case, it appears people are associating "Ozempic face" with a more gaunt profile that makes one look older.
Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a New York dermatologist who claimed responsibility for coining the term "Ozempic face" in an interview this week with The New York Times this week, told the paper who sees it "every day in my office."
"A 50-year-old patient will come in, and suddenly, she’s super-skinny and needs filler, which she never needed before. I look at her and say, ‘How long have you been on Ozempic?’ And I’m right 100% of the time. It’s the drug of choice these days for the 1%," Frank told the paper.
The Times spoke to other dermatologists, including those who treat celebrities (like Dr. Dhaval Bhanusali, whose patient roster includes Martha Stewart, according to the Times) says the Ozempic face phenomenon is most readily apparently in people who are in their 40s and 50s. He says they're now concerned about facial sagging associated with significant weight loss, and more and more are coming in looking for treatment with respect to that cosmetic issue.
It's a catch-22 of sorts.
As one plastic surgeon, Dr. Oren Tepper, explained to the Times, "When it comes to facial aging, fat is typically more friend than foe. Weight loss may turn back your biological age, but it tends to turn your facial clock forward."
Tepper told the Times that more than half of the patients he sees for weight loss-related surgery are taking drugs like Ozempic -- and this particular drug is flying out of pharmacies at particularly fast rates now.
No, there hasn't been an explosion of people with Type 2 diabetes using it as a treatment option. The popularity of Ozempic, one of several brand names for semaglutide, which improves blood sugar control, has soared because of its weight loss benefits, doctors say. At a higher dose, semaglutide is used for long-term weight management. It's considered an anti-obesity drug and is sold under the name Wegovy at that higher weight loss-oriented dose.
The FDA approved Wegovy for long-term weight management in June 2021, the first new weight-loss drug OK'ed by the regulator since 2014. Wegovy is a 2.4 mg weekly semaglutide injection, while Ozempic ranges from 0.5 to 1 or 2 mg.
Wegovy shortages have led to increased demand for Ozempic, even at that lower dose, and, according to NBC News, some people who had been taken the former switched to the latter for weight loss rather than just Type 2 diabetes. And that, combined with ongoing global supply issues for Wegovy, is now stretching Ozempic supply thin as well.
Learn more about the side effects and shortage concerns at NBC News here.