September 22, 2023

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Ozempic for weight loss: “not currently recommended in Quebec”

Ozempic, a drug to treat type 2 diabetes, is increasingly being prescribed to help with weight loss, but should we be worried?

Endocrinologist and director of the Expert Council of Diabetes Quebec, RĂ©mi Rapaza-Lorette, on “Le Billon,” does not recommend its use outside of its primary purpose.

“There are significant side effects and being used outside of its framework, as a doctor and director of the Diabetes Quebec group, makes me very uncomfortable,” he shares.

This drug specifically helps control sugar levels, prevent cardiovascular disease, and reduce body weight by signaling to the brain that we are full sooner, so we eat less.

“It’s a great drug for type 2 diabetes,” he says. If the oral medication is not enough, we use it long before insulin.

Its use for weight loss is gaining popularity in the US, especially as it goes viral on social media.

“It’s not currently prescribed in Quebec and certainly not reimbursed by RAMQ,” says the doctor.

However, Mr. According to Rabasa-Lhoret, Obesity Canada’s recommendations are an effective evidence base for weight loss, but only within a specific framework.

“Ozempic has a place, but only in significant amounts of overweight and obesity when it’s associated with conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. It’s not impossible, but it’s a limited place in a very precise and well-designed treatment arsenal.”

Patients may be exposed to several risks if used outside of this scope.

“By tolerating these kinds of things, we are exacerbating something very common in our society, which we call eating disorders,” he said, “which is having unrealistic and inappropriate expectations about weight loss. This desire to lose weight at all costs unfortunately leads to a dead end.”

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In most cases, patients who stop taking the drug regain the lost weight.

“Most of the time this is it, he continues. We have to find a structure that is used in the right way, on the right people, and we take it as candy.

Its popularity has led to shortages in the United States and Australia, raising concerns that the same is true in Quebec, depriving people with type 2 diabetes of access to the drug.

Watch the full explanation in the video above.