Eating wholesome foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits are all crucial for weight loss and the maintenance of a healthy body mass index (BMI). But for many Americans, more than these solutions are needed.

If you’re among the nearly 42% of American adults who suffer from obesity, a chronic illness with a multitude of comorbidities and risk factors, you may find that, despite your best efforts, you’re unable to manage your weight as well as you would like. If this is the case, you’re certainly not alone.

In addition to exercise and other lifestyle changes, many overweight and obese Americans find that medications can also be a game-changer in their weight loss journeys. And recently, the prescription drug Ozempic (semaglutide) has swept the weight loss drug landscape by storm.

If you’re looking to augment your weight loss efforts with effective medication, you’ve likely already heard of Ozempic — the Type 2 Diabetes treatment turned sensation due to its side effect of promoting medically significant weight loss. But is accessing Ozempic for weight loss as straightforward as just going to your doctor and asking for a prescription?

In some cases, yes. But your ability to gain access to Ozempic for weight loss depends on various factors. In this post, we’ll consider who may be a good candidate for weight loss treatment with Ozempic and help you prepare for an informed conversation with your healthcare provider. The information in this post does not constitute medical advice, and your doctor will always be your best resource as you explore whether or not Ozempic may be the right medication for your particular needs and circumstances.

How Does Ozempic Work for Weight Loss?

Ozempic is a prescription medication produced by Novo Nordisk that was FDA-approved in 2017 for treating Type 2 Diabetes in adults. As an adjunct to diet and exercise, it can offer improved glycemic control (regulation of blood sugar levels) and reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in adults diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to the approved uses above, Ozempic (semaglutide) is also associated with medically significant weight loss in overweight and obese adults (with and without Type 2 Diabetes). Clinical trials have shown that, when taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise, the drug can help patients shed anywhere from 5-20% of their starting body weight.

That being said, Ozempic is not currently approved as a weight loss drug, and any prescription written specifically for this purpose is considered off-label. Wegovy, a similar drug also produced by Novo Nordisk and containing the same active ingredient (semaglutide) but at a higher dose, was approved by the FDA for weight loss in 2021 in obese adults and overweight adults with at least one weight-related condition (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.). In 2022, Wegovy was also approved for weight loss treatment in obese teens over the age of twelve.

Semaglutide belongs to the class of medications known as GLP-1 receptor agonists. In simple terms, this means that it mimics an incretin hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), produced in the human gut. GLP-1 is naturally produced in response to the consumption of food. It signals the body that digestion is underway and triggers resulting reactions in a variety of body systems. Injected once per week, semaglutide lasts much longer in the body than naturally occurring GLP-1. It binds to GLP-1 receptors and triggers the following responses, even when digestion is not actively underway:

  • The production and release of insulin by the pancreas
  • The reduction of glucose production by the liver
  • The slowing of gastric emptying (the rate at which food empties from the stomach into the small intestine) and digestion as a whole

Ozempic effectively helps regulate blood sugar levels and reduces appetite and cravings. It also helps increase feelings of satiety (fullness) and allows patients taking it to remain fuller for longer, even when consuming smaller meals.

What To Do Before Trying Ozempic

If you are considering exploring the possibility of Ozempic as a weight loss medication, the steps below are a recommended starting point:

Consult Your Healthcare Provider

A conversation with your doctor or healthcare provider will be essential in determining whether or not Ozempic may be a realistic weight loss option. Your doctor knows your medical history, is aware of other medications you may be taking, and can advise you on whether or not Ozempic could be a good fit for your weight loss goals.

Since Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, the choice to write an off-label prescription for that purpose will be at your doctor’s discretion. While many healthcare professionals are willing to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss under the right circumstances, the ultimate decision will be determined by how safe and beneficial they believe the medication will likely be in your particular situation.

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes or have other blood sugar issues, you are probably already monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly.

While Ozempic is indicated for glycemic control and, in most cases, helps lower and regulate blood sugar, it’s important to continue carefully monitoring your blood sugar while on it. Occasionally, interactions between Ozempic and other medications, such as insulin, can result in dangerously low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). It’s important to discuss blood sugar monitoring with your healthcare provider before starting Ozempic.

Always inject Ozempic exactly at the time and in the manner and dosage prescribed, and reach out to your doctor if you notice any irregularities in your blood sugar levels or have other related questions or concerns.

Check Your Insurance

Many insurance companies cover Ozempic if it’s prescribed for its approved purpose (treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease), but this may not be the case if you’ve received an off-label Ozempic prescription for weight loss.

Ozempic is a costly drug if you’re paying for it out of pocket (in the range of $900-$1300 per month in the U.S.), so it’s important to understand your coverage options and have a financial plan in place before considering an ongoing prescription.

Every insurance provider is different, so it’s always worth contacting yours directly to receive the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Be Careful of Potential Side Effects

Like any prescription drug, Ozempic comes with the risk of potential side effects. While most of them are mild and often resolve as your body’s tolerance for the drug increases, it’s important to be aware of how you may respond to Ozempic.

Common mild side effects include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain, as well as headaches, dizziness, and injection site reactions.

Rare but serious side effects can include severe allergic reactions, pancreatitