Malnutrition, a sinking face and weird dreams: Ozempic's side effects

Patients who take Ozempic, a diabetes medication popularized for its off-label use as a weight-loss drug, are reporting strange outcomes. 

Novo Nordisk's drug has caught a maelstrom of headlines for months, from its viral status on TikTok and a monthslong shortage to the product inspiring telehealth startups and an encroaching competitor. With its success have come questions about its long-term efficacy — about half of patients who stop taking the hundreds-of-dollars-per-month drug will see weight rebounds — and some pharmacies are not selling it because of low reimbursement rates

The drug works to suspend the brain's hunger signals and slow the stomach's digestion process. Here are three reported side effects of Ozempic atypical of common drug warning labels: 

1. Malnutrition: Some physicians have halted patients' treatments with Ozempic after extreme weight loss led to malnourishment, The New York Times reported April 21. This result — which stems from a loss of appetite while taking the drug — is rare, experts told the outlet. 

2. Weird dreams: Vivid and bizarre dreams, such as conspiring to rob a museum with celebrities, could be accompanying Ozempic use. Novo Nordisk confirmed reports of these strange dreams but said there is not enough information linking the drug to these experiences. 

3. A deflating face: A sinking countenance could also appear after taking Ozempic because of its dramatic weight-loss results, dermatologists have said, coining the phenomenon as "Ozempic face."

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