Few medications reach the superstar status that Ozempic already has. At the start of 2023, celebrities and social media influencers all seemed to be talking about this diabetes medication.
But they weren’t talking about its ability to control diabetes. Rather, they were praising its efficacy as a weight-loss drug. Ozempic isn’t necessarily a miracle medication but it might help you shed a few pounds.
Read on to learn more about what Ozempic is, how it works, where to buy it, and of course, some exciting results people have experienced after taking Ozempic.
How to Know If Ozempic Is Right for You
Losing weight can be a daunting (and often frustrating) challenge. If you struggle to lose excess weight, you might find that you could use a little extra help. When you add Ozempic to your existing weight loss plan, you’re more likely to see better results.
However, as you saw above, Ozempic also has some risks to consider. As with any medication, weighing the risks and benefits before deciding whether or not to take Ozempic is important.
Where to Buy Ozempic for Weight Loss
Ozempic®️ on Third Avenue – Most Effective & Editor’s Choice
Fortunately, you don’t have to make the decision if Ozempic is right for you alone. If you’re considering taking Ozempic, you can find it at Third Avenue, a patient management platform. Third Avenue is a company offering streamlined, personalized telehealth services, so the process is refreshingly straightforward. You choose your treatment and then fill in an intake form. A licensed healthcare provider will review that form, and if they agree that Ozempic is the right treatment for you, the medication will be quickly and discreetly shipped to your door.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a brand name for a drug called semaglutide. In 2017, it was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic encourages your pancreas to make more insulin, and that lowers your blood sugar — an important goal for anyone with type 2 diabetes.
Novo Nordisk developed this medication as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Ozempic does seem to work well in that regard. But its popularity soared when it became apparent that Ozempic was also an effective weight loss drug.
Notably, Ozempic is not the only medication with semaglutide as an active ingredient. Wegovy, a similar medication, also includes semaglutide but at a higher dose.
How Does It Work?
There’s no such thing as a magic drug for weight loss. But if you ask those who have taken Ozempic, many will say it comes close! Here’s how it helps people lower their blood sugar and shed pounds, too.
Ozempic is part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonists. You might sometimes see that abbreviated as GLP-1 RAs.
This designation means that semaglutide, Ozempic’s active ingredient, behaves a lot like the hormone GLP-1. To grasp how Ozempic works, you need at least a passing familiarity with GLP-1, too.
Your body makes the GLP-1 hormone from a chain of amino acids called pre-proglucagon. Pre-proglucagon also produces glucagon (a hormone that raises blood sugar). GLP-1 is “glucagon-like” because the two have some similarities.
When you eat, your gut releases GLP-1. This hormone has two critical functions: (1) it stimulates your pancreas to produce more insulin, and (2) it reduces the release of glucagon.
When your body produces enough insulin, the sugar in your blood is driven into your cells, where it can act as fuel. That lowers your blood sugar. Glucagon is a hormone that increases your blood sugar.
So, by simultaneously boosting your insulin and lowering your glucagon, GLP-1 (and, by extension, Ozempic) lowers your blood sugar in two different ways.
Regulating Hunger Signals
Lowering your blood sugar might help you lose weight. But semaglutide’s GLP-1 receptor activity can also make you feel less hungry. Both semaglutide and naturally occurring GLP-1 make your stomach empty more slowly. Many people on Ozempic say they feel fuller for longer—that’s because they actually are!
Ozempic also can effectively trick your brain into thinking you’ve eaten. Remember that your gut releases GLP-1 after you eat. GLP-1 works like a signal to tell you to stop eating, and it also helps your body prepare to use the calories you’ve consumed as fuel. Ozempic helps you do that even if you haven’t eaten recently.
Less Interest in Food
Ozempic hasn’t been on the market very long, and researchers are still learning about how it works. Some people who have taken it claim that it reduces “food noise”—a preoccupation with food throughout the day. That makes it easier to lose weight and frees up more mental energy that enables people to lead happier, healthier lives.
However, there is a caveat: Ozempic’s effects only last as long as you take the medication. That’s why it’s best to use Ozempic as part of a multifaceted approach to weight loss and better health. If you start taking Ozempic to lose weight but change nothing else in your daily life, you’re likely to see the weight come back on once you discontinue it.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Technically, weight loss is a “side effect” of Ozempic, as the drug is only FDA-approved to reduce blood sugar in those with type 2 diabetes.
