I misplaced 42 kilos with Ozempic, however was shaken by the drug's psychological toll theinsiderinsight

Johann Hari nonetheless remembers the unusual sensation he felt two days after he first injected himself with Ozempic,

A physician prescribed the drug for weight reduction — a well-known aspect impact of the Sort 2 diabetes remedy — in 2023 when Hari weighed 203 kilos and had a physique fats share of 32%.

Hari's grandfather died of a coronary heart assault at 44, his uncle in his 60s, and his father underwent a quadruple coronary heart bypass in his 70s.

Hari didn't have diabetes and was cautious of weight-loss medication realizing that previous choices “all the time turned out to be a catastrophe,” he says. However weight loss with Ozempic appeared like a technique to decrease his personal coronary heart illness danger.

He seen the drug's impact a few days after his first dose.

“I awoke and I assumed, 'There's one thing bizarre. What’s it?' I couldn't determine what it was. After which I instantly realized that I had woken up and I wasn't hungry. That had by no means occurred to me,” Hari, 45, a journalist who lives in London and Las Vegas, tells

“My urge for food was simply dramatically dialed down from that time on. I used to be a lot much less hungry than I'd been earlier than. I felt very full, very quick.”

Johann Hari (Courtesy Johann Hari)

Johann Hari (Courtesy Johann Hari)

Hari finally misplaced 42 kilos with Ozempic after which its sister drug Wegovywhich has the identical energetic ingredient, semaglutide, and is particularly authorised for weight reduction.

He got down to discover out all he might about GLP-1 medications — which mimics no less than one hormone produced by the intestine to sign fullness — in his new e-book, “Magic Pill: The Extraordinary Benefits and Disturbing Risks of the New Weight-Loss Drugs,

Hari shared his insights in an interview with His solutions are edited and condensed for readability:

TODAY: You name these weight-loss medication “a mass experiment, carried out on thousands and thousands of individuals, and I’m one of many guinea pigs.” Why?

Hari: I’m a part of two experiments, not only one. I used to be a part of the experiment that made us a lot extra overweight. And now I'm a part of the experiment that's reversing that utilizing medication.

In my lifetime, we've had an explosion of weight problems that's unprecedented in human historical past. We've been bodily altered by processed and ultra-processed foodswhich have fully taken over our eating regimen and are not like the meals that human beings ate earlier than us. This meals is undermining our skill to ever really feel full.

The second experiment I'm a part of is these medication. They provide you again your sense of being full. However they bring about with them some dangers as nicely.

What potential dangers fear you probably the most?

Semaglutide has solely been used for a bit greater than two years now for individuals with weight problems. We don't know the long-term results of taking them. There's a priority that perhaps they'll have some impact that we simply don't know in the long run.

Skilled's take: Dr. Christopher McGowan, an weight problems medication specialist in Cary, North Carolina, says that when sufferers ask him whether or not it's protected to take Wegovy for years, he tells them there are not any long-term research on it. However he notes that GLP-1 drugs have been used for greater than a decade to deal with Sort 2 diabetes, “so we do have a really reassuring observe file basically with these drugs,” McGowan previously told

Dr. William Yancy, medical director of the Duke Way of life and Weight Administration Heart, in Durham, North Carolina, added that after reviewing the analysis, he’s snug prescribing Wegovy realizing {that a} affected person might need to take it for years or a long time.

“We're all the time accumulating information and so that might change down the street, however at this level we’ve sufficient info to think about this as a long-term remedy,” he informed

Requested if Wegovy is protected to take long-term, Novo Nordisk, its maker, tells GLP-1 medicines comparable to semaglutide have been used to deal with Sort 2 diabetes for greater than 18 years, and for the remedy of weight problems for eight years.

“Semaglutide has been extensively examined in strong scientific improvement packages, massive actual world proof research and has cumulatively over 9.5 million affected person years of scientific expertise,” the corporate says in an announcement.

“Novo Nordisk stands behind the protection and efficacy of all of our GLP-1 medicines when they’re used as indicated and when they’re taken underneath the care of a licensed healthcare skilled.”

The corporate additionally says it really works intently with the US Meals and Drug Administration to repeatedly monitor the protection of its medicines.

TODAY: What particularly bothered you?

