Obesity is a chronic disease that can lead to multiple health issues including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and more. Ozempic is a prescription medication that has been proven to significantly lower blood sugar and A1C for those with type 2 diabete – and – aide in weight loss for overweight and obese patients with (and without) type 2 diabetes.1
1.1 About Ozempic
Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analog prescription medication that was approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for type 2 diabetes in 2017; however, the manufacturer of Ozempic (Novo Nordisk) was recently able to get Semaglutide medication approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy. Semaglutide has been shown to help reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events and aide with weight loss in patients with (and without) type 2 diabetes.2
1.2 What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a non-stimulant GLP-1 once-weekly injection prescription medication that improves blood sugar, reduces risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death, as well as helps with weight loss for adults with Type 2 diabetes when combined with diet and exercise.3
1.3 How does Ozempic work?
Like other semaglutide medications, Ozempic works with your body’s own ability to lower blood sugar and A1C. It imitates the effect of a naturally occurring hormone called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) that helps the pancreas produce more insulin when needed, prevents the liver from making and releasing too much sugar, and slows down digestion (improving blood sugar and feelings of satiety).
1.4 Who is Ozempic for?
Ozempic can be prescribed to adults with type 2 diabetes. Although it is not indicated for weight loss, it may help patients lose some weight.
There are some patients who should not take Ozempic. Patients who have or whose family has a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) should not take Ozempic. You should also not take Ozempic if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Ozempic. Speak with your healthcare provider if you have kidney problems, pancreas problems, have a history of diabetic retinopathy (loss of vision), or are breastfeeding, pregnant, or plan to become pregnant.4
1.5 What are the side effects of Ozempic?
Like any medication, Ozempic does have a variety of side effects. The most common side effects when taking Ozempic include:
- Stomach pain
Ozempic does have several potentially serious side effects including pancreatitis, changes in vision, hypoglycemia, kidney problems, serious allergic reaction, and gallbladder problems. Stop using Ozempic and call your healthcare provider if you experience any serious side effects.
1.6 How much does Ozempic Cost?
According to GoodRx, out of pocket expense can be up to $800-$1,000 per 1-month supply. 5
Fortunately, this medication can be covered by insurance for those with type 2 diabetes. But always check with your insurance provider and check the co-pay.
There are also options available to purchase this medication at steep discounts with a manufacturer coupon for qualifying patients.
1.7 Results with Ozempic (Semaglutide)
For Weight Loss:
A study in 2021 of semaglutide showed that semaglutide medications like Ozempic helped participants lose an average of almost 15% of their body weight compared to the placebo with just 2.4% weight loss.
The study concluded that participants who were overweight or obese taking 2.4 mg of semaglutide once weekly in combination with lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise was associated with sustained, clinically relevant reduction in body weight. 6
The American Diabetes Association recommends adults with type 2 diabetes to maintain A1C less than 7%. Most adults taking Ozempic reached an A1C under 7% and maintained it. In two different studies of Ozempic, majority of participants reached an A1C under 7%.
Ozempic is not a weight loss drug, but in the above-mentioned studies it was shown to effectively aide in weight loss when combined with diet and exercise.7