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What is Ozempic: Unpacking the Weight Loss Hype, Benefits, and Risks

1 min Read

Ozempic, a diabetes medication, has the potential for weight loss management. However, there are many factors to consider.

Ozempic is a diabetes medication that has been all over the news and social media because of its potential weight loss benefits (though it has not yet been approved for weight loss). The increased spotlight on Ozempic has led to many questions about what this means for people looking for new options in their weight loss journey. Understanding what Ozempic is, how it works, and its potential risks and benefits is a must for anyone considering Ozempic for weight loss. 

Ozempic basics

Learning the facts about a medication can help you make an educated decision about whether or not it is right for you. Let’s begin with a general overview of what Ozempic is.

What exactly is Ozempic?

Ozempic is an injectable form of the medication semaglutide. Semaglutide is classified as a type of medication called GLP-1 receptor agonists. GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body. It helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Ozempic/Semaglutide mimics and acts like the GLP-1 hormone in the body. It is not the actual GLP-1 hormone itself but a drug that activates the same receptors as GLP-1.

In summary:

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  • GLP-1 is a natural hormone
  • Semaglutide (Ozempic) is a medication that acts like/mimics the GLP-1 hormone
  • This helps regulate insulin, glucagon, and blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes

Ozempic is currently approved by the FDA to treat type 2 diabetes. 

How does Ozempic work inside the body?  

Ozempic was originally developed to control blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It works by signaling the body to release more insulin and reduce the amount of the hormone glucagon being produced.

Insulin helps lower blood sugar levels. Glucagon has the opposite effect—it triggers the liver into releasing stored sugar into the bloodstream, raising blood sugar levels. By promoting insulin and lowering glucagon, Ozempic helps blood sugar levels stay in a healthy range.

For a more technical explanation of how all this works, see our article on what GLP-1s are.

Does Ozempic have uses beyond diabetes?

Although it’s officially approved for diabetes, Ozempic’s ability to stabilize blood sugar has paved the way for its use in weight management. Doctors often prescribe Ozempic “off-label” for weight loss because it can help reduce appetite and curb calorie intake.

How is Ozempic taken or administered?

Ozempic is given as a once-a-week injection under the skin, usually with a pre-filled pen that’s pretty straightforward to use. Its once-weekly schedule is a big plus for anyone looking to manage diabetes without having to take daily medication.

Who typically gets prescribed Ozempic? 

It’s targeted at adults with type 2 diabetes who need better blood sugar control (and might also benefit from weight loss). When used for weight loss, it’s usually part of a broader plan that includes diet and exercise, a plan that Noom can help you build

How much does Ozempic cost?

The price tag for Ozempic can vary widely based on where you live and if you have insurance. One estimate for Ozempic placed the wholesale cost (pre-insurance) at $968.52 per dose (NovoCare). Aside from health insurance, other ways to bring the cost down include looking for a medication coupon, or order a 90-day supply from an online pharmacy.

Novo Nordisk—the creator of Ozempic—offers a savings card (for insured patients) and a patient assistance program (for non-insured patients).

Ozempic for weight loss: Evaluating the hype

Why has Ozempic become a hot topic in weight loss discussions? Let’s unpack the growing interest in this medication as a tool for managing weight. How effective is it, and what users can realistically expect from incorporating it into their health regime?

How does Ozempic help with weight loss?

Ozempic has a unique way of working on your body’s biology. By slowing down digestion and reducing your appetite, it can help you feel fuller with less food. This results in an overall decrease calorie intake, making it easier to manage weight.

What does “off-label use” mean in the context of Ozempic?

“Off-label use” is the practice of prescribing medication for a purpose outside of the approved use by regulatory agencies. In the case of Ozempic, while it’s officially approved for managing diabetes, doctors may prescribe it for weight loss based on its effectiveness in reducing appetite and calorie intake.

Is Ozempic a sustainable solution for weight management?

Sustainability with Ozempic can vary. It’s typically used as part of a broader lifestyle change, including diet and exercise. For some, it can be a valuable tool for long-term weight management, especially when used under medical supervision and integrated with healthy habits.

Where can I get Ozempic for weight loss? 

Ozempic must be prescribed by a healthcare provider. If you’re considering it for weight loss, it’s essential to discuss it with your doctor, who is best equipped to evaluate its suitability for your specific needs.

What lifestyle changes should accompany the use of Ozempic? 

