Healthcare provider explaining to patient how to get semaglutide

How to get semaglutide for weight loss: key points to know

Updated February 07, 2024. Written by Theresa Vuskovich, DMD. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

Table of contents

Key Points:

  • Semaglutide is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in three brand-name medications, Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®.[1-3]
  • For patients with obesity or who are overweight with at least one weight-related comorbidity, semaglutide is prescribed for weight management.[1]
  • For patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), semaglutide is prescribed to improve glucose control.[2,3]
  • To get a semaglutide prescription, visit your primary care physician in person or schedule an online appointment with a healthcare professional.[1-3]

As obesity and T2D rates continue to rise, more people are seeking medication to lose weight and manage various health conditions. [4, 5] Gaining popularity as a revolutionary medical weight loss treatment, semaglutide offers a novel option for individuals struggling with excess weight. Semaglutide is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in three popular weight loss medications – Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®. [1-3] If you are wondering how to get semaglutide for weight loss, this article explains how semaglutide works and how to get a semaglutide prescription.

Semaglutide for weight management

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.[1-3] GLP-1 is a hormone naturally produced in the body that plays a role in regulating blood sugar levels. As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, semaglutide suppresses appetite, delays stomach emptying, and stimulates insulin secretion.[1] While semaglutide was originally developed for T2D patients as a glucose-lowering drug, clinical trials demonstrated significant weight loss in patients using semaglutide treatment.[6] Additional clinical trials support semaglutide's effectiveness in promoting weight loss for non-diabetics.[1,7,8]

Wegovy® is the only semaglutide medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for weight management.[1] Wegovy® (2.4 mg) reduced non-diabetic patients' weight by 14.9% during the STEP 1 clinical trial (68 weeks).[1] Wegovy® supports healthy eating and exercise in adults with obesity or who are overweight.[1] Your semaglutide weight loss results will depend on a number of factors, including lifestyle choices.

Wegovy® is indicated for patients with obesity or who are overweight with at least one weight-related comorbidity, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.[1] Your body mass index (BMI) determines your eligibility for Wegovy®.[1] Patients with the following BMIs are eligible for Wegovy®:[1]

  • BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater (obesity)
  • BMI of 27 kg/m2 or greater (overweight) in the presence of at least one weight-related comorbid condition (e.g., hypertension, T2D, or dyslipidemia)

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Semaglutide for type 2 diabetes

Ozempic® and Rybelsus® contain semaglutide and help patients with T2D control their blood sugar levels.[2,3] Ozempic® is a once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide injection for patients with T2D.[2] Ozempic® is used alongside diet and exercise to improve glycemic control and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (e.g., heart attack) in adults with T2D and a history of cardiovascular disease.[2] However, Ozempic® is prescribed off-label for weight management.[9]

Since Ozempic® delays gastric emptying, it can affect the absorption of oral medications.[1] As a result, it is important to let your healthcare provider know about any other prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, or supplements you are taking. During a 30-week clinical trial of patients with uncontrolled T2D, 70% achieved a hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c or A1c) of less than 7% while taking 1 mg weekly injections of Ozempic®.[2]

Rybelsus® is a once-daily pill and the first GLP-1 oral semaglutide medication.[3] Rybelsus® reduces blood sugar levels in adults with T2D.[3] During a 26-week clinical trial of adults with uncontrolled T2D, 77% achieved an A1c of less than 7% while taking 14 mg of Rybelsus®.[3] Rybelsus® is used in conjunction with diet and exercise and is prescribed as a monotherapy (single therapy) or in combination with other T2D medications.[3] Rybelsus® may also be prescribed off-label to people without diabetes to help with weight management.[9]

Semaglutide side effects

Regardless of the brand name, semaglutide can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.[1-3] Semaglutide can increase your risk of pancreatitis, acute gallbladder disease, hypersensitivity reactions, diabetic retinopathy, hypoglycemia, acute kidney injury, and thyroid C-cell tumors.[1-3] The safety of semaglutide in people with pancreatitis or who are pregnant is unknown.[1-3]

Semaglutide is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).[1-3] If you plan on getting pregnant, discontinue semaglutide at least two months before.[1-3]

How to get a semaglutide prescription online

A semaglutide prescription requires a visit with a healthcare professional, who will evaluate your health history, weight gain problems, and weight loss goals. While you can get a semaglutide prescription online via a telehealth appointment, lab tests may require in-person visits. If you qualify for semaglutide, your healthcare provider will help you determine the best semaglutide option for you.

Your healthcare provider will send your prescription medication to a physical or online pharmacy. Ask your pharmacy about home delivery options. Health insurance coverage for semaglutide varies widely depending on your health plan. Consult your health insurance company to determine if semaglutide prescriptions are covered.

How to get semaglutide for weight management without insurance

If you are uninsured, there are programs available to assist you with the cost of semaglutide medications. A patient assistance program (PAP) is available through the drug manufacturer.[10] Consult the company website to determine your eligibility.[10] If your health insurance company denies your claim, you may ask your healthcare provider for a coverage request letter.[11]

Weight Care+ with Everlywell

Weight Care+ is a weight management program that includes regular virtual care visits, lab testing, medications, disease control and support for related conditions. However, a GLP-1 prescription is not guaranteed when you join the program. Your healthcare provider will decide whether you are eligible for a GLP-1 prescription based on their clinical judgment. You and your healthcare provider will discuss your weight loss journey, medication tolerance, and lab tests at regular check-ins. The Weight Care+ program gives you the right tools to monitor and treat weight-related conditions.

Benefits of semaglutide

What are the GLP-1 drugs?

How does GLP-1 work for weight loss?

Take our weight loss quiz to determine some helpful next steps for your weight loss efforts.

  1. Wegovy® Prescribing Information. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  2. Ozempic® Prescribing Information. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  3. Rybelsus® Prescribing Information. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  4. Diabetes statistics. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Updated February 2023. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  5. Future Surge in Diabetes Could Dramatically Impact People Under 20 in U.S. CDC. Updated December, 2022. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  6. Latif W, Lambrinos KJ, Rodriguez R. Compare And Contrast the Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists (GLP1RAs). StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Updated March, 2023. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  7. Gao X, Hua X, Wang X, et al. Efficacy and safety of semaglutide on weight loss in obese or overweight patients without diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Front Pharmacol. 2022;13:935823. doi:10.3389/fphar.2022.935823. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  8. Phillips A, Clements JN. Clinical review of subcutaneous semaglutide for obesity. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 2022;47(2):184-193. doi:10.1111/jcpt.13574. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  9. Semaglutide for weight loss - what you need to know. UCLA Health. Published January, 2023. URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  10. Novo Nordisk Patient Assistance Program (PAP). URL. Accessed January 24, 2024.
  11. Nordisk N. Coverage Request Letter. URL. Published June 2021. Accessed January 24, 2024.

Theresa Vuskovich, DMD is a dentist and public health expert with over 10 years of experience. Vuskovich has written, edited, and reviewed health content for the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs (ACMA), Everly Health, and other organizations, and has a decade of experience practicing dentistry. Dr. Vuskovich is skilled in patient education, medical affairs, sleep medicine, stroke prevention, medications, and other health and wellness topics. Theresa holds a BS, MPH, and DMD, and recently returned to the University of Florida to complete her master of Pharmaceutical Sciences studies (MSPharm).
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