Woman Takes Grey Market Ozempic, Lands in Hospital

While trying to slim down a bit for her wedding day, one woman decided to take gray market semaglutide — and it landed her in the emergency room.

That woman, whom Healthline refers to as Amy Jenson to protect her privacy in its report, learned she was nearing prediabetic levels of the hemoglobin A1C at a visit to her naturopathic doctor. The naturopath suggested Jenson try semaglutide, the active ingredient in the Ozempic and Wegovy injectables, to help reach her goal weight and head off full-blown diabetes.

She purchased some semaglutide with B12 shots, which are often sold together in injectable forms from online and in-person pharmacies that operate in a legal grey area, from a compounding facility. She was initially prescribed a low dose that increased by small increments each month.

Almost immediately, she began to have stomach problems, which are known to be associated with the drug regardless of whether it's purchased as the brand-name GLP-1 receptor agonists or from grey or black market pharmacies.

"I got some side effects — two stomach issues over four months... that came and went [with] severe stomachache and lasted 8 hours," Jenson told Healthline. "I felt full all the time, was constipated, and taking magnesium at night to have bowel movements."

She lost the 10 pounds she'd been seeking to shed, but despite the increasingly bad side effects chose to keep taking the compounded semaglutide because her wedding was still a week away and she didn't want to regain what she'd lost. That decision, however, proved to be more dangerous than Jenson could have expected.

"The day after my wedding, I woke up at 3 am with a really bad stomachache, sick out of both ends," the woman told the website.

Her wedding had taken place overseas, and Jenson was supposed to fly home to the US the day after. Instead, she spent it in a foreign emergency room after experiencing "severe" stomach pain. After getting a CT scan in the unnamed country's ER, the woman learned that her appendix was infected, full of fecal matter, and would need to be removed immediately.

Experts demurred when Healthline asked whether semaglutide is linked to appendicitis. If so, they said, it hasn't shown up in large-scale clinical trials, but more research might find a connection; at least one case study has documented a different semaglutide patient suffering an appendicitis.

Adding a further wrinkle, it's possible in the little-regulated gray market of drugs that Jenson wasn't receiving semaglutide at all — any search for "peptides" or "semaglutide" on TikTok will reveal thousands of videos of DIY "biohackers" who ingest and shoot themselves up with non-FDA approved substances sold under the guise of "supplements."

In the aftermath of the ordeal, Jenson said that she regrets her decision to take semaglutide in any form — and that a part of her knew something bad might happen, too.

"I knew instinctively I shouldn’t be doing it, but I justified it because all these biohackers in health and wellness [types] were touting peptides, and semaglutide is a peptide," Jenson told Healthline.

"I’m responsible for myself at the end of the day," she added. "But this isn’t for everyone; it’s not without [risk of] adverse effects."

More on weight loss meds: Oprah Exits Weight Watchers Board After Admitting She Took Weight Loss Meds