Most other potential side effects are fairly mild. These are some of the most common ones:
Itchiness, swelling, or redness at the injection site
Nausea (this usually improves as you adjust to the medication)
If you take Ozempic along with other diabetes medication, it’s possible that your blood sugar may drop too low. Very low blood sugar (also called hypoglycemia) usually includes some of these symptoms:
Tingling hands or feet
However, excess medication isn’t the only thing that might lead to hypoglycemia. If you don’t consume enough calories while taking Ozempic, your blood sugar may drop to unsafe levels. Drinking large amounts of alcohol or exercising much more intensely than usual can also contribute.
Potentially Serious Side Effects
Like just about all other medications, Ozempic can sometimes cause severe side effects. They are rare, but it’s still important to be vigilant, especially if you’ve just started taking Ozempic. Here are the main ones to watch out for.
Thyroid Cancer or Thyroid Tumors
Researchers aren’t sure whether Ozempic can cause thyroid cancer or thyroid tumors in humans. However, when this medication was studied in rats, it caused both. As a result, the FDA issued a Boxed Warning for thyroid tumors or cancer.
This warning isn’t unique to Ozempic—other medications that include semaglutide and/or are classified as GLP-1 receptor agonists—have it as well. In most cases, your doctor will monitor you for signs of thyroid problems. But to minimize the risk of harm, it’s recommended that you don’t take Ozempic:
If you or any of your close relatives have ever had medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)
If you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2)
Low blood sugar isn’t always serious, but severe hypoglycemia can cause seizures and other dangerous symptoms. In clinical trials, no severe hypoglycemia has been reported with Ozempic monotherapy (when Ozempic is the only diabetes medication a person takes).
However, in patients taking other diabetes medications along with Ozempic, severe hypoglycemia has been reported:
Insulin with 0.5mg Ozempic dose: no documented cases of severe low blood sugar
Insulin with 1mg Ozempic dose: 1.5% of patients experienced severe low blood sugar
Sulfonylureas with 0.5mg Ozempic dose: 0.8% of patients experienced severe low blood sugar
Sulfonylureas with 1mg Ozempic dose: 1.2% of patients experienced severe low blood sugar
If you start to experience hypoglycemia symptoms while taking Ozempic (even if those symptoms are mild), make sure you talk to your healthcare provider.
Acute Kidney Injuries
Acute kidney injuries (AKI) are a rare side effect of Ozempic. In some cases, patients who experienced AKI saw their kidney function return to normal once Ozempic had been completely cleared from their system. Some of the earliest signs of acute kidney injury are swelling in your legs and ankles, fatigue, and decreased urine output.
Acute Gallbladder Disease
Sometimes, it takes some time for doctors to discover the rare side effects of a medication. After Ozempic had been on the market for some time, the FDA’s adverse event reporting system indicated that at least 36 people taking Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists had unexpectedly developed gallbladder disease.
Gallbladder disease doesn’t always have noticeable symptoms. But often, it comes with intense pain in your upper right or center abdomen. You also might develop jaundice, run a fever, and experience nausea, chills, and vomiting.
Ozempic can also rarely cause pancreatitis or swelling of your pancreas. Pancreatitis can cause permanent damage and potentially worsen diabetes (or cause it). That’s because severe inflammation of your pancreas can damage the cells that produce insulin.
One of the most common and easily recognizable signs of pancreatitis is pain in your middle to left upper abdomen. You might also have pain that lasts for days, nausea, fever, vomiting, and an elevated heart rate.
Worsening Diabetic Retinopathy
Diabetic retinopathy is an eye condition that can occur in people with diabetes and may lead to blindness over time. You might think that Ozempic, a drug that can effectively treat type 2 diabetes, would improve diabetic retinopathy.
However, research has indicated that when your blood sugar quickly becomes more controlled, you might see a temporary worsening of diabetic retinopathy symptoms. If you start to notice any changes in your vision, reach out to your healthcare provider immediately.
Serious allergic reactions to Ozempic are very rare. However, it’s still wise to keep an eye out for signs, especially if you’ve just started taking Ozempic. Symptoms of severe allergic reactions include itching and swelling of your face, tongue, and throat. You also may develop a rash, extreme dizziness, and difficulty breathing. If you notice these symptoms, get medical help right away. Stop taking Ozempic and reach out to your healthcare provider.
