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Semaglutide for Weight Loss: Does It Work?

Ozempic semaglutide
Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar



Medical Disclaimer
The medications listed on this website are provided for informational purposes only. Their inclusion does not guarantee that they will be prescribed to any individual, as treatment decisions are ultimately at the discretion of healthcare providers. This list is not exhaustive, and healthcare providers may prescribe other medications, including non-stimulant options, based on the patient’s unique health circumstances and needs.Read more

In the quest to discover effective weight loss solutions, several medications have entered the spotlight over the years. While many of these medications are primarily developed to treat specific conditions, some have been found to have the added aid in weight loss.

Ozempic (semaglutide), originally developed to treat type 2 diabetes, has been one such off-label weight loss drug that has piqued the interest of those seeking to shed some pounds. But how effective is Ozempic for weight loss? Let’s dive in and find out.

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What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic [1*] is an injectable drug primarily used to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs known as Glucagon-like Peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. These drugs are similar in structure to the natural GLP-1 hormone produced in the intestines. Beyond its use for diabetes, Ozempic has garnered attention for its potential effects on weight loss.

Ozempic’s role in diabetes medication management is not just about sugar regulation. Its multifaceted benefits underscore the value of this diabetic shot in the comprehensive care arsenal for diabetes. As always, any decision to use Ozempic should be based on a detailed discussion with a healthcare professional, keeping in mind the individual’s needs.

How Does Ozempic Work?

By mimicking the natural GLP-1 hormone, Ozempic offers a dual approach to managing type 2 diabetes and aiding in weight loss:

  1. Blood sugar control. Ozempic stimulates insulin release when blood sugar is high and suppresses glucagon release when it is low, thereby maintaining balanced sugar levels.
  2. Appetite and digestion. It slows gastric emptying, promoting feelings of fullness. It also acts on the brain to reduce hunger, leading to decreased food intake.

These combined effects not only regulate blood sugar but also contribute to potential weight loss by reducing calorie consumption. The dual benefits of glycemic control and weight reduction make Ozempic indicated for weight loss an intriguing off-label option for many.

Does Ozempic Work for Weight Loss Purposes?

Ozempic has been initially used for type 2 diabetes but it can also serve as an injection for weight loss. Clinical studies [2*] have demonstrated that people using Ozempic (semaglutide) injection for diabetes management often experience weight loss as a side effect. This is attributed to the drug’s ability to reduce appetite and promote feelings of fullness, leading to reduced caloric intake. However, Ozempic helps with weight loss only when taken, and once treatment stops, these effects may cease as well.

Cautionary note. While Ozempic causes weight loss, it is not specifically approved solely for this purpose. FDA approved another semaglutide-based medication Wegovy for weight management. Note that any weight loss benefits are more pronounced when combined with a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

Ozempic Dosage

Doctors typically start patients on a lower dosage of an Ozempic pen and gradually increase it based on the patient’s needs and how they tolerate the medication. The dosage typically begins at 0.25 mg weekly. After a month, it may be adjusted to 0.5 mg weekly. Depending on the person’s reaction, it can eventually be raised to 1 mg per week (or a maximum of 2 mg weekly if additional glycemic control is necessary). If semaglutide is prescribed for targeted weight loss under the brand name Wegovy, it is generally advisable to administer it as a weekly injection within the range of 1.7 mg to 2.4 mg.

Are There Benefits to Taking Ozempic for Weight Loss Treatment?

Using Ozempic may bring about several health benefits, some of which directly or indirectly aid in weight loss:

  1. Helps your pancreas release more insulin. By stimulating the pancreas, Ozempic assists in the production of more insulin to lower blood sugar levels, which is beneficial for those with type 2 diabetes.
  2. Helps prevent your liver from storing too much sugar and fat. Ozempic influences the liver’s functionality, ensuring that excess sugar is not transformed and stored as fat. This is key in both managing diabetes and preventing excessive weight gain.
  3. Slows down food leaving your stomach. This action contributes to a prolonged feeling of fullness, potentially leading to reduced food intake and losing weight.
  4. Reduces the risk of cardiovascular events. Beyond weight loss, Ozempic has been linked to a decreased risk of major cardiovascular events, making it not only a potential weight-loss agent but also a heart-protective drug.

Common Side Effects of Ozempic

While Ozempic presents numerous benefits, it is essential to be aware of potential side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Headaches
  • Decreased appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Risk of pancreatitis

Always consult a physician about potential side effects and their severity when considering any new weight loss medicine.

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Is There an Off-brand Version of Ozempic?

