A diabetes medication called Ozempic has been gaining popularity for off-label use for weight loss. It is all over the internet as a weight loss drug. However, is it meant to be used for weight loss, and is it safe to use for weight loss?
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic, or semaglutide, is part of a drug class called GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) agonists. GLP-1 is a type of hormone in your body that is naturally produced by the gut in response to food intake. It stimulates a reduction in appetite and the release of insulin. By mimicking the actions of GLP-1, semaglutide helps you feel full and helps reduce appetite. Ozempic is used to treat type 2 diabetes and has been FDA approved for this use. After using Ozempic, many people experienced weight loss as a side effect of the medication because of how the drug works. Due to the finding that Ozempic helped with weight loss, the medicine semaglutide was researched for use in weight loss for people without diabetes. After conducting research, semaglutide was approved for weight loss treatment in 2021 under the brand name Weygovy. Weygovy contains the same medicine as Ozempic, just in a higher dose.
How is Ozempic used for weight loss?
Ozempic has not been approved for use for weight loss, therefore, if it is used for weight loss it is considered off-label use. However, as described above, Weygovy is approved for weight loss and contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic. Ozempic comes as a prefilled syringe with medicine loaded and ready for use. It is injected under the skin once weekly. Typically, your health care provider will start you at a lower dose of medication and slowly increase your dose over time to increase the chances that you tolerate the medicine well. The goal is to get you to a higher dose, where you will see more results from the medicine. For diabetes treatment, the target dose for Ozempic is 2mg weekly. If you’re using Weygovy, the target dose is set a little higher at 2.4mg weekly.
You may not see results right away after you start Ozempic or Weygovy. It can take a few months to achieve weight loss results. It is important that you target changes to your diet and exercise routine in addition to using any weight loss medications.
Is Ozempic safe for use in weight loss?
Ozempic is not approved for use in weight loss, so there is no research tell us whether it is safe for weight loss specifically. Ozempic is safe and effective for type 2 diabetes treatment. Weygovy (which contains the same medication as Ozempic, semaglutide), however, has been found safe and effective for weight loss in adults and children 12 or older who meet the criteria for use.
Some side effects have been reported with the use of semaglutide. These include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation.
It is always in your best interest to discuss any new medication with your health care provider before starting. If you think semaglutide could be right for you to aid in your weight loss journey, speak with your health care provider. Every medication you put in your body comes with risks and you should assure that you’re under the care of a physician prior to starting a new medication and continue to follow up with that provider as directed.
Disclaimer: This blog is written for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen online.