Do you want to lose weight and consider taking Ozempic? Well, taking Ozempic for weight loss can be tricky. Ozempic's primary aim is to treat diabetes, but it is also used to help lose weight.
However, getting it is challenging as it is only provided when prescribed by a licensed medical professional. Ozempic is a medicine that comes in the form of a pen you can use to self-inject.
This article will break down everything you need to know about Ozempic medicine.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is an FDA-approved medicine taken once a week and used to treat type 2 diabetes, controls blood sugar levels, and lowers the risk of a cardiovascular disease like a heart attack or stroke.
Ozempic contains Semaglutide, an active ingredient that is also helpful in stimulating weight loss. Healthcare professionals also prescribe Ozempic off-label to help people lose weight.
How Much Weight Do People Lose On Ozempic?
Non-diabetic people taking 1 mg or 2 mg Ozempic weekly lose around 8%-12% of their body weight. However, according to some research, people with type 2 diabetes lose less weight on GLP-1 medications like Ozempic.
However, exercise and diet can only produce a little weight loss, as it can be done with the help of taking Ozempic. But it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle like diet and exercise even if you are on Ozempic.
Ozempic medication is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) of the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm every week. You need to keep Ozempic refrigerated or at room temperature, as each Ozempic includes many doses of the medication.
Initially, your health provider slowly starts your Ozempic with a small quantity of 0.25 mg weekly over several weeks to make your body used to it and minimize side effects.
It can also take 12–16 weeks to maintain a dose of 1 mg or 2 mg. However, at the initial stage, you may experience side effects, including:
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Abdominal pain.
- Upset stomach or indigestion or constipation.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
These are common side effects that go away with time as your body gets used to the medication.
How to Get an Ozempic Prescription?
To get an Ozempic prescription (semaglutide), schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider to discuss weight loss options so they can help you achieve the same.
Be honest about your effort to lose weight through diet and exercise, and mention that you are interested in medications like Ozempic as an additional solution. Your doctor will check your overall health status, including the following:
- Hemoglobin A1c (to screen for prediabetes and diabetes).
- Lipid panel (to check cholesterol and triglycerides).
- Liver and kidney function.
If you pass the test of overall health checkup, your doctor will prescribe Ozempic medication. Initially, the doctor will prescribe 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg once weekly and slowly increase the dose to 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg once weekly, based on your side effects or response.
Your healthcare provider will examine your progress through follow-up appointments:
- Checking your weight.
- Measuring your blood sugar levels.
- Examining the side effects you may experience.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, diet, exercise, and Ozempic aids weight loss.
How To Get Ozempic for Weight Loss?
Here are many different ways to get Ozempic for weight loss.
i). Visit your doctor
Ozempic requires a licensed medical professional as it is approved for type 2 diabetes.
Your healthcare provider will first check your overall health and factors like health history, risks and benefits, fees, and insurance coverage and then examine if you are an appropriate person for Ozempic.
If you are a suitable candidate, they will start the medicine with a small quantity and monitor side effects by further appointments.
ii). Get from a local pharmacy
You can get through pharmacies like CVS, Walgreens, etc., carry Ozempic, or order it online. They may sometimes offer discounts or coupons to get Ozempic at lower costs.
iii). Use a mail-order pharmacy
Mail-order pharmacies like CVS Caremark, OptumRX, or Express Scripts may offer Ozempic at lower prices.
Depending on your insurance coverage, the pharmacy can provide you with a 30-day or 90-day supply of medication. However, it may take some time as the medication is shipped to you.
iv). Get from copay assistance programs offered by Ozempic
The manufacturer of Ozempic, Novo Nordisk, offers programs that can lower costs. You can use options like copay cards.
v). Compare Ozempic prices at different pharmacies
Ozempic prices vary depending on the pharmacies or insurance. To get Ozempic at lower prices, compare different pharmacies, mail order options, discounts, and offers available at other stores.
vi). Consider a lower dosage or try an alternative treatment
Your healthcare provider can lower the Ozempic dosage or switch you to an alternate treatment or drug to help you lose weight at the cost of Ozempic.
There are many ways to get Ozempic for weight loss, whether through prescription, assistance programs, comparing prices, filling at retail or mail-order pharmacies, and working with your doctor to determine the most reasonable option based on your needs and situation.
Is Ozempic FDA Approved for Weight Loss?
Many people want the answer, “Is Ozempic approved by the FDA for weight loss?” The use of Ozempic is FDA-approved only for treating type 2 diabetes, not weight loss.