Incorporating Ozempic into your health plan should go hand-in-hand with adopting a balanced diet and regular physical activity. Effective weight management often involves a holistic approach that combines medical treatment with lifestyle adjustments.

Ozempic side effects and safety considerations

Ozempic offers significant benefits for diabetes management and weight loss. But like any medication, it comes with potential side effects. It’s important to be aware of these and know when to contact your healthcare provider. Here are common questions about the safety and side effects of using Ozempic.

What are the most common side effects of Ozempic?
Many users experience mild to moderate side effects like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation. These symptoms are usually temporary and often diminish as your body adjusts to the medication.

How can I manage nausea and other digestive side effects associated with Ozempic?
Managing these side effects involves simple adjustments, like avoiding foods that are overly rich, spicy, or fatty. Dr. Linda Anegawa also recommends eating smaller and more frequent meals throughout the day. Staying hydrated and eating bland, easy-to-digest foods can also help alleviate symptoms.

Is muscle loss a side effect of Ozempic?

One effect of Ozempic is making the body think it is full, resulting in reduced calorie intake and promoting weight loss. However, decreased calorie intake can cause the body to conserve energy by prioritizing vital functions over muscle mass. This could lead to some muscle loss. Thankfully, Noom suggests these simple strategies to help minimize this side effect.

Should I stop taking Ozempic if I experience side effects?
It’s essential to consult your healthcare provider before changing your medication regimen. They can guide managing side effects or adjusting your dosage if necessary.

When should I call my doctor about the side effects of Ozempic?
If side effects persist or worsen, or if you experience severe symptoms such as significant abdominal pain, continuous vomiting, or signs of an allergic reaction (e.g., a rash or itchiness, swelling in the face or mouth, dizziness, etc.), contact your healthcare provider immediately.

Are there risks associated with using Ozempic for weight loss?
As with any medication, there are risks, particularly when used off-label for weight loss. It’s vital to use Ozempic under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can monitor its effects on your body.

How often should I be monitored by my doctor while taking Ozempic?
Regular monitoring is key when on Ozempic. Your doctor will likely schedule follow-ups to check your progress, adjust dosages, and ensure the medication works effectively without adverse effects.

By keeping these safety considerations in mind, people using Ozempic can better manage their treatment and minimize potential side effects. This awareness also paves the way for integrating medication into a broader health strategy, like Noom’s, which complements medical interventions with behavioral changes.

Role of Ozempic in Noom’s holistic approach

If you’re considering using Ozempic for weight loss, you may wonder how Noom can support your journey. Here are some frequently asked questions about how Noom Med integrates with Ozempic treatment:

Can Noom Med help me get Ozempic for weight loss?

Noom Med offers telehealth consultations with licensed healthcare providers who can prescribe medications like Ozempic when appropriate. This service is designed to provide a seamless experience for those seeking medical support alongside Noom’s behavior change program.

How does the Noom approach complement the use of Ozempic?

Noom focuses on building sustainable healthy habits through psychology-based techniques, which can make Ozempic even more effective. By combining medication with lifestyle changes like improved nutrition and increased physical activity, you may experience better long-term weight loss results and overall health improvements.

How does Noom help address the potential side effects of Ozempic?

Noom’s content and tools can help you manage side effects by providing strategies for dealing with digestive issues, maintaining a balanced diet, and staying motivated. A Noom coach can offer personalized guidance and support as you navigate challenges while taking Ozempic.

Can Noom help me develop healthy habits to maintain the weight loss achieved with Ozempic?

Yes, Noom is designed to help you build lasting healthy habits that can support long-term weight maintenance. By pairing science with personalization, Noom empowers you to make sustainable changes that can help you maintain your progress even after you stop taking Ozempic.

Is Noom suitable for everyone considering Ozempic?

Noom’s program can benefit many people considering Ozempic. It can help you access personalized advice to ensure you receive the most appropriate care plan for your unique situation.

It’s clear that true wellness isn’t just about popping a pill or following a diet; it’s about combining medical interventions with solid, sustainable lifestyle shifts. Ozempic does have its perks, but when you combine that with Noom’s focus on behavioral changes, you’re setting yourself up for success. This blend of medical treatment and lifestyle overhaul doesn’t just improve health issues temporarily—it sets the stage for long-term health and well-being. Cheers to making smart choices today that pave the way for a healthier tomorrow.