TikTok’s budget Ozempic trend causing a nationwide laxative shortage – here’s why

There have been countless trends on TikTok in recent years, some of which have had significant impacts beyond the app itself [1].

One such trend involves a budget-friendly alternative to a prescription weight loss drug called Ozempic, which has unintended consequences, including a nationwide shortage of laxatives. Let’s delve into why this is happening.

Ozempic: A quick overview

Ozempic is a prescription medication often used to manage diabetes by regulating blood sugar levels. Recently, it has gained attention for its potential to aid in weight loss [2].

However, it’s important to note that Ozempic is a prescription-only medication and a healthcare professional should supervise its use due to potential side effects and risks.

The TikTok trend

A TikTok trend emerged in which individuals claimed to lose weight by using a substance called “budget Ozempic.”

This concoction purportedly mimics the effects of the prescription drug and can be easily prepared at home. However, the ingredients used in this DIY version are neither regulated nor approved for weight loss, making it potentially unsafe [3].

The laxative connection

The link between this TikTok trend and a nationwide shortage of laxatives might initially seem perplexing.

The key to understanding this connection lies in the side effects associated with Ozempic, both the prescription version and the DIY alternative. These side effects can include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach [3].

People who experimented with the TikTok trend reported experiencing severe gastrointestinal discomfort, including diarrhea.

Many turned to over-the-counter laxatives to alleviate these symptoms, commonly used to relieve constipation and promote bowel movements. Laxatives stimulate the intestines, leading to more frequent bowel movements [4].

The domino effect

The surge in demand for laxatives caused by those seeking relief from the digestive distress associated with the TikTok trend quickly led to a nationwide shortage.

Over-the-counter laxatives are generally considered safe when used as directed for occasional constipation.

However, using excessively or inappropriately can lead to dependency and other health issues [5].

The laxative shortage highlights the dangers of following health trends without proper understanding or medical guidance.

What started as an attempt to replicate the effects of prescription medication has inadvertently led to a different public health concern.

Safety first

It’s essential to prioritize safety when considering any health-related trend, especially those found on social media platforms.

DIY alternatives to prescription medications can pose significant health risks, as they are often unregulated and untested [6]. Weight loss is a complex process and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

If you’re interested in weight loss or any health-related goal, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific needs and ensure your safety.

Additionally, they can help you distinguish between evidence-based approaches and potentially harmful fads circulating on social media.

The TikTok trend involving a budget-friendly Ozempic alternative has inadvertently led to a nationwide shortage of laxatives.

This phenomenon underscores the importance of cautiously approaching health and wellness trends and seeking guidance from healthcare professionals when making decisions about your health. Remember, safety should always be the top priority.

[1] https://newsroom.tiktok.com/en-us/trending-on-tiktok-scanning-through-history
[2] https://www.diabetes.org.uk/about_us/news/ozempic-and-weight-loss-facts-behind-headline
[3] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/budget-ozempic-weight-loss-trend-raises-safety-concerns/
[4] https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/25121-laxatives
[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation/in-depth/laxatives/art-20045906
[6] https://www.healthline.com/health-news/budget-ozempic-weight-loss-trend-unsafe

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