Written on October 30, 2023 by Lori Mulligan, MPH. 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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Ozempic®, whose active ingredient is semaglutide, is a once-weekly injection designed for people with type 2 diabetes. Semaglutide helps the pancreas produce insulin, which is how it helps manage type 2 diabetes. Your body needs insulin to move the glucose (or blood sugar) you get from food inside your cells so that you can use it as energy. However, it has also been shown to have a significant impact on weight loss. Semaglutide tells your body you have eaten, and prepares it to use the energy that comes from your food.
When combined with a balanced diet and exercise, weight loss and improved overall health and well-being can be achieved.
Ozempic® works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone, GLP-1. As those hormone levels rise, the molecules go to your brain, telling it you're full. It also slows digestion by increasing the time it takes for food to leave the body.
Though Ozempic® is primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, doctors may prescribe it off-label for weight loss, particularly in patients suffering from obesity or who are significantly overweight. A body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher, or 27 or higher if the individual has weight-related health problems, is generally required for Ozempic® qualification.
It’s also worth noting that Ozempic® is not a stand-alone solution. It should be part of a larger weight-loss strategy that includes dietary changes, increased physical activity, and possibly other medical interventions.
The amount of weight you can lose in a month with an Ozempic® prescription is determined by a number of factors, including your starting weight, diet, level of physical activity, and overall health. Some patients claim to have lost 5% to 10% of their starting weight in six months to a year. It’s important to have realistic expectations as individual results may vary.
Weight loss with Ozempic® is not a quick fix. Many people may notice gradual weight loss within a few weeks of starting treatment. Significant weight loss, on the other hand, usually takes several months. Remember that healthy and sustainable weight loss is a gradual process that typically results in losing one to two pounds per week.
While Ozempic® can be an effective weight loss aid, it is important to use it under the supervision of a healthcare provider who can monitor your progress, adjust doses as needed, and manage any side effects.
The side effects of semaglutide are typically mild—especially when compared to the complications associated with overweight and obesity.
People taking semaglutide for weight loss may experience:
Gastrointestinal issues are the most common complaint among people just starting semaglutide. But you may be able to reduce the side effects by beginning on a lower dose and then slowly increasing the amount you take.
Avoid semaglutide if you have :
Pros of Ozempic® include:
Cons of Ozempic® may include :
Wondering what happens if you just stop taking Ozempic®? Research shows it’s highly possible to gain weight after stopping. However, this depends on many factors.
Developing healthier habits while taking Ozempic® could prevent the weight regain associated with stopping the drug. For example, exercising regularly, sleeping well, and eating fewer processed foods can work to regulate appetite and stress levels. These habits might balance the loss of the drug’s appetite-suppressing functions.
Everyone responds to medicine and lifestyle habits differently. While some may gain weight after stopping Ozempic®, others might maintain their weight loss, especially if they developed a healthy diet. However, some weight regain is common for people who stop taking Ozempic®.
Part of Ozempic®’s success is related to its ability to suppress your appetite. Naturally, as you stop taking the drug, this effect wanes. You might feel normal hunger levels return, which can lead to eating more and result in weight gain. How drastically it affects your appetite depends on your genetics and lifestyle habits, such as stress and sleep.
Ozempic® affects your appetite and blood sugar levels while slowing the rate at which your stomach empties food, which keeps you fuller longer.
But once you stop getting these interconnected metabolic changes, your normal appetite and bodily responses will likely return. That could mean a bigger appetite and more easily storing extra sugar as body fat.
The home-collection HbA1c test is an easy way to measure how well you have been maintaining your blood sugar levels for the past 90 days. Routine monitoring with HbA1c testing is important for individuals who have been diagnosed with prediabetes, diabetes, or gestational diabetes, as blood sugar levels can fluctuate throughout the day.
Everlywell’s weight loss help online via telehealth pairs GLP-1 prescriptions with regular clinician care, lab testing, and support for related conditions.
Specifically, Weight Care+ includes: