Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, is a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is classified as a GLP-1 receptor agonist and is designed to help lower blood sugar levels in people with this condition. In this article, we will explore who should use Ozempic, who should not use it, how to obtain it, its correct dosage, and its side effects and warnings.
Is Ozempic Approved for Weight Loss?
Here is a summary of the FDA and MHRA approval of Ozempic:
- Ozempic (semaglutide) was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It was approved as an once-weekly injectable medication to improve glucose control in adults with diabetes.
- In 2019, the FDA approved Ozempic for a second indication – weight management. The approval was based on clinical trials showing that Ozempic can help adults with obesity or overweight achieve significant weight loss.
- In the UK, Ozempic was approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in 2017, around the same time as the FDA approval. The MHRA approved Ozempic for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults to improve blood sugar control.
- In 2021, the MHRA extended the approval of Ozempic to include weight management. Based on clinical trial results, the MHRA approved Ozempic for chronic weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥35 kg/m2 or ≥30 kg/m2 with comorbidities.
- Both the FDA and MHRA determined that Ozempic is safe and effective for its approved indications based on the data and studies submitted by the manufacturer, Novo Nordisk.
- However, the FDA and MHRA continue to monitor the safety of Ozempic and update prescribing information and warnings as needed based on new data and reports of side effects.
So in summary, Ozempic was initially approved by both the FDA and MHRA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. After further clinical trials showed effectiveness for weight loss, both agencies expanded their approvals to include the indication of chronic weight management in adults. Both agencies continue to monitor Ozempic’s safety profile on an ongoing basis.
Who should use Ozempic?
Ozempic is intended for use by people with type 2 diabetes. This medication is typically prescribed to people who have not been able to manage their blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, or through other medications. It is not recommended for people with type 1 diabetes or for people with diabetic ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition that can occur in people with uncontrolled diabetes.
Ozempic is also generally recommended for people who have a BMI of 30 or higher and who have tried other weight-loss methods without success. This medication has been shown to help with weight loss in addition to its blood sugar-lowering effects.
Alternatives to Ozempic
Here are some over-the-counter alternatives to Ozempic that are cheaper and arguably just as effective:
PhenQ – This natural weight loss pill contains a blend of ingredients that help with appetite suppression, fat burning and energy levels. Some key ingredients include:
- Caffeine – Helps boost metabolism and provides energy for exercise. Can also temporarily curb appetite.
- Alpha-Lacys Reset – May increase metabolism and help the body burn stored fat.
- L-Carnitine – Transports fat to mitochondria in cells where it can be burned for energy.
- Capsimax Powder – Contains capsicum, which has been shown to increase thermogenesis and help break down fat cells.
Leanbean – This popular weight loss supplement for women contains dietary fiber, nutrients and plant extracts to promote weight loss in multiple ways:
- Glucomannan – A form of soluble fiber that expands in the stomach to make you feel fuller for longer.
- Turmeric – Contains curcumin which may help regulate the metabolism and decrease inflammation.
- Acai Berry and Green Coffee – Both are high in antioxidants that help boost fat burning and stabilize blood sugar levels.
Both PhenQ and Leanbean work mainly by suppressing appetite and slightly boosting metabolism – similar in function to Ozempic. However, they lack the blood sugar lowering benefits of Ozempic for diabetics. Overall, both supplements have received positive reviews for:
- Helping people eat less and lose weight
- Increasing energy levels
- Improving mood
- Reducing bloating and water retention
As over-the-counter pills, PhenQ and Leanbean cost a fraction of what Ozempic costs on prescription. They also don’t have the more serious side effects that can occur with Ozempic. However, prescription medications will likely provide more substantial weight loss results for qualifying individuals. Read more on over the counter weight loss pills
Who should not use Ozempic?
While Ozempic can be helpful for many people with type 2 diabetes, there are some people who should not use this medication. These include:
- People who are allergic to semaglutide or any of the ingredients in Ozempic
- People with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis
- People with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
If you have any of these conditions, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking Ozempic.
Is Ozempic Effective for Weight Loss
Ozempic is not FDA approved for weight loss, and it is only approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes to lower blood sugar levels. I appreciate the opportunity to clarify this information.
Another medication called Wegovy, which also contains the active ingredient semaglutide, has been approved by the FDA for weight management in adults with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater, or with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater and at least one weight-related condition such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol. Like Ozempic, Wegovy is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that is administered by injection, but it contains a higher dose of semaglutide (2.4 mg) than Ozempic.
Clinical trials have shown that Wegovy can be effective in promoting weight loss, with participants losing an average of 15-17% of their body weight over the course of 68 weeks. However, like any medication, there may be potential risks and side effects associated with the use of Wegovy, and it should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider.
It is important to note that while Ozempic may not be approved for weight management, some people with type 2 diabetes may experience weight loss as a side effect of the medication. If weight loss is a goal for an individual, they should discuss their options with their healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment for their individual needs and health status.
How to obtain Ozempic
Ozempic is a prescription medication, which means you will need to see a healthcare provider in order to obtain it. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your medical history, including any medications you are currently taking, and may order blood tests to check your kidney and liver function before prescribing Ozempic. Once you have a prescription, you can obtain Ozempic from a pharmacy.
Correct dosage of Ozempic
The recommended starting dose of Ozempic is 0.25 mg once a week. After four weeks, the dose can be increased to 0.5 mg once a week if necessary. The maximum recommended dose is 1 mg once a week.
Ozempic is typically administered as a subcutaneous injection in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The medication comes in a prefilled pen, which makes it easy to administer. Your healthcare provider will provide instructions on how to properly administer the medication.
It is important to take Ozempic as directed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Ozempic without first consulting your healthcare provider.
Side effects and warnings
Like all medications, Ozempic can cause side effects. The most common side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. However, if you experience severe or persistent side effects, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider.
There are some more serious side effects associated with Ozempic that are less common but can be serious. These include:
- Acute pancreatitis: This is a condition in which the pancreas becomes inflamed and can cause severe abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting.
- Diabetic retinopathy complications: Ozempic has been associated with an increased risk of diabetic retinopathy complications, such as diabetic retinopathy.
What Pharmacies Sell Ozempic in the United States
Ozempic is a prescription medication that can be purchased at most pharmacies in the United States. Some of the major pharmacy chains that carry Ozempic include CVS, Walgreens, Walmart, and Rite Aid, among others. Additionally, independent pharmacies and online pharmacies may also carry this medication.
How Much Does Ozempic Cost
The cost of Ozempic can vary depending on a number of factors, including the dose prescribed, the location of the pharmacy, and whether you have health insurance.
Ozempic Cost USA
Without insurance, the cost of Ozempic can be quite high, ranging from $800 to $1,200 per month for the recommended dose of 1 mg once a week. However, many insurance plans will cover some or all of the cost of Ozempic, making it more affordable for many people.
Ozempic Cost UK
The cost of Ozempic (semaglutide) in the UK depends on a few factors:
- Through the NHS, Ozempic is available for free on prescription for those being treated for type 2 diabetes. This includes both the 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg doses.
- For those using Ozempic for weight loss through the NHS, the cost is £91.20 for 4 prefilled pens (enough for 1 month at the 0.25mg starter dose). Higher doses would cost more.
- Through private prescription in the UK, the cost of Ozempic tends to be higher:
- One 0.25mg prefilled pen costs around £80-90.
- One 0.5mg prefilled pen costs around £90-100.
- One 1mg prefilled pen costs around £100-120.
- If paying completely out-of-pocket, the cost of Ozempic at a UK pharmacy would likely be:
- 1 x 0.25mg pen: £120-150
- 1 x 0.5mg pen: £130-180
- 1 x 1mg pen: £150-200
- Additionally, most people gradually increase their dose of Ozempic over time, starting at 0.25mg and potentially increasing up to the maximum 1.7mg dose. This would obviously increase the overall cost of treatment.
For those using Ozempic for weight loss through the NHS, the cost is around £91.20 per month for the starter dose. Private prescriptions and out-of-pocket costs tend to be significantly higher, ranging from £80-200 per pen depending on the dose. And higher doses used for maximum weight loss would drive costs up further.
Can You Get Ozempic on Health Insurance
If you have health insurance, your out-of-pocket costs for Ozempic will depend on your specific insurance plan. Some insurance plans may require you to meet a deductible or pay a copay or coinsurance for each prescription. Additionally, some insurance plans may require you to use a specific pharmacy or to obtain prior authorization before they will cover the cost of Ozempic.
If you are having trouble affording Ozempic, there are several options you may want to consider. One option is to ask your healthcare provider about prescription assistance programs that may be available. Some drug manufacturers offer patient assistance programs that can help to reduce the cost of their medications for eligible patients. Additionally, you may want to check with your insurance provider to see if they offer any programs or discounts that can help to reduce the cost of Ozempic.
In summary, Ozempic can be purchased at most pharmacies in the United States, including major chains such as CVS and Walgreens. The cost of Ozempic can vary depending on a number of factors, including the dose prescribed and whether you have health insurance. If you are having trouble affording Ozempic, you may want to consider prescription assistance programs or discounts offered by your insurance provider.
Similar Medications to Ozempic
Ozempic belongs to a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists. There are several other medications in this class that are similar to Ozempic and are used to treat type 2 diabetes. Some of these medications include:
- Trulicity (dulaglutide): Trulicity is a once-weekly injectable medication that works by stimulating the GLP-1 receptor to lower blood sugar levels.
- Victoza (liraglutide): Victoza is a once-daily injectable medication that also works by stimulating the GLP-1 receptor to lower blood sugar levels.
- Bydureon (exenatide): Bydureon is a once-weekly injectable medication that works in a similar way to Ozempic and other GLP-1 receptor agonists.
- Byetta (exenatide): Byetta is a twice-daily injectable medication that is also in the GLP-1 receptor agonist class.
- Adlyxin (lixisenatide): Adlyxin is a once-daily injectable medication that works by stimulating the GLP-1 receptor to lower blood sugar levels.
These medications are all similar to Ozempic in terms of their mechanism of action and how they are administered. However, there may be differences in dosing, side effects, and other factors that make one medication more suitable for an individual than another. It is important to work closely with a healthcare provider to determine which medication is the best option for managing an individual’s type 2 diabetes.