The Maker Of One Of The Blockbuster Weight Loss Drug Urges Against ‘vanity’ Use In New Ad Campaign

Ozempic along with its sister drugs are being referred to as the Vanity drugs because of the use of this drug as a weight loss drug especially because of its use for weight loss  starting in the Hollywood scene.

This clip from CNN,  emphasizes the issues with it being used just for weight loss without other metabolic issues which is what it was designed to treat.  It was designed to help those with diabetes and yes they do lose weight but the mechanism is to manage blood sugar.

I know it seems exciting and is appealing to take this miracle drug for weight loss but the issue is that it has not been studied for its impact after long term use for those that are using it just to lose and manage weight.

Here is what the CEO of Elii Lilly (pharma company that makes one of these types of drugs), David Ricks has to say about its use for just weight loss, and his concerns: 

“We have a point of view about how these drugs are being used,” CEO David Ricks told CNN. “These medicines were invented for people with a serious health condition; they were not invented just to have someone who’s famous look a little bit better.”

We’ve only studied it in a population that had overweight or obesity, and we’ve focused it on people with chronic complications from obesity,” he said. “We can’t speak to benefits and risks outside the population, so we think it’s only responsible to point the light here, where the drug is most needed.”

This is very concerning that so many people are getting prescriptions for these drugs and they  have not been studied in the population of people who just want to lose some weight without the other clinical issues and they do not know the long term effects in this “just overweight” population.

Historically obesity has been an issue and believe it or not but there have been 21 weight loss drugs that have come to the market since 1892 til 2020  trying to tackle obesity and none of them have stayed on the market due to negative  health  issues.  

Some of the Unintended Consequences that have Led to the Withdrawal of Medications Used for Management of Obesity, (Bray GA, Purnell JQ. An Historical Review of Steps and Missteps in the Discovery of Anti-Obesity Drugs. [Updated 2022 Jul 10]. In: Feingold KR, Anawalt B, Blackman MR, et al., editors. Endotext [Internet]. South Dartmouth (MA):, Inc.; 2000-. Available from:

YearDrugAlleged MechanismReason for Discontinuation
1932DintrophenolThermogenesisDisapproved due to Cataracts/Neuropathy
1937AmphetamineSympathomimeticDisapproved due to Addiction
1961-90Human chorionic gonadotropinReduce food intakeDisapproved – Ineffective compared to placebo
1971AminorexSympathomimeticWithdrawn after marketing due to Pulmonary hypertension
1985Gelatin-based very low-calorie dietReduce food intakeCardiovascular Deaths (Torsade de Points)
1991-95FluoxetineSerotonin reuptake inhibitorWeight regain after loss
1985-98β-3 AgonistsIncreased thermogenesisLimited Effect; Increased HR
1997FenfluramineSerotonergic receptor activation (? 5HT2c)Withdrawn after marketing due to cardiac valvulopathy and pulmonary hypertension
1998PhenylpropanolamineSympathomimeticWithdrawn after marketing for Strokes
1999LeptinLeptin receptor agonist-reduced food intakeLimited Weight Loss
2003Ephedrine/Caffeine & Herbal Ma HuangSympathomimetic and adrenergic blockerWithdrawn after marketing for Heart attacks/stroke
2003Ciliary Neurotrophic FactorActs on leptin receptorProduced neutralizing antibodies
2007MK-0557Neuropeptide Y5 (NPY) receptor antagonist-reduced food intake.Limited effectiveness
2007EcopipamD2/D5 agonist-Reduce food intakeSuicidality
2008TesofensineTriple Monoamine Reuptake InhibitorRaised blood pressure
2009Melanocortin-4 Receptor AgonistReduce Food IntakeLimited effectiveness, priapism
2010CapsinoidsThermogenesisLimited effectiveness
2010RimonabantEndocannabinoid agonistSuicidality
2011SibutramineTriple Reuptake InhibitorWithdrawn after marketing for cardiovascular toxicity
2020LorcaserinSerotonergic Reduce Food IntakeCancer

Is Ozempic going to be another one of these drugs that we discover a few years down the road is causing other health issues when being used long term for weight loss?

It was never designed as a weight loss drug and it is shameful that some drug companies and doctors are prescribing it just for that reason.  I have had many people approach me after having been on Ozempic and other similar drugs struggling with side effects or for many they find they initially lose weight but then it stops and they also realize they don’t want to have to stay on this drug for the rest of their lives trying to keep the weight off.

I appreciate the appeal of these medications when somebody is just desperate to lose weight because that struggle is real but unfortunately this quick fix may have significant consequences and the most disturbing issue is that we do not know yet what these long term consequences will be for a person using it to just lose weight.  Is it really worth the risk?  Just because the celebrities are using them, that does not give them a medical stamp of approval.

The other issue is that studies done on Ozempic Weight Loss shows that 50% of the weight loss on the scale  is due to loss  of muscle. Losing muscle causes our metabolism to slow down, meaning  our body burns less calories at rest.  And so it’s not surprising  that when people stop that drug, their weight balloons, because now they don’t have as many calories to burn and  the food they eat gets stored as fat.  

It is possible to tackle weight loss no matter how much it feels like your body and mind are fighting you every step of the way.  It is just about finding the healthy strategy that is right for each person and  getting enough of the right support.  

At the end of the day this is what will set them up to lose the weight and most important keep it off feeling and looking their best