What about weight loss drugs for diabetes? Part 1

diabetes managment type 2 diabetes weight loss Sep 12, 2023

Yes, I’m talking about Ozempic and Wegovy. Ozempic has been developed for people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. Wegovy is the same but for a different audience. They work by increasing insulin levels, which leads to reducing blood glucose. In addition, they block the action of one of our hormones, glucagon, which is produced in the pancreas. Glucagon stimulates the liver to increase glucose levels to keep enough fuel available for our brain and many other bodily functions.

These drugs also act on areas of our brain that tells us we are hungry by blocking or reducing this effect. So, you’re not hungry, you’re eating less, you have more insulin in your system and less blood sugar, your body has been blocked or at least slowed from releasing needed glucose into your bloodstream. And you start losing weight like nobody’s business.

I’m sure you have heard this before. There is no quick fix. You can’t simply inject a drug weekly for some period of time and expect that, when you’ve reached your weight goal, that you can just stop and life is good. The likelihood of gaining back the weight and potentially more is very high. First, you’ll be hungry again, potentially very hungry. Your body will be busy trying to restore the weight you lost for survival purposes.

The side effects of taking Ozempic should be considered before you start using this medication. First, one of the side effects is slowing down the movement of food out of the stomach and into the intestines for digestion and absorption. Sometimes, it can take days, weeks or longer to actually empty the stomach. There has been a major concern among surgeons about the use of anesthesia with patients who are using Ozempic (same goes for Wegovy).

Typically if you are going in for surgery, you are told to fast for somewhere between 6 and 10 hours before surgery to avoid aspiration of stomach contents into the lungs. Patients on Ozempic may have to postpone surgeries until their stomachs are empty, even if these are life-threatening emergencies.

This is called gastroparesis which is a complication in people with type 2 diabetes. It is delayed gastric emptying, the slowing or even stopping the movement of food out of the stomach and into the intestines. This problem may not resolve for a while, sometimes up to a year after getting off these weight loss medications.

I’ll talk more about this in next week’s blog and what to do about it.

Dr. Elaine

You can learn more about my next free webinar – How to get your A1c to 5.7% and lower naturally and keep it that way. Click here for details.


This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition.


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