- A woman lost around 30 pounds in four months on the weight loss drug semaglutide, but it’s impacted her taste.
- The woman said that she can’t stand Diet Coke now and feels full after two alcoholic drinks.
- The drug been hailed a “game-changer,” but more research is needed on its long-term effects.
A woman who lost around 30 pounds while using the popular weight-loss drug semaglutide said she finds it “disorientating” that she can’t drink as much alcohol as she used to, and can’t stand the taste of Diet Coke, which she used to drink daily.
The unnamed woman in her thirties told Bustle that she was prescribed Ozempic, which is one of the brand names for semaglutide, for pre-diabetes. The FDA approved semaglutide under the brand name Wegovy as a weight-loss treatment in June 2021. They both contain semaglutide but are dosed differently.
One obesity expert previously said semaglutide, originally a type 2 diabetes drug, is a “game-changer.”
According to the FDA, approximately 70% of American adults are overweight or obese, which is linked with “serious” health issues, like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
A spike in demand for the drug, which has been touted by celebrities including Elon Musk, has contributed to shortages.
Patients who take Wegovy for weight loss have a weekly injection, alongside a calorie restricted diet and physical activity. To qualify for the drug, patients have to be obese, or overweight and have at least one weight-related condition, like high blood pressure or diabetes.
The drug makes her feel fuller for longer, but impacts her taste
After taking semaglutide for four months, the woman who spoke to Bustle said she lost two pounds a week, or around 30 pounds, and blood tests found her cholesterol levels had “improved.” She said she worked with a nutritionist, and was advised to also have a therapist, and exercise for 150 minutes a week.
She said that the drug decreases her appetite, makes her feel fuller for longer, and has impacted some tastes.
“I used to drink a can of Diet Coke every day, but now I can’t stand the taste,” she said, adding: “I also can’t drink much alcohol without thinking ‘meh,’ which has been a disorienting experience! I love drinking socially, and now after two drinks I tend to feel full and like I don’t want more than that anyway. I miss it!”
Insider’s Anna Medaris recently reported on others who experienced similar effects from taking the drug. Staci Rice, 40, lost almost 50 pounds on it but no longer has a desire for coffee, which she drank since seventh grade. Erin Bradley McCleer shed 80 pounds taking the drug since fall 2021, but also lost his desire to drink alcohol. For this reason, experts believe the drug could be used to treat addiction.
The drug, which can result in a 15% to 20% reduction in body weight over 68 weeks, according to research, works by mimicking a hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which acts on receptors in the brain to boost satiety.
According to Dr. Joseph Volpicelli, a psychiatrist and addiction-medication researcher in Pennsylvania, the drug can also affect the brain’s reward circuit, dulling the dopamine hit someone might otherwise get from a greasy french fry or dirty martini.
“Things that are pleasurable are no longer so pleasurable,” he previously told Insider.
The woman who spoke to Bustle also said she experienced some nausea when she first started taking the drug, and after the doctor increased her does around every four weeks.
As well as nausea, other side effects of Ozempic include: diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and constipation.
More research is needed to understand the long-term effects of taking semaglutide, and people have gained weight after they stopped taking it.
“I will likely need to treat my prediabetes for the rest of my life anyway, so it’s just a question of whether this drug will continue to be the best treatment for that,” the woman said.