Starting a weight loss treatment represents the possibility of new horizons and is often accompanied by feelings of hope, anticipation, and excitement. The prospect of seeing those pounds begin to melt away is something to look forward to, and patients are eager to know when they can expect to begin seeing measurable results.

If you’re exploring the possibility of getting an Ozempic prescription for Type 2 Diabetes or weight loss, or if you’ve recently started taking the drug, you may be wondering how long it may take before it starts to have a noticeable impact.

As with most medications, the exact effects of Ozempic on the body will vary somewhat from patient to patient based on several factors. This variability applies to Ozempic’s efficacy as well as the time frame it will take to start working. That being said, clinical trials of the drug provide a general reference point for what most patients can expect when starting treatment.

Below, we’ll consider how Ozempic works (including for weight loss), who can take it, how long it may take to start losing weight on the drug, and how best to enhance and support your Ozempic weight loss journey. Bear in mind that the information provided by does not constitute medical advice and that speaking directly with your doctor or healthcare provider is the only way to determine whether or not Ozempic may be the right fit for your particular needs and circumstances.

Key Takeaways

  • Ozempic is a brand-name prescription drug that helps patients with Type 2 Diabetes regulate their blood sugar levels. Its active ingredient, semaglutide, can also promote healthy weight loss and the drug is sometimes prescribed off-label for this purpose.
  • The amount of time it will take to start losing weight on Ozempic depends on a variety of factors. Some patients may notice results within the first 1-2 weeks, but for most patients, it will take closer to 8 weeks or more.
  • Maintaining a calorie-deficient diet, exercising regularly, staying active, getting enough sleep, and taking care of your mental health can all contribute to speeding up Ozempic’s effectiveness for weight loss.
  • Only your doctor or healthcare provider can help you determine whether or not Ozempic (semaglutide) may be the right fit for you.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic is an injectable medication that works by imitating a natural incretin hormone produced in the human gut. This hormone is called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), and semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Other popular medications that are also classed as GLP-1 receptor agonists include liraglutide (Victoza, Saxenda) and dulaglutide (Trulicity).

The hormone GLP-1 is activated in response to the consumption of food and is responsible for signaling the brain, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal systems that the food is ready to be metabolized into energy (digested). Semaglutide works similarly to the natural hormone but lasts longer in the body. It’s injected subcutaneously once per week into the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen and promotes the following by binding to GLP-1 receptors:

  • The natural release of insulin from the pancreas into the bloodstream
  • The reduction of glucagon production in the liver
  • The slowing of gastric emptying (the rate at which food is released from the stomach into the small intestine)

How Does Ozempic Aid Weight Loss?

Ozempic was designed by Denmark-based pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes and was approved by the FDA in 2017 for helping to maintain glycemic control in adult patients with that disease. In addition, it was also approved for reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in adult patients with Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease.

When Novo Nordisk noted that weight loss was also a side effect of Ozempic, it conducted extensive clinical trials to determine whether or not semaglutide could also be an effective treatment for chronic weight management. In 2021, the FDA approved semaglutide for weight loss in adults under the brand name Wegovy (and subsequently for weight loss in obese teens in 2022). Wegovy is virtually identical to Ozempic, except that it comes in a higher dose of 2.4 mg. Ozempic’s maximum dose is 2 mg, and it’s not currently approved for weight loss, though many healthcare professionals prescribe it off-label for this purpose (particularly due to ongoing Wegovy shortages).

Ozempic and Wegovy (both semaglutide drugs) work for weight loss by slowing digestion and communicating feelings of satiety (fullness) to the brain and body systems. This, in turn, reduces hunger pangs and cravings and makes it easier to eat smaller portions and feel satisfied for longer after a meal. Semaglutide is most effective when complemented with healthy eating habits and active lifestyle changes.

Who Can Use Ozempic for Weight Loss?

Technically, Ozempic is only indicated for patients with Type 2 Diabetes. However, if your doctor believes that Ozempic may be an effective treatment option for you, they may prescribe it off-label even if you’re not diabetic. Often, Ozempic is prescribed for weight loss to patients with obesity (BMI over 30) or overweight (BMI over 27) with at least one weight-related medical condition, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, or high cholesterol.

For more information about taking Ozempic for weight loss as a non-diabetic, read our recent post on the topic.

How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight on Ozempic?

Some patients may begin to notice slight changes, such as a reduction in appetite and food cravings, as early as one or two weeks into their Ozempic treatment. Generally speaking, however, the most noticeable weight loss begins to occur between weeks 8-12, when patients are typically reaching their maintenance dose of the drug. (It’s standard to begin taking Ozempic at a low starting dose and build it up every four weeks, as advised by a medical professional, to reduce side effects and allow the body time to adjust.)

The amount of time it will take before you notice weight loss occurring will depend on a wide range of factors that include:

  • Your personal biology and body chemistry
  • Your lifestyle and activity level
  • Your gender
  • Your starting body weight
  • Your tolerance of the drug (if you experience a lot of side effects, your doctor may not be able to up your dosage as quickly)

How To Speed Up the Effectiveness of Ozempic

To achieve the fastest and most effective weight loss results while on Ozempic, commit to the following straightforward habits:

Maintain a Caloric-Deficit Diet

Ozempic helps reduce your appetite and cravings, but you also have to do your part to eat a healthy diet and monitor your food intake. Plan for a caloric-deficit diet in your eating habits and seek out the help of a dietician if you need support along the way. Just because you’re on a weight loss journey shouldn’t mean you can’t enjoy your food!

Keep an Active Lifestyle

Exercise is key for weight loss and your overall health. Seek out active pursuits that you enjoy (it doesn’t just have to be the gym) and dedicate time for them in your weekly schedule. Experts recommend about 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 of intense workouts.

Get Enough Sleep and Rest

Did you know that research has shown that lack of sleep can increase your appetite and likelihood of overeating? In addition, muscle gain and tissue recovery occur while you’re asleep. Getting enough sleep makes for a happier, more productive you—plus it can enhance your weight loss journey. So, try to prioritize getting enough sleep every single night!

Take Care of Your Mental Health

Stress and anxiety can contribute to weight gain and negatively counteract semaglutide’s benefits while taking time to breathe, relax, and enjoy life can actually help you lose more weight. It’s best to avoid alcohol altogether while on Ozempic (both because it’s a depressant and because it can interact negatively with the drug) and to seek out support from a mental health professional if you’re not feeling emotionally well while on Ozempic.

Ozempic Side Effects

Mild side effects of Ozempic can include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and other gastrointestinal issues
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Injection site reactions

More serious side effects can include:

  • Pancreas, kidney, liver, or gallbladder problems
  • Vision changes
  • Severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • The development of thyroid tumors

Ozempic is not a suitable treatment option for patients who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive. It is also not recommended for patients with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer.

The Bottom Line

Ozempic (semaglutide) can be a highly effective weight loss treatment, but its results will vary from person to person. Some factors, such as your starting weight and personal biology, are beyond your control. But others, such as your activity level and dietary choices while on the drug, are well within it.

The bottom line is that the more committed you are to creating healthy habits and leading a healthy lifestyle, the more effective and efficient your medical weight loss journey on Ozempic will be.

To begin losing weight with high-quality Ozempic at an affordable price, order Ozempic from — a reputable and experienced Canadian prescription referral service. All you need to do is provide us with a prescription from a U.S.-certified physician, and we’ll handle the rest. For more information, reach out to our knowledgeable team directly today!

About the Author

Ida Edlweiss Gumpal is a licensed Pharmacist and medical writer. She took her internships at Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc., a Hospital internship at De Vera Medical Center, Inc., and a Manufacturing internship at Philmed Laboratories, Inc. She has plans on attending medical school with the goal of specializing in Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic surgery.