Hari: For myself, the one danger that I didn't see coming was the psychological impact. That was actually unusual. For the primary six months I used to be taking the drug, I used to be getting what I needed — I used to be shedding a great deal of weight, my again ache went away, all types of fine issues occurred.

However I didn't really really feel higher in my feelings. If something, I felt barely worse. I realised it was about my incapability to comfort foodand the way unhealthy that was making me really feel.

I went to KFC in Las Vegas and I did what I’d have finished earlier than I used to be taking Ozempic — I ordered a bucket of fried rooster. I had one of many rooster drumsticks, and I instantly thought, “I can't eat this.” On Ozempic, you can't overeatYou’d vomit. I bear in mind a voice in my head going, “You're simply going to need to really feel unhealthy, then.”

You possibly can now not use meals as a stress coping mechanism?

Precisely. That may be a bumpy adjustment course of for lots of people. It could possibly convey to the floor the deep underlying emotional the reason why you ate within the first place.

I noticed how a lot of my consuming was about the necessity to consolation myself — stuffing myself to calm myself. And I couldn't try this once I was on Ozempic.

The psychological results made me wish to cease taking it, however considered one of my associates stated to me, “You’ll find a greater technique to take care of your feelings than overeating.”

Johann Hari (Courtesy Kathrin Baumbach)Johann Hari (Courtesy Kathrin Baumbach)

Johann Hari (Courtesy Kathrin Baumbach)

You say you skilled “surprisingly persistent” negative effects. What had been they?

The negative effects weren’t horrible, however they had been uncomfortable. They regularly diminished over 4 months.

The day after I’d inject myself as soon as per week, I’d really feel a bit sick. It's fairly delicate.

I had one of many much less frequent negative effects — some individuals felt their coronary heart beats sooner. It's laborious when your coronary heart is racing to not really feel anxious as a result of your physique's like, one thing is unsuitable. In order that was, for me, probably the most disagreeable aspect impact.

I wish to stress that I skilled a whole lot of advantages from this drug. I went from consuming 3,200 energy a day to 1,800 energy a day and never feeling hungry.

Editor's word: The US Food and Drug Administration label for Ozempic states that in placebo-controlled trials of 0.5-1 milligrams of the treatment “resulted in a imply enhance in coronary heart fee of two to three beats per minute.”

Do you intend to maintain taking Ozempic indefinitely?

Sure, due to the center assault danger in my household, for me personally, the advantages of those medication outweigh my very actual considerations in regards to the long-term results. Research present that Wegovy (which comprises the identical energetic ingredient as Ozempic) reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke by 20%,

You need to weigh two units of dangers — the dangers of weight problems in opposition to the danger of those medication. Weight problems makes virtually all of the well being circumstances we worry more likely — coronary heart illness, stroke, dementia, most cancers.

Skilled's take: When contemplating taking weight-loss medication comparable to Wegovy and Zepbound, each particular person must weigh the risk-benefit to themselves, together with how continued obesity will affect their healthDr. Beverly Tchang, an endocrinologist and weight problems medication doctor at Weill Cornell Drugs in New York, previously told TODAY.comShe's an advisor for Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical firm that makes Ozempic and Wegovy.

“For lots of my sufferers, I do know they’ve struggled with weight problems for all of their childhood and maturity already, and the advantages outweigh the dangers as quickly as they begin the treatment,” Tchang stated.

Are these medication actually “magic,” as you name them in your e-book title?

There are 3 ways these medication may very well be magic.

The primary is the obvious: They may simply remedy the issue. There are days when it looks like that. My complete life, I've overeaten. Now, I inject myself as soon as per week and I don't overeat. It looks like magic.

The second approach it may very well be magic is way more disturbing. It may very well be like a magic trick. It may very well be that over time, the dangers related to these medication outweigh the advantages. I don't rule that out.

The third approach is, I believe, the most certainly. Take into consideration the tales of magic, like “Aladdin.” You discover the lamp, rub it, the genie seems, grants your needs, and your want comes true — however by no means fairly in the way in which that you simply anticipated.

The medication are such a strong instrument. They're going to have large and unpredictable results — constructive and unfavourable. That's why we have to take a beat and actually take into consideration this unimaginable revolution that's hitting us.

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