BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — New medicines like Wegovy and Ozempic are creating a nationwide frenzy. Both drugs are brand names for Semaglutide, a medication that can lower blood sugar and suppress appetite.

Ozempic’s claim to fame started with TikTok. The Ozempic hashtag has over a billion views on the social media app.

“Ozempic has been approved, I think more than 5 years ago, in 2017 for Type 2 Diabetes,” said Dr. Eric Ravussin, Associate Executive Director for Clinical Research at Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

In the last year, celebrities and TikTok users used the drug to lose weight and post their experiences.

“It’s becoming more popular because of the weight loss,” said Dr. Ravussin.   

However, Dr. Ravussin said the popularity of Ozempic caused several issues. Since the popularity of Ozempic, there has been a nationwide shortage of the drug. The out-of-pocket costs are also high.

“It’s covered by some insurances for pre-diabetes, but it’s not covered for obesity. You are basically taking away these drugs from people with Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Ravussin.

Ravussin also said the side effects and weight change are something to consider.  

“I think there is a risk of abuse for the drug being taken for cosmetic reasons for 2 months and then you quit and regain the weight,” said Dr. Ravussin.

Dr. Ravussin encouraged those wanting to lose weight to find healthier alternatives. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also released a new safety warning as more people turn to off-brand forms of the medication.