Jameela Jamil has spoken out against the use of diabetes medication Ozempic as a weight-loss method, with the actor revealing she is “deeply concerned” and “fears for everyone”.
The Good Place star, 36, condemned the recent trend of individuals using the injectable medication, which is meant to improve blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes, as a diet drug, on Instagram, where she expressed her concerns about the shortages of the drug, and its potential side effects.
Ozempic, which is a brand name for semaglutide, is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use by individuals with type 2 diabetes. As of now, it is not approved as a weight-loss method, However, Wegovy, another brand name for semaglutide, has been approved by the FDA for use in chronic weight management in adults with obesity.
Despite its intended use, recent social media popularity, and reports of alleged widespread use of Ozempic in Hollywood, have resulted in a reported increase in the number of individuals using the drug as a weight-loss method. The increased demand for the diabetes medication has led to shortages of the drug.
On Instagram, Jamil, who is well known for her public condemnations of controversial weight-loss advertisements, expressed her concerns with those who are using the diabetes medication for “weight loss only”.
“I have said what I have said about the potential harm of people using the diabetes medication for weight loss only. I fear for everyone in the next few years. Rich people are buying this stuff off prescription for upwards of $1,000. Actual diabetes are seeing shortages. It’s now a mainstream craze in Hollywood,” Jamil wrote.
In the post, Jamil then shared her concerns that the trend will “end the same way we were told opioids were safe,” with the actress claiming that there is “little to no discussion of the side effects in any advertising online”.
“I’m deeply concerned but I can’t change any of your minds because fatphobia has our generation in a chokehold,” she continued.
In the caption of her post, Jamil revealed that she’d disabled comments on her post because “there is no point having this conversation anymore” and that she feels as if she is “screaming into a void”.
“We will see what happens. I’m screaming into a void. I’m seeing people really struggle because of this stuff,” she wrote, before claiming the increased popularity of the medication has “become the exact uncontrollable wave [she] thought it would become”.
Jamil concluded the post expressing her hope that she is worried “for no reason,” that her doctors, “who have been advising [her]” on the drug, are “wrong,” and that nobody regrets ignoring her warnings.
“And that in two years, nobody is saying: ‘F*** she was right and she tried to warn us for six months,’” she wrote. “Wishing you all well and hope you have doctors that care about more than your size.”
Although a number of celebrities, including Khloe Kardashian and Real Housewives star Kyle Richards, have denied using the diabetes medication to lose weight, notable individuals such as Elon Musk and British presenter Jeremy Clarkson have credited Ozempic with their weight loss.
However, others, such as influencer Remi Bader, have spoken out against the use of the medication, with the TikTok star revealing that she gained “double the weight back” after she was prescribed the drug for her pre-diabetic, insulin resistance, and weight gain issues.
According to Dr Christopher McGowan, a gastroenterologist specialising in obesity medicine and endobariatrics, and founder of True You Weight Loss in North Carolina, who spoke to Forbes, Ozempic is a ”very safe medication” for those with type 2 diabetes, with the most common side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. As noted by Ozempic’s website, more serious side effects can include pancreatitis, low blood sugar, kidney failure, and gallbladder problems.
However, Dr McGowan advised against using Ozempic for short-term, cosmetic weight loss, as he said the drug, and related diabetes medications, are “not designed to be used in this way” and can “lead to potential adverse events”. Additionally, Dr McGowan said “the weight that is lost will be regained”.
Dr McGowan also urged against the use of the drug as a diet method in light of the shortages. “This off-label use of Ozempic is greatly impacting availability of the medication for those who need it most, individuals with type 2 diabetes (or in the case of Wegovy, individuals with obesity),” he said.
This is not the first time that Jamil has condemned the use of the drugs as a weight-loss method, as she also criticised the trend in November 2022, when she questioned the public’s intense fixation on weight and body image in light of a New York Post headline that declared “Heroin chic is back”.
“Who are we doing this for?” Jamil said in a series of Instagram videos. “Who is worth any of this? What is worth any of this? Can’t we just make the f***ing clothes bigger? Can’t we just let people live? Can’t we let women eat and just enjoy a meal without worrying about what they’re going to look like, what they’re going to weigh tomorrow, how much they’re going to have to punish themselves because of it?”
At the time, the actress also referred to the use of the medications to lose weight as a “quick-fix scam,” while claiming that the side effects can be “catastrophic”.