From Controversy to Clarity: Understanding the Essentials of Obesity Management

Say hello to The Rounds’ featured medical experts Dr. Megha Poddar and Dr. David Macklin. They will be leading a free Ask-The-Expert event highlighting the topic – From Controversy to Clarity: Understanding the Essentials of Obesity Management.

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Why is every patient asking me about Ozempic and what should I do about it?

Over the last 6 months, social media has taken over the conversation from the health benefits of weight management and treatment of a real chronic disease, to a cosmetic. From influencers to celebrities, everyone is talking/seeing/hearing about Ozempic.

When patients ask about Ozempic® (semaglutide) for weight loss, it’s important to provide them with accurate information and guidance. Here are a few key points you can discuss with your patients:

Explain its primary use:

Ozempic or semaglutide 0.5mg or 1mg is a GLP1RA which is a hormone that helps reduce appetite and control insulin sensitivity. It is approved for use in patients with type 2 diabetes. High-dose semaglutide 2.4mg or Wegovy™ has been approved for obesity treatment in Canada but is not yet available.

Discuss off-label use: 

Ozempic itself is not specifically approved for weight loss, but some healthcare providers may prescribe it off-label given the evidence of efficacy and safety with semaglutide 2.4mg in patients with obesity. Wegovy is not available in Canada yet.

Highlight potential benefits and side effects: 

Semaglutide has shown significant weight loss benefits by affecting appetite regulation and food intake. Potential side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms and rare cases of medullary thyroid cancer (animal studies). Lastly, it is important to highlight that obesity is a chronic disease, and you will need to stay on this medication long-term. If you stop it, weight regain is likely. It is not effective or recommended for short-term use.

Provide individualized advice: 

Since every patient’s situation is unique, encourage them to have an open conversation about their weight management goals, medical history, and any existing conditions. This will help determine if Ozempic or any other treatment option is appropriate and safe for them.

Encourage evidence-based approach: 

Remind patients of the importance of evidence-based medicine and the need for a comprehensive approach to weight management. Discuss lifestyle modifications, such as a balanced diet, regular exercise, behaviour therapy, and support programs, as crucial components of any weight management strategy. Discuss all treatment options for weight management and all Health Canada-approved obesity medications. Visit the Canadian Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines to learn more.

Patients struggling with obesity deserve treatment. At the Medical Weight Management Centre of Canada ( we bridge the conversation that patients are having at the dinner table with an evidence-based conversation about the pathophysiology of obesity.

What do you tell patients when they ask about Ozempic or obesity medications? Do you think off-label use of Ozempic is a problem?

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