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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Ozempic for Weight Loss: Is It Worth Trying?

Ozempic for Weight Loss: Is It Worth Trying?

Dennis-Njoroge-author-at-healthreporter
Written by Dennis Njoroge
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
5 min read 3513 Views 0 Comments
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Ozempic is a drug used to manage blood sugar levels among type 2 diabetes patients, but some researchers also claim it may help in weight loss. Discover what Ozempic is and why it’s hitting the headlines.

Ozempic for weight loss

Some medications treat various health conditions and result in weight loss over time. A good example is Ozempic, a type 2 diabetes treatment drug. Ozempic is an FDA-approved drug used in blood sugar management, but it also helps in weight loss for people with obesity.

Ozempic has the drug semaglutide and is administered once a week to help manage blood sugar levels. It comes as a solution administered as an injection and is currently not available in pill format.

The medication can be combined with other diabetes medication, but is this drug suitable for weight loss? This article will cover all you need to know about using Ozempic for weight loss.

Ozempic for Weight Loss – Does It Work?

Though Ozempic mainly helps lower blood sugar levels, it also helps one lose weight. The medicine helped in blood sugar control in clinical trials and aided weight loss among obese people and participants with type 2 diabetes.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic is an injectable drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk, and it belongs to a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1).

A glucagon-like peptide is a receptor agonist hormone that mimics the results of the hormones that regulate your blood sugar levels after you have eaten a meal.

Though it is mainly for blood sugar management, it also helps people without type 2 diabetes lose weight. GLP 1, the primary hormone in Ozempic, slows down the speed with which the stomach empties food.

Since it slows down digestion, it also helps curb your appetite, making you eat less food and lose weight. Additionally, it causes your hormone to release insulin and blocks the hormone from the liver that releases sugar leading to weight loss.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic works primarily by binding to GLP 1 receptors, which helps stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas. It also reduces the sugar released by the liver hence controlling blood sugar levels.

Ozempic is administered by injection and is considered among the long-acting options of drugs as it is used once a week compared to other medicines where one needs to use them once or twice a day.

Clinical trials conducted by the manufacturer compared Ozempic to placebo, an inactive agent, and it was found that weight loss occurred in 10% of users in the placebo group compared to 65% of the patients using Ozempic.

It also reduces your appetite and slows down the rate at which food leaves the stomach (gastric emptying), decreasing hunger pangs and leading to weight loss. If you have diabetes or heart disease, this drug can help protect you from a stroke or heart attack.

Is Ozempic approved for weight loss?

Though Ozempic is FDA-approved for blood sugar management among patients with type 2 diabetes, it is not accepted for weight loss. Ozempic was explicitly approved to reduce the risk of strokes, heart disease, and other heart-related problems among type 2 diabetes patients.

Instead of using Ozempic for weight loss, the FDA approved Wegovy, a new drug treatment for chronic weight management.

How Much Weight Did People Lose Weight With Ozempic?

On average, people with obesity lost at least 15% of their body weight after weekly injections of 1mg of Ozempic. To see the best results, you need to slowly work your way up to a higher dose till you reach the target of 1mg a week.

Patients adjusted their dose every four weeks until they reached the target dose. However, you will start seeing results even before getting to the target dose.

Research on people without type 2 diabetes who were either obese or overweight showed that patients lost 15% of body weight after 68 weeks. 70% of the participants lost at least 10% of their weight, 50% had lost 15% body weight, and 33% of the patients lost 20% body weight.

These results are significant as research experts recommend that losing at least 10% to 15% of weight among people with obesity is beneficial for avoiding health complications such as prediabetes and hypertension.

It is important to note that people react differently to medication. How fast you lose weight will vary depending on body mass index, genetics, and overall lifestyle.

For steady weight loss, it is advisable to use the medicine in combination with lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and exercise.

Is Wegovy the Same as Ozempic?

Wegovy and Ozempic are two different brand names the manufacturer uses to market glucagon-like peptides. Ozempic is mainly used in treating type 2 diabetes patients, whereas Wegovy is an effective medication for shedding weight and is used for chronic weight management.

The FDA approves both drugs, and Wegovy was approved in 2021. The patient gradually increases the dosage till it reaches 2.4mg a week for favorable results.

Wegovy works best with a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity among people with a high body mass index and weight-related conditions such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and high cholesterol levels.

The other difference between Ozempic and Wegovy is the dosage. Ozempic’s dosage is gradually increased to a maximum of 1mg a week, while Wegovy’s dosage is increased to 2.4mg a week.

Side Effects of Ozempic for Weight Loss

Though Ozempic is an FDA-approved drug, it has some severe side effects you need to consider before purchasing it.

This drug can cause thyroid tumors and cancers. You should avoid this medication if you have a personal or family history of thyroid tumors. 

It would be best to seek medical advice if you notice any early signs such as a lump in the neck, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, or unusual throat hoarseness.

It can also lead to kidney disease, and it would be best to consult your doctor if you see any changes in the color and amount of urine and vision changes such as blurred or decreased vision.

In rare cases, Ozempic also causes pancreatitis. If you get early symptoms of pancreatitis, such as abdominal pain, vomiting, and nausea, get medical help right away.

Though Ozempic helps in blood sugar management, it can cause low blood sugar levels if used with other diabetes medications. Drinking a lot of alcohol, getting fewer calories from food, or over-exercising can cause low blood sugar and affect blood pressure.

Some low blood sugar level symptoms include sudden sweating, blurred vision, increased blood pressure, dizziness, and tingling hands and feet.

Allergic reactions are rare when using Ozempic, but if you experience any reaction, such as a rash, swelling, itching, or severe dizziness, then you should immediately get medical assistance.

It can cause side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation. This is not the complete list of side effects. It would be best if you talked to your doctor about the risks and benefits of Ozempic before proceeding with the treatment.

A Word From Our Dietitian

There are numerous medications used for treating certain medical complications, which may also affect weight loss. However, medication is not a shortcut toward rapid weight loss.

It is advisable to combine diet and exercise for the best results. Some weight-loss medications also have undesirable side effects, such as allergies and cancers, leaving you with worse medical conditions. Some of these medications can also make you gain weight over time.

Before opting for any medication, discuss the best options available for your weight loss routine with a licensed healthcare professional.

It is also best to avoid weight loss medication if you have any underlying medical conditions.

Conclusion

Though there is no magic pill for cutting weight, some medications such as Ozempic might help, but they work best when combined with a healthy diet and exercise.

Talk to a healthcare professional first before considering prescription weight loss medication for losing weight.

Written by Dennis Njoroge
Dennis is a seasoned writer who focuses on writing health and wellness articles. His career goal is to educate people on how to reprogram their lives by breaking free from unhealthy eating habits and fostering new sustainable habits. Dennis tries to give easy-to-follow advice based on scientific research. He strongly believes that regardless of age, fitness level, a person can always learn something new and reach their health goals if they have a positive mindset.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Dennis-Njoroge-author-at-healthreporter
Written by Dennis Njoroge
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
5 min read 3513 Views 0 Comments
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