Ozempic: Diabetes Drug Becomes Popular Weight-Loss Aid

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Ozempic: A Diabetes Drug Gains Popularity as a Weight-Loss Aid

Ozempic, a prescription drug typically used to treat diabetes, has seen a surge in off-label use among individuals seeking weight loss, despite not having any underlying health conditions.

Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has reported a doubling of its imports to Greece in the past year. However, demand remains high, with foreigners flocking to Greece to purchase Ozempic in bulk due to its lower price compared to other countries.

"In Greece, you can easily obtain Ozempic from pharmacies without a prescription," explains Chrysanthi Sardeli, an associate professor of medicine at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

While the long-term effects of Ozempic for weight loss are still unknown, its use as a "lifestyle" aid appears to be growing.

Wegovy, another drug from Novo Nordisk, is specifically designed for obesity management and is not yet available in Greece. Ozempic, on the other hand, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2017 as an anti-diabetic medication.

"Ozempic regulates insulin secretion from the pancreas, improving diabetes control," Sardeli says.

However, it also suppresses appetite and promotes a feeling of fullness, leading to reduced food intake and cravings.

"Ozempic may have initially been intended for diabetes, but it appears to have broader applications, including weight management," notes Giorgos Chrousos, head of the Endocrinology Unit at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

"For individuals struggling with obesity, particularly those who are morbidly obese, medications like Ozempic or bariatric surgery may be their only options for effective weight loss," Chrousos adds.

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