The FDA warns [3*] people of the danger regarding the use of “generic” versions of Ozempic. It says there are no approved generic alternatives for this medication and warns of the potential risks associated with using unapproved versions. Consult your clinician or pharmacist for the most current information on alternatives that can suit your individual needs.

The Difference Between Ozempic and Wegovy

Both Ozempic and Wegovy [4*] are based on the active ingredient semaglutide. However, their formulations, dosages, and approved uses differ. Ozempic was primarily designed for type 2 diabetes treatment, its weight loss benefits are considered a secondary effect. Wegovy, on the other hand, has been specifically approved for weight management in adults who are overweight or obese and have weight-related medical problems. It is available in higher doses than Ozempic. Both medications are administered once a week.

Who Can Use Ozempic?

Ozempic is a revolutionary medication that holds potential advantages for a diverse group of individuals:

  • Diabetic patients. Ozempic can help adults with type 2 diabetes to regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Individuals looking for dual benefits. Those seeking both improved glycemic control and weight loss might consider Ozempic, as weight reduction has been observed as a side effect.
  • Patients seeking cardiovascular benefits. Ozempic has shown potential in reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events.

Who Should Not Use Ozempic for Weight Loss?

The use of Ozempic for weight loss is not suitable for everyone. Some individuals, due to specific conditions or scenarios, might need to approach this medication with caution or avoid it altogether:

  • Non-diabetic individuals solely seeking weight loss. Using a medication specifically designed for another primary purpose might not be the optimal first-line solution for losing weight. Healthcare professionals may prescribe it off-label, choose Wegovy as an FDA-approved option for weight loss, or select another treatment.
  • Pregnant or nursing mothers. The effects of Ozempic on pregnancy and breastfeeding are not entirely clear, so it’s essential to consult a medical provider.
  • Those with a history of pancreatitis. Ozempic can increase the risk of pancreatitis.
  • Individuals with specific allergies. Always consult with a physician regarding potential allergic reactions or drug interactions.

Other Weight Loss Medications

Several medications have been developed or repurposed to assist in losing weight. These include:

  • Orlistat (Alli, Xenical)
  • Phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia)
  • Bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave)
  • Liraglutide (Saxenda)
  • Phentermine (Adipex-P)
  • Phendimetrazine (Bontril PDM)


While medications like Ozempic present potential weight loss benefits, it is essential to always use them under the guidance of a healthcare professional. Always remember that no single weight loss medication is effective for everyone. At MEDvidi, you can receive a treatment plan tailored to your symptoms and needs since our providers use a holistic approach to weight loss management. Also, remember to supplement the use of weight loss medications with nutritious diet, exercise, and overall well-being management, which is paramount to sustainable weight loss and health.

If excess weight becomes a concern for you, consult our qualified providers.


On average, individuals taking Ozempic for type 2 diabetes management have reported a weight loss of about 3.7 to 4.5 kg [5*] of their initial body weight in 30 weeks. However, individual results can vary, and weight loss can depend on factors like dosage, diet, exercise, and how the body responds to the medication. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized expectations and dosage adjustments.

Studies [6*] have indicated that at higher dosages, specifically 2.4 mg, semaglutide can be notably effective in aiding weight loss for individuals with obesity. When used alongside lifestyle changes, participants with obesity shed approximately 15% of their initial body weight over a span of 68 weeks.

Weight loss with Ozempic varies among individuals due to differences in metabolism, genetic makeup, lifestyle habits, and individual metabolic responses to the medication.

The duration of Ozempic use for weight loss is determined by a healthcare professional based on individual needs and responses. Doctors typically prescribe Ozempic for long-term use when patients demonstrate consistent benefits and no adverse effects.

Currently, Ozempic is FDA-approved only to treat diabetes, it can be prescribed for weight loss only off-label. Semaglutide is approved for weight loss under the brand name Wegovy.

To increase the potential for high efficacy of Ozempic, follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider and incorporate lifestyle interventions as recommended.


6 sources
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  2. Weight Loss Outcomes Associated With Semaglutide Treatment for Patients With Overweight or Obesity. (2022)
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  3. Ozempic for weight loss: Does it work, and what do experts recommend? (2023)
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  4. Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. (2022)
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  5. Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide monotherapy versus placebo in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN 1): a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled, parallel-group, multinational, multicentre phase 3a trial. (2017)
    Source link
  6. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. (2021)
    Source link
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Written by:

Rabia Khaliq

MSc in Applied Psychology

Wafaa Amjad Dar



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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, written by experts and fact checked by experts.

Our team of experts strive to be objective, unbiased, honest and to present both sides of the argument.

This article contains scientific references. The numbers
in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.