GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) Ozempic is a popular type 2 diabetes medicine that is being used more commonly off-label across the country for weight loss.

“There is a lot being learned that we didn’t know many years ago,” said Jessica Gonzalez Hernandez, M.D., Bon Secours St. Francis.

Dr. Herdandez, the chief of surgery at Bon Secours, has been helping patients for years.

In recent months, she has seen more uses for the medicine, Ozempic.

“This medication is used usually to treat type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Hernandez. “Semaglutide is the actual component of the medicine that was approved last year for weight loss.”

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Semaglutide is a component found in Ozempic that was approved last year for chronic weight management for obese adults and those who are overweight with conditions such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol.

Medical professionals said the medicine is to be used in combination with diet and exercise.

“While Semaglutide was being studied for type 2 diabetes, they actually noticed that patients were losing a significant amount of weight,” said Dr. Hernandez. “During the study, on average, patients were losing about 16 pounds between 36 and 54 weeks.”

“Semaglutide is not insulin. Insulin is what patients with diabetes usually need to not go into a worse state of their condition. This is a different medication that is used,” explained Dr. Hernandez. “It helps their insulin work harder to decrease blood glucose levels; but it’s also a medication that has been shown to really help patients, that are obese, with weight loss.”

Despite Ozempic stating it’s not specifically prescribed for weight loss, some doctors are recommending it off-label for patients.

“Initially it was been prescribed off-label for weight loss, but again, it was approved last year by the FDA for weight loss,” said Dr. Hernandez.

In recent months, the results of the medicine have gone viral on social media with videos attracting millions of views.

However, when it comes to losing weight, doctors said there are multiple options for treatment before turning to medication. Some of those include, and are not limited to, diet and exercise or weight loss surgery.

Doctors said it all depends on what will work best for you and your body.

“The treatment for obesity is not a one fits all treatment,” said Dr. Hernandez.

Before you jump on board, doctors said it’s important to know the risks.

“Every medication has its side effects and risks. The most common side effect that I see patients complaining about when taking this medicine, is a decreased appetite; which is I guess what we’re looking for in weight loss,” said Dr. Hernandez. “Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation… I see those side effects tend to be more pronounced if patients are having a high carbohydrate diet.”

Experts recommend consulting with your primary care physician to discuss a weight-loss method that best suits you.

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