Ozempic has been mentioned a fair amount in the news and interviews over the past few months. However, despite its associations with weight loss, Ozempic is normally only prescribed for the treatment of diabetes in the UK. In this post, we discuss why Ozempic works for weight loss, how you can buy Ozempic, how to use it, and possible alternative weight loss treatments.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a medication from Novo Nordisk, the manufacturers of Wegovy and Saxenda. While Ozempic is similar to Wegovy in many ways, it does have a few differences. In the UK, Ozempic is currently licensed for treatment of type 2 diabetes. Wegovy is still to be released, but will be licensed for weight loss.

Both Ozempic and Wegovy use the same active ingredient, semaglutide. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist; that means it mimics the action of naturally-occurring hormones in your body that help regulate your appetite and control digestion. By mimicking these hormones, your body feels fuller, even when you eat less food. In type 2 diabetes, this gives you greater control of your appetite, which can allow you to better manage your blood sugar levels. It also slows down digestion of food, which can help keep you feeling full for longer after eating.

However, when combined with a calorie-controlled diet and increased exercise, it can also lead to weight loss. Indeed, Ozempic was the original form of semaglutide; when clinical trials showed weight loss in a significant number of patients, Novo Nordisk reformulated it making Wegovy – a version of Ozempic targetted at weight loss.

 

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How Do I Use Ozempic for Weight Loss?

Currently, Ozempic is available as a prescription medication on the NHS for diabetes management. However, some doctors may choose to prescribe Ozempic “off label”, as a weight loss treatment.

While both Wegovy and Ozempic use the same active ingredient, there is a difference in dosage; Ozempic is normally used in lower doses to control appetite. As Wegovy is licensed for weight loss, it uses a higher dose to give a more noticeable effect. This means that Ozempic may not be as effective as Wegovy, though you may still lose weight as you will be eating less and taking more nutrients from the food you do eat.

Under normal circumstances, your doctor will assess your Body Mass Index (BMI), body weight and other health conditions before making the decision on your prescription. Currently, it is necessary to speak to a weight care specialist clinic to get weight loss medications through the NHS; this ensures that those who are using these medications have tried other weight loss methods, due to the expense of some of these treatments. However, private doctors and other healthcare professionals may be able to help depending on your situation.

Some patients have noted that Wegovy can have some unwanted effects – the most common side effects can include stomach issues and nausea. For some, these side effects can be distressing enough that they move to a lower dose; as Ozempic comes in a lower dose, this may be an alternative for those who find Wegovy’s side effects difficult to manage.

Where Do I Inject Ozempic?

Ozempic is injected through a subcutaneous needle, provided in a handy pen. This means the needle goes through the first few layers of skin, but no deeper.

Ozempic can be injected into the upper arm, thigh, or the stomach (no less than two inches from your belly button). It is recommended to rotate the injection site regularly, and to not inject in the same spot multiple times. Do not inject into areas of scar tissue or existing irritation.

How Long Can I Use Ozempic?

For people with type 2 diabetes, treatment with Ozempic can last as long as your doctor continues to think it will be helpful. For weight loss, Ozempic can be used long term; however, if you do not lose enough weight in the first few months, your doctor may remove you from the medication. Current evidence suggests that semaglutide can be used for up to two years before requiring a medication review, though your doctor may wish to have one sooner depending on circumstances.

How Can I Make Ozempic Work Best For Me?

If you are using Ozempic as a diabetes medication, it is advised to set a meal plan to follow. This allows your blood sugar levels to be consistent and ensure that your appetite is controlled.

If you are using Ozempic as a weight loss medication, it is recommended to also follow a calorie-controlled diet and increase your exercise levels in order to lose weight. Ozempic on its own will not make you lose weight – it simply helps control your appetite.

In conjunction with diet and exercise, clinical studies have shown that semaglutide (specifically in the higher Wegovy dose) helped 86% of patients to lose at least 5% of their body weight over the course of 68 weeks.

How Many Doses Are In An Ozempic Pen?

Each Ozempic pen contains 4 pre-measured doses of semaglutide. As it is a weekly injection, this means each pen should last you a full month. The pen should be stored in the fridge between doses.

Be sure to use a fresh needle each time you use the Ozempic pen. Reusing the same needle can cause infections and damage to the skin. Upon finishing each dose, remove the needle to prevent accidentally using the previous needle again.

How Do I Know When My Ozempic Pen is Empty?

When you use the pen, each dose will be accompanied by two clicks. The first click should tell you that the medication is being administered; the second indicates the dose is still being delivered, not that it has finished!

Once your dose has been delivered, check the dose counter on your pen. Each Ozempic pen comes with a dose counter on the pen itself – once it reaches zero, the pen can be disposed of. Ensure you have a sharps bin to dispose of used needles safely.