Written on May 22, 2023 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.
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Semaglutide is the active pharmaceutical ingredient in three popular medications, Wegovy®, Ozempic®, and Rybelsus®. [1-3] As obesity and T2D rates rise, more people are seeking medication to manage their conditions.[4,5] If you are wondering how to get semaglutide, this article explains semaglutide and how to get a semaglutide prescription.
Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist.[1-3] Semaglutide suppresses appetite, delays stomach emptying, and stimulates glucose secretion. While semaglutide was originally developed for T2D patients as a glucose-lowering drug, clinical trials demonstrated patients lost weight on semaglutide. 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. Wegovy® (2.4 mg) reduced non-diabetic patients' weight by 14.9% during the STEP 1 clinical trial (68 weeks). Wegovy® supports healthy eating and exercise in adults with obesity or who are overweight. 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. Your body mass index (BMI) determines your eligibility for Wegovy®. Patients with the following BMIs are eligible for Wegovy®:
Ozempic® and Rybelsus® contain semaglutide and help patients with T2D control their blood sugar levels.[2,3] Ozempic® is a once-weekly subcutaneous injection for patients with T2D. 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. However, Ozempic® is prescribed off-label for weight management.
Since Ozempic® delays gastric emptying, it can affect the absorption of oral medications. 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®.
Rybelsus® is the first GLP-1 pill and a once-daily pill containing semaglutide. Rybelsus® reduces blood sugar levels in adults with T2D. 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®. Rybelsus® is used in conjunction with diet and exercise and is prescribed as a monotherapy (single therapy) or in combination with other T2D medications. Rybelsus® may also be prescribed off-label to people without diabetes to help with weight management.
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]
A semaglutide prescription requires a visit with a healthcare provider, who will evaluate your health history and 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 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.
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. Consult the company website to determine your eligibility. If your health insurance company denies your claim, you may ask your healthcare provider for a coverage request letter.
Weight Care+ is a weight management program that includes regular virtual care visits, lab testing, medications, 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 progress, 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.
Take our weight loss quiz to determine some helpful next steps for your weight loss efforts.