How Does Dosing Work?
If you dislike needles, you might hesitate before taking Ozempic—a weekly injection you give yourself. But you don’t start with the full dose right away. Most healthcare providers will suggest starting with a very low dose.
This dose often won’t have a substantial effect on your blood sugar. Instead, it’s meant to help your body adjust to some gastrointestinal side effects. Here’s a typical dosing schedule if you’re just starting out:
First month: 0.25mg per week for four weeks
Second month: 0.50mg per week for four weeks
Third month: 1.0mg per week for four weeks
Fourth month: 2.0mg per week for four weeks
Not everyone builds up to the 1.0mg and 2.0mg doses. Ozempic comes in three strengths (0.5mg, 1.0mg, and 2.0mg). Your healthcare provider will be able to tell you which dose is right for you.
Because Ozempic has a very long half-life, you only need to inject it once a week. But to keep the amount of the medication in your system relatively stable, choosing the same day and time every week is important. It doesn’t matter whether you take Ozempic with food or without, so meal timing doesn’t make a difference when it comes to choosing a dosage time.
Can You Take Ozempic If You Don’t Have Diabetes?
Unlike some other medications with semaglutide as an active ingredient, Ozempic is only approved by the FDA for treating type 2 diabetes. However, current research indicates that semaglutide shows great promise as a drug for the treatment of overweight and obesity. For many, Ozempic 6-week weight loss plan results also illustrate the medication’s efficacy.
Some healthcare professionals will prescribe Ozempic “off-label” for weight loss. This is safe in many cases. But if your blood sugar is sufficiently low, there’s a possibility that Ozempic (especially at higher doses) may lower it to an unsafe range.
If you’re interested in Ozempic but don’t have diabetes, you and your healthcare professionals can examine the risks and benefits to determine whether it’s the right medication for you.
Do You Need to Adjust Your Diet and Exercise to Lose Weight on Ozempic?
Many people think that if you take Ozempic for a short time, you’ll effortlessly lose weight and keep it off. After all, that’s how it’s often portrayed on TikTok and other social media sites. But Ozempic is designed to be part of a journey toward better health—not just a quick fix.
You might lose weight on Ozempic even if you make no lifestyle changes at all. But if you want to maximize your chances of success, taking this medication as part of a holistic weight loss plan is essential.
The good news is that Ozempic makes it easier to make those healthy lifestyle changes. As you saw above, it helps curb hunger and help people feel full faster and longer. When you don’t feel constantly hungry, reducing your portion sizes is easier. And if you tend to struggle with being preoccupied with food throughout the day, feeling fuller frees up mental space to help you focus on other things.
For many people, Ozempic also boosts energy. If convincing yourself to get up and move seems like a chore, you might find that you feel differently after starting Ozempic. As you eat less and move more, these things become ingrained habits that help you stay healthier, even if you stop taking the medication.
And if you do intend to stop taking Ozempic at some point, maintaining those habits is crucial. Research indicates that once people stop taking semaglutide, they tend to regain the weight they lost. Once the medication isn’t helping them feel fuller and reducing feelings of hunger, it becomes easier to overeat, resulting in more weight gain.
However, regaining weight after stopping Ozempic isn’t a given. You can minimize the risk of this happening by continuing the healthy habits you develop while taking the medication.
Of course, long-term treatment with Ozempic might be best for some people. Your healthcare provider can determine whether it would be best for you to take Ozempic for an extended period.
Weight Loss on Ozempic: What the Studies Say
Ozempic is designed to be taken long-term for diabetes management—it’s not intended to be taken for six weeks and discontinued. But when you start a weight loss journey with it, you’ll likely see some impressive results after six weeks (provided you also make any necessary changes to your diet and exercise routines).
There seems to be no shortage of studies examining the effectiveness of semaglutide for weight loss. But be sure to pay attention to the details! Many of the currently published clinical trials use a weekly dose of 2.4mg. Ozempic is currently only available in 0.5mg, 1.0mg, and 2.0mg doses. (If you think you might benefit from a higher dose, Wegovy—a medication similar to Ozempic—comes in a 2.4mg strength.)