It is part of a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists prescribed to lower blood sugar levels and the risk of complications linked with the disease.
Ozempic is known for its consistent side effect of weight loss. Some healthcare professionals might prescribe this medication for weight loss purposes. This is commonly referred to as “off-label” use, meaning that while the drug may be effective, it is not FDA-approved.
Another medicine named Wegovy (semaglutide) has been approved by Trusted Source, which contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic. Many consider this an alternative to Ozempic due to their bad health history.
What Does Ozempic Do?
A hormone called glucagon-like-peptide-1 (GLP-1) naturally occurs in our body, which Ozempic mimics. GLP-1 serves several bodily functions, including regulating food intake by sending molecules to the brain after a meal.
a). They tell your brain that you're less hungry
Taking Ozempic helps you feel fuller by binding to specific receptors in your brain that deal with hunger. This means that even though you're eating less food and calories, your brain sends signals to your body that you're full.
In other words, Ozempic helps you feel full faster, so you don't need to eat as much.
b). They slow your digestion
Ozempic works to slow your digestion, so you can't put as much food into your stomach as you usually can. This is similar to bariatric surgery's effect, so you stay fuller for longer.
c). They improve your blood sugar if you have diabetes
The drug helps the pancreas beta cells produce more insulin. This reduces blood sugar levels who have type 2 diabetes but does not affect blood sugar levels in people without diabetes.
d). But they stop working if you stop taking them
Weight loss plateau is a common phenomenon where the body eventually reaches a point where it stops losing weight. The body has a set fact that it tries to maintain, and once it comes to that point, it becomes difficult to lose more weight.
Additionally, if you stop taking weight loss medication, your hunger may return, leading to weight gain as the mechanism of weight loss changes.
What is the Ozempic Cost?
Here are the cost details of Ozempic:
Ozempic Cost Without Insurance
The retail price of Ozempic is around $900 to $1,800 per month. Also, it depends on the dose. The cost of Ozempic without insurance makes it more expensive.
Ozempic Cost With Insurance
Ozempic cost will vary widely based on the specific plan, offers, pharmacies, and coverage exclusions. Copays can generally range from $25 to several hundred dollars per month.
Novo Nordisk offers a patient assistance program for uninsured patients who meet specific income requirements, providing Ozempic at no cost. However, availability for this program is limited.
To save little money on Ozempic, one may use a discount or mail-order service instead of a retail pharmacy. However, it's important to note that prescription drug coupons and discount programs are usually not available for Ozempic.
Starting at a 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg dose weekly can save you hundreds of dollars monthly compared to a higher dose. However, its lower dosages may lead to less significant weight loss, meaning lower doses lead to lower costs.
How To Use Ozempic For Weight Loss?
Start your dose with 0.25mg, and slowly increase your dose to 1 mg over eight weeks. This is to make your body habitual to this medicine and monitor its side effects.
Ozempic starting dose
First, start your Ozempic treatment with 0.25 mg once per week. Maintain this dose for at least the first four weeks and let your body get used to it.
Ozempic maintenance dose
After following the low dose course, increase your dose to 0.5mg for four weeks, then 1 mg weekly, and maintain it for the rest of the plan. You can further improve it to 1 mg but under the observation of your healthcare provider.
Who Shouldn't Use Ozempic For Weight Loss?
Due to some medical conditions, it is unsuitable for some people who have certain conditions like:
- Taking insulin or certain other medicines.
- Prone to any allergy.
- Specific digestive system problems.
- Kidney problems.
- History of an eating disorder.
- Pregnancy, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive a baby.
Ozempic is injected to treat Type 2 diabetes and taken once a week. It is not FDA-approved for weight loss, but people take it as an additional supplement for weight loss along with diet and exercise.
Healthcare providers can prescribe you to lose weight in various ways. The cost of Ozempic depends on different factors like coverage, insurance plans, offers, and assistance programs. Consult your healthcare provider to see if you qualify for these drugs.
1. How do you qualify for Ozempic?
Ans: To be eligible for Ozempic, one typically needs to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher. However, if an individual has weight-related health issues, a BMI of 27 or higher may qualify them.
2. How long can you stay on Ozempic?
Ans: If you can take Ozempic well and your healthcare provider agrees, you can continue taking it for as long as needed. Ozempic treats type 2 diabetes and can also be prescribed to help with overweight or obesity.
3. How do I ask my doctor for Ozempic for weight loss?
Ans: If you are considering taking Ozempic for weight loss but don't have diabetes, talk with a healthcare professional. They will check and prescribe your healthcare needs to help you best in your weight loss journey.