Healthcare provider explaining to patient how to qualify for Ozempic for weight loss

How to Qualify for Ozempic® for Weight Loss: Key Points to Know

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.[1]

When combined with a balanced diet and exercise, weight loss and improved overall health and well-being can be achieved.

How Does Ozempic® Work?

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.[2]

Who Qualifies for Ozempic® for Weight Loss?

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.

How Much Weight Can You Lose in a Month With Ozempic®?

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.

How Quickly Do You Lose Weight on Ozempic®?

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.[3]

What Are the Side Effects of Semaglutide Injections?

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:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, constipation, and gassiness
  • Headache
  • Stomach issues, including nausea, vomiting, pain, or distension (bloat)

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.

Everlywell Weight Loss Support

Who Should Not Take Ozempic®?

Avoid semaglutide if you have [4]:

  • History of medullary thyroid cancer
  • History of gallbladder disease
  • History of pancreatitis
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2)

What Are the Pros and Cons of Ozempic® for Weight Loss?

Pros of Ozempic® include:

  • Weight loss
  • Normalization of insulin and glucose levels in the blood
  • Improvement in risk factors directly related to cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and liver disease

Cons of Ozempic® may include [5]:

  • Possible gastrointestinal side effects (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting)
  • Possible link to pancreatitis and thyroid nodules
  • The costs, as out-of-pocket expenses can run $1,000 or more a month without insurance

Do You Gain Weight When You Stop Taking Ozempic®?

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.

Behavioral Habits

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.

Individual Variation

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®.

Altered Appetite

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.

Metabolic Changes

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.[6]

Everlywell Offers Testing for HbA1c and a Comprehensive Weight Loss Program

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:

  • Access to GLP-1 prescriptions for qualified candidates
  • Regular 1:1 virtual visits with a licensed clinician
  • Quarterly at-home lab tests or supplements
  • Lifestyle content and support for related health conditions

Ozempic® Injection Sites: Where Is the Best Place To Inject Ozempic® For Weight Loss?

Can You Take Ozempic® While Pregnant?

Is Berberine Like Ozempic®?


  1. Ozempic® helps weight loss by making you feel full. But certain foods can do the same thing - without the side effects. Hunter Medical Research Institute. Accessed on 10/13/2023.
  2. Ozempic® for weight loss: Does it work, and what do experts recommend? UC Davis Health. Accessed on 10/13/2023.
  3. Who qualifies for Ozempic® for weight loss? Vermont Urgent Care. Accessed on 10/13/2023.
  4. Semaglutide for weight loss: What you need to know. UCLA Health. Accessed on 10/13/2023.
  5. Is Ozempic® a miracle drug for weight loss? University Hospitals. Published 1/4/2023.
  6. What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Taking Ozempic®? Health. Accessed on 10/13/2023.
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