Ozempic - the reality of the ‘miracle’ weight-loss jab

Belinda shares her experience taking Ozempic

Listen | 26:33
On TikTok, the hashtag "#Ozempic" has reached more than 500 million views: this anti-diabetic medication is trending on the social network for its' slimming properties, a phenomenon that is causing supply shortages and worrying doctors.

For some, like Belinda from Tipperary, Ozempic is the once-a-week injection that finally – after years of dieting – helped them lose significant weight in a short time. With six in 10 Irish people now either overweight or living with obesity, could this drug, originally developed to treat Type 2 Diabetes, be the jab that reverses a societal trend that is so complex it has proven impossible to reverse or even slow down?

A Variety headline last September read: “Hollywood’s Secret New Weight Loss Drug, Revealed” – but as the growing number of Irish TikTok and Instagram posters charting their Ozempic journey show, the appetite for these new “diet drugs” has quickly moved from celebrities to people who are prepared to overlook the side-effects and cost – at least €1,500 a year.

Dr Donal O’Shea, HSE lead on obesity, takes the shiny Hollywood gloss off the so-called “miracle jab” and is particularly scathing about some media coverage, notably the recent Economist magazine cover with its “Eat, Inject, Repeat” message. Presenter: Bernice Harrison. Producer: Suzanne Brennan

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison

Bernice Harrison is an Irish Times journalist and cohost of In the News podcast