However, some studies have taken a closer look at the smaller doses. A study called the STEP 2 Trial tested the efficacy of semaglutide in people who were overweight or obese and also diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. It lasted 68 weeks. The total reduction in body weight was as follows:
Research has also shown that Ozempic can help those without diabetes lose weight. The STEP 1 Trial included people who were obese or overweight (but who did not have diabetes). There were two study groups: one included those who took 2.4mg of semaglutide and underwent a lifestyle intervention to help with weight loss. The other included those who took a placebo drug but also underwent lifestyle intervention. The trial lasted 68 weeks. The results were as follows:
2.4mg semaglutide plus lifestyle intervention: 14.9% body weight lost on average
Placebo plus lifestyle intervention: 2.4% bodyweight lost on average
Of course, this study used a higher dose of semaglutide than Ozempic currently offers, but it did show that semaglutide can make a difference when it comes to weight loss for those without diabetes, too.
Real People, Real Results
Maybe you’re interested in Ozempic because you know somebody who lost an impressive amount of weight in only six weeks. Even if you don’t personally know anyone who has taken Ozempic, you might appreciate the stories of real people who have found success.
Success On-Label and Off-Label
Healthline recently ran an article profiling married couple Michael and Susan Dixon, both of whom successfully lost weight on Ozempic. Michael was prescribed the medication to treat his type 2 diabetes, and within four months, he lost 15 pounds.
Although Susan did not have diabetes, she had been diagnosed as pre-diabetic, meaning her blood sugar levels were high but not within the diabetic range. Because she was both pre-diabetic and had an aortic aneurysm, her doctor prescribed her Ozempic off-label. In six weeks, she lost 14 pounds.
Both Michael and Susan noted that Ozempic has improved their relationship with food. Because it makes them feel fuller sooner, they’re able to eat less without still feeling hungry. Together, the two have been able to avoid snacking between meals. They don’t find food as exciting, so they have been able to focus on other passions and interests.
Six Weeks to a Better Physique
One blogger detailed his Ozempic 6-week weight loss plan results with photos and commentary. He noted that he started to see increased muscle definition by the second week, but more noticeable physical changes happened around week four.
However, he also said that to maximize the benefits of Ozempic, he committed to a healthier diet and regular exercise. When you combine the power of medication, a good diet, and a solid exercise program, you’ll be well on your way to achieving a stronger, healthier physique.
Taking Ozempic with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
As you saw above, many of Ozempic’s mild side effects involve your GI tract. So, as you can imagine, dealing with IBS while adjusting to Ozempic can be difficult.
However, one reviewer on WebMD encouraged others with IBS to stick with Ozempic. For approximately the first three months of treatment, they dealt with worsening symptoms of IBS. As the introductory dose of the medication moved up from 0.25mg to 0.5mg, the symptoms grew even more severe.
They said that “[t]he results seem to be very good and I am really pleased that I stayed with it, I was getting near to the point of wondering if all effects were going to be worth it.”
Major Progress in a Short Amount of Time
Marie Claire UK recently profiled a few women who have lost weight on Ozempic. Among them is 33-year-old Nicole, who discovered Ozempic after her insurance stopped covering Wegovy, another brand of injectable semaglutide.
While Nicole didn’t give the publication an exact number of pounds she’d lost on the drug, her progress photos speak for themselves. In only six weeks of taking Ozempic, she achieved the impressive results you see above.
Even though Nicole has seen substantial improvement in her weight and general well-being since beginning treatment with Ozempic, she doesn’t intend to take it forever. She says that she’s learned healthier habits and has improved her relationship with food, and she maintains that portion control and other newfound skills will stay with her even once she’s off the drug. She told Marie Claire UK, "I believe that if and when I get off of Ozempic, I'll be able to sustain my progress not only in the weight loss, but in my own habits."
Does Ozempic Keep Working After Six Weeks?
The Ozempic 6-week weight loss plan results above are enough to make plenty of people want to take it. Naturally, you might start to wonder if this medication is like a fad diet. Do the results last?
The good news is that, in many cases, the results you see in the first six weeks are just the beginning. If you took a look at the dosage schedule above, you saw that it takes some time to build up to a full dose. Higher doses of Ozempic seem to be more effective for weight loss, and the first month’s dose (0.25mg) is small enough that it may not have much of an impact on your weight.
If your doctor has prescribed the 0.5mg dosage, you’ll be taking the medication at full strength after a month. But if you’re prescribed the 2.0mg dosage, it will be three months before you reach the full amount.
Everybody is different. But as long as you continue to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle, Ozempic will almost certainly keep working—and often, working better than it did during those first six weeks.
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