What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is the brand name for the prescription drug called semaglutide. It comes in the form of a liquid and is injected into your body.
Typically, it comes as an injection pen so that you can do it at home yourself. The strength of the Ozempic will differ depending on what’s prescribed to you.
Ozempic is sometimes taken alongside other types of diabetes medications (such as metformin or insulin) to help improve blood sugar (or blood glucose) management.
Why is Ozempic getting so popular?
Ozempic is a medication that’s prescribed to people with type 2 diabetes. However, you may have noticed that it’s been linked to weight loss in the media, especially in the US. Even celebrities have been said to host “Ozempic parties” where they and their friends can start their weight loss journey together.
However, in the UK, Ozempic isn’t currently licensed for helping with weight loss. It’s also important to note that Ozempic is an essential medication for people with type 2 diabetes. And with more people using it for weight loss, it could put them at risk of not being able to get hold of it.
So, let’s take a look at Ozempic and what it is exactly, so you can understand the hype and potential side effects of using this drug.
Interested in what people are saying about Ozempic? Check out our summary of real Ozempic user reviews here.
What is Ozempic used for?
The primary use for Ozempic is to help manage type 2 diabetes. It’s not used for type 1 diabetes though as Ozempic is not the same as insulin. Taking Ozempic is said to help lower your blood glucose levels while reducing the risk of heart and blood vessel conditions like heart attacks or stroke.
More recently in the US, Ozempic has been used to help aid with weight loss. While Ozempic won’t be recommended to you for weight loss, it could support you on your journey as it suppresses your appetite.
Ozempic can sometimes be prescribed as “off-label”, which means that it’s being prescribed to aid with a problem that isn’t the primary use of the medication. In the UK, this won’t be allowed though, as it’s not licensed for weight loss. In the US, you may be able to get it, but it might not be covered by your insurance.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozempic works to lower your blood sugar and effectively manage your type 2 diabetes. It does this in numerous ways, including:
- Helping your body to create more insulin so that your blood sugar won’t increase or spike too high
- Slowing down how quickly your food travels throughout your body so that you aren’t hit with high amounts of sugar in a short period of time
- Decreasing how much sugar is actually released into your bloodstream
Ozempic is recommended for people with type 2 diabetes, alongside a healthy, balanced diet to manage the effects of diabetes.
Weight loss is simply a byproduct of taking Ozempic, as it can decrease your appetite due to how it slows down the movement of food. As you can see, the main function of Ozempic is to lower your blood sugar, and this isn’t necessary for people without diabetes — hence why it’s not recommended for weight loss most of the time.
How does Ozempic work for weight loss?
While Ozempic isn’t designed to help you lose weight, it could do so when you take it on a regular basis.
This is because Ozempic slows down how quickly food will move through your digestive tract — allowing you to feel fuller for longer periods of time. This means that you won’t eat as much, and your appetite may decrease.
Ozempic can also help your blood sugar to stay much more regulated as it prevents it from spiking. Having your blood sugar under better control is also said to enable your appetite to become regulated and stop you from craving more food than you need.
Ozempic may potentially cause side effects like nausea, which again, can decrease your appetite. So, while Ozempic isn’t marketed as a weight loss medication, the effects that it has on your body could allow you to manage your weight and potentially lose some too.
Taking Ozempic won’t make you lose weight overnight either. It can take weeks or even months before you notice a difference. This is because you’ll only be eating less food than normal, so your weight loss will be slow and steady.
How is Ozempic taken?
If you’re prescribed Ozempic by your doctor, you’ll most likely be given the medication in the form of an auto-injectable pen. You should be able to do this yourself, as they’re designed to be self-administered.
The injection is normally administered into areas like the thigh or abdomen — whichever area feels most comfortable for you. It’s recommended that you change up where you inject every now and then to stop lipodystrophy from happening. This is a condition where too much or not enough fat develops in the area you are injecting, preventing injectable medicines like Ozempic from entering your body properly.
If you’ve never used an auto-injectable pen before, make sure you speak with your doctor beforehand so they can show you how.
The dosage of Ozempic can vary, and they’ll each contain a certain number of milligrams of semaglutide and a set amount of millilitres of solution.
There are four different strengths available:
- 2 mg/1.5 mL
- 2 mg/3 mL
- 4 mg/3 mL
- 8 mg/3 mL
Each Ozempic pen will give you one dose, and one dose only, so you need to make sure you keep track of your doses and pens.
Always double-check that your pen contains the right dose before taking it as well and only ever take what is prescribed to you by your doctor.
Ozempic side effects
Just like any medication, Ozempic isn’t free from side effects. Some of them may be mild, whereas others can be more severe.
One of the most common side effects is weight loss as taking it can decrease your appetite. Other side effects can include and aren’t limited to:
- Stomach pain
If you experience any of these side effects and they don’t go away or get worse, then seek medical attention as soon as possible.
The more serious side effects of Ozempic will require immediate medical attention. This can be things like pancreatitis, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), and allergic reactions.
So, while side effects are quite common, you need to ensure that you’re seeking medical help when necessary.
There are other medications out there that are similar to Ozempic and can be used as an alternative to help aid with weight loss or blood sugar.
Saxenda is said to be similar to Ozempic, but it does contain a different medication called liraglutide. While it may be similar in use and side effects, saxenda is marketed as a weight loss medication.
Wegovy is another alternative and in the US, it’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a weight management medication. It contains semaglutide as an active ingredient, making it very similar to Ozempic — therefore leading to similar results and side effects.
Trulicity is a medication that’s also prescribed for lowering your blood sugar and is taken in the same way as Ozempic. It also has a very similar effect on your body as Ozempic does, making it another common blood glucose-lowering medication.
Ozempic may be a common type 2 diabetes medication, but that doesn’t mean some people don’t find it effective for weight loss. While it’s not yet licensed in the UK, many people in the US have had positive results. But there are also negative side effects to taking Ozempic for weight loss, and these can range from mild to severe.
So, unless you’re struggling with type 2 diabetes, Ozempic might not be the miracle drug that you’re looking for to help you lose weight. It’s always best to speak to your doctor first, as they’ll be able to help you find what’s right for your body and help you to maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle.