Semaglutide: Pros and Cons of the Popular Weight Loss Medication Famous in America

In Palm Beach County, Florida, around 70% of adults in the United States are dealing with overweight or clinical obesity, as reported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Rather than sticking to traditional methods like dieting or hitting the gym, more individuals are opting for a different approach: a medication called semaglutide.

You may know semaglutide under its brand names such as Ozempic and Wegovy.

semaglutide pros cons weight loss
Semaglutide pros cons and weight loss

In 2017, the FDA greenlit Ozempic to manage Type 2 diabetes, followed by Wegovy in 2021 for weight loss. Despite being the same medication, they vary in dosage for their specific purposes.

Also Read – Can you Drink Alcohol On Semaglutide for Weight Loss

They’re proven effective. According to CNN, over five million Americans, roughly 1.7% of the population, were prescribed semaglutide last year. As more people seek these treatments, the manufacturer is struggling to meet demand, even as waistlines slim down.

This week, CBS12’s Dani Travis explores semaglutide: its benefits, risks, and what we know and don’t know about it.

When facing weight loss struggles, many can feel frustrated and disheartened, seemingly unable to reach their goals. For Jennifer Briseus, 38, from Boynton Beach, this was once her reality.

“At my heaviest, I weighed 257 pounds,” Briseus shared. “I had a penchant for sweets, caffeine, and carbonated drinks. I didn’t realize it at the time because I was always busy. Eating out every day became the norm.”

It was a picture from a family vacation in March 2022 that prompted Briseus to realize a change was necessary.

“I saw the photo, noticed my swollen ankles, and thought, ‘Yuck,'” Briseus recalled. “A friend even asked if I had really gotten that big, and I reluctantly admitted, ‘Yes.'”

That’s when Briseus discovered Keww Primary Care in Delray Beach, a medically supervised weight-loss center that became her first step toward transformation.

“Patients often arrive already knowing what medication they need. They’ll say, ‘I want Ozempic,’ or, ‘I want semaglutide,’ or, ‘I want Wegovy,’” explained Erla Pierre, a nurse practitioner at Keww.

Pierre clarifies that specific qualifications are necessary for prescribing Ozempic or Wegovy, which are determined by the patient’s medical requirements.”

Pierre explained that she might prescribe medication to someone with a normal BMI of 24 but a high body fat percentage of 40. However, the medication is typically recommended for individuals with a BMI of 27 and a comorbidity, or those with a BMI of 30 or higher, which indicates obesity.

According to Novo Nordisk, the company behind the drugs, 81% of Wegovy patients in 2022 were women. Pierre has noticed a similar trend in her practice, with significantly more female patients than male.

She has prescribed semaglutide numerous times and believes it offers benefits for patients, making it a positive choice overall.

“People can lose up to 15% of their body fat, or even more, and it’s effective for managing cardiovascular issues associated with diabetes,” explained Pierre. “Semaglutide prompts your pancreas to produce more insulin. It slows down the emptying of your gastrointestinal tract, helping you feel full sooner. It also helps balance blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Overall, it’s a medication that promotes a sense of well-being.”

Briseus started taking Wegovy, a medication that made her feel better right away.

“I was like, ‘I don’t even crave soda or donuts anymore. I’m not even tempted by cookies. And I just feel better,'” Briseus said.

In addition to helping with weight loss and diabetes, recent research from the Cleveland Clinic showed that semaglutide, the active ingredient in Wegovy, decreased the risk of heart problems by 20% in overweight adults without diabetes.

Some patients have also reported that the medication reduced their menopause symptoms and had other positive effects, according to Pierre.

“It’s not just about weight loss,” Pierre explained. “There’s research suggesting it helps with alcohol and smoking cravings, and I’ve seen people regain confidence. They feel better overall.”

Reflecting on her own experience, Briseus shared how the medication transformed her life.

“On my birthday, I tried on a pair of size 12 jeans and they fit perfectly,” Briseus recalled. “I sent a photo to Pierre, and she was amazed. I went from a size 18 to a size 12.”

Also Read – How Long Does Semaglutide Take to Work for Weight Loss

Briseus’ success story inspired her to pursue a career in healthcare. She recently completed medical school and now works as a technician at Wellington Regional Medical Center.

“If you’re struggling with your weight and confidence, this medication can be a helpful tool to reach your goals,” Briseus advised.

Semaglutide, hailed as a wonder drug for conditions like diabetes, heart health, and weight loss, has garnered significant praise. Its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, has seen immense success, positively impacting Denmark’s economy. However, like any potent medication, there are potential drawbacks.

For many, rapid weight loss is exhilarating. Briseus, for example, found joy in shopping in regular clothing stores. Yet, achieving this came with challenges.

“I experienced all the side effects they warned about: belching, nausea, the works,” she said.

Physicians and medical experts want to educate patients about what they can expect while using the medication.

Kristen Fitzer, a Pharmacist at Jackson Drugs, explains, “Common side effects may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache.”

It’s important to note that like other medications, these side effects can become more severe when combined with other health conditions.

Pierre advises, “If you have a history of Pancreatitis, it’s best to avoid it as it could potentially trigger a flare-up. Similarly, if you have Medullary Thyroid Cancer, this medication is not recommended.”

Furthermore, the cost of semaglutide can pose a significant obstacle, especially since it needs to be taken regularly on a weekly or monthly basis, unless a doctor prescribes a version that’s covered by insurance.

“The main downside really boils down to the price. It’s a significant concern, seriously. People tend to overlook the potential side effects,” Pierre explained. “When I place an order, my HR department notifies me of the cost, which usually hovers around $1,300, though some can be as low as $900.”

Despite the hefty price, millions of Americans are still eager to try this new weight loss method.

Also Read – How to get semaglutide for weight loss, Eligibility, Cost, Insurance

“I recall a time when I was prescribing Wegovy so frequently that a pharmacist suggested I take a break,” Pierre recalled.

The high demand has caused a national shortage in the past year. Jackson Drugs, a pharmacy in Fort Pierce, experienced this firsthand, especially with Ozempic.

“Yeah, here at Jackson Drugs, we faced challenges in sourcing it. Although it has improved over the past few months, ensuring a consistent stock was always a bit of a struggle, especially for our diabetes patients,” Fitzer noted.

Social media is inundated with weight loss success stories using these drugs, often painting a picture of effortless and trouble-free slimming.

Also Read – Tirzepatide vs Semaglutide For Weight Loss: Which is Best

Briseus emphasized that her weight loss journey requires more than just a weekly injection.

“It’s not just about getting the shot,” she explained. “You have to adjust your eating habits and incorporate daily exercise, even if it’s just walking.”

Since starting Wegovy last year, Briseus has adopted a healthier daily routine. She went from weighing 257 pounds to 211 pounds.

“At one point, I thought I had it all figured out and stopped using Wegovy abruptly,” Briseus admitted. “But Erla warned me against it. I gained back 15 pounds before realizing I needed to restart.”

Pierre often sees this pattern: people start a weight loss program, stop midway, and regain the weight they lost.

“It’s a common mistake,” Pierre remarked. “Consistency is key.”

However, long-term use of medications like Wegovy can lead to complications, including what’s being referred to as “Ozempic face.”

“According to Dr. Edward Davidson, a specialist in Cranial, Facial, & Cosmetic Plastic Surgery at the Palm Beach Health Network, when people use semaglutide, they might notice their face appearing droopy, saggy, or deflated. This can affect various areas, including the temples, under the eyes, cheeks, nose, mouth lines, and jaw.”

“About 20% of those seeking facial rejuvenation have been using semaglutide. Dr. Davidson explained that fixing the so-called ‘Ozempic face’ often requires surgery. This procedure involves restoring volume using techniques like fat-grafting or dermal fillers, repositioning and removing excess skin, and improving skin quality with treatments like radiofrequency or micro-needling.”

“While not everyone on semaglutide experiences ‘Ozempic face,’ other concerns are being researched, including potential effects on mental health. However, conclusive answers are still lacking.”

“Despite the challenges, many, like Briseus, find the journey worthwhile. Briseus emphasized that the process isn’t a quick fix, but rather a step towards achieving desired outcomes.”

Novo Nordisk has announced that it’s increasing the availability of lower dose strengths of Wegovy in the U.S. market, with plans to gradually boost supply throughout the year. These lower doses are crucial for new users, allowing their bodies to adapt to the medication and potentially lessen side effects such as headaches and digestive issues.


Hi, My name is Helena and I’m a founder of Over the years I’ve helped hundreds of people to live a healthy and fit life. Nowadays, Fitness is everything, if you want to Look Attractive and Get Updated, you can Join Me. WhatsApp

Leave a Comment