Weight loss medications like Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, and others have been getting a lot of media coverage over the past year, driving up demand for “quick” and “easy” weight loss. I’ve been a leader in medical weight loss for over a decade and I am deeply aware of how helpful these drugs can be for patients struggling with obesity or weight management.
However, I’m also very familiar with the potential risks and downsides of looking for “easy” weight loss. And I strongly recommend anyone interested in weight loss drugs consult with a healthcare professional and only acquire medications and injectables through legitimate sources.
I was saddened to read the story of a woman from the United Kingdom who almost died in front of her children after taking a weight loss injection she bought off the internet. But I wasn’t terribly shocked by the news as there are so many counterfeit products available online.
I share this not to scare you but to emphasize the importance of pursuing weight loss safely. Please don’t take risks with your health or your life!
The allure of online medications
Michelle Sword (a mother of two) turned to an online company for her weight loss injections because of the drug’s popularity. She had previously used a GLP-1 drug through her healthcare provider but worried the drug’s growing popularity would make it harder to get a prescription.
Semaglutide (the active ingredient in the diabetes drug Ozempic) was initially approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes, for which it does a great job. But it turned out one of its “side effects” was weight loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has even approved some formulations of semaglutide as weight loss treatments.
As a result, the demand for these exploded leading to shortages and making it harder for some people to obtain. For Americans, getting these medications from a retail pharmacy can be prohibitively expensive without insurance coverage. So a less-expensive online option can be tempting.
To get around these shortages, some compounding pharmacies have been mixing their own non-FDA-approved fake Ozempic pens.
In short, Michelle isn’t the only person bypassing regulations by turning to the internet instead of a medical prescriber.
Dangers of online medications
Novo Nordisk—manufacturer of Ozempic, Wegovy, and Saxenda (a liraglutide injection for weight loss) has issued a warning about counterfeit versions of their medications. People have been hospitalized around the world—including several people in Austria and at least three people in the US—after using counterfeit Ozempic.
Patients experienced serious side effects like dangerously low blood sugar and seizures after using the counterfeit semaglutide.
According to Michelle, the online company she contacted assured her they were selling the official weight-loss drug. But the company didn’t ask her any questions and didn’t require a prescription.
While getting medication without a prescription from a doctor is convenient, there’s no guarantee that you’re getting the right dose—or even the right drug.
When ordering online drugs, the medication may contain contaminants, be a completely different drug, or even be a research version of a similar drug with unproven efficacy.
The FDA and the U.K.’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) have both issued warnings about counterfeit medications. The MHRA claims to have seized almost 400 counterfeit pens of semaglutide this year. The counterfeit injection pens came from Austrian and German wholesalers as well as two wholesalers in the U.K.
Michelle was fortunate; her children were home with her and able to call emergency services. If she’d been home alone when she took this counterfeit drug, she would have died. Let me repeat: losing weight is not worth risking your life.
Get your medications from a doctor
While it’s less convenient than ordering through the internet, making an appointment with a medical weight loss specialist is infinitely safer.
My medical weight loss practice, Trimly, involves medical evaluation, consultations with medical professionals, and 100% legitimate weight loss drugs. Our specialists also work with you on diet, exercise, and breaking patterns that can make maintaining your weight challenging. We can also ensure you’re getting the best medication in the right dose for your needs.
Looking for legitimate weight loss drugs?
Dr. Aliabadi and her friendly, professional team provide top-in-the-industry care to patients at all stages of life. Dr. Aliabadi is also a leading expert in treating medically related weight gain, PCOS, endometriosis, and other gynecological wellness conditions.
Our medically supervised weight loss programs prioritize our patients’ safety and well-being.
We invite you to establish care with Dr. Aliabadi. Please make an appointment online or call us at (844) 863-6700.
If you are interested in an online medically supervised weight loss program, please visit my medical weight loss practice, Trimly.
The practice of Dr. Thais Aliabadi is conveniently located for patients throughout Southern California and the Los Angeles area. We are near Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, West Los Angeles, Culver City, Hollywood, Venice, Marina del Rey, Malibu, Manhattan Beach, and Downtown Los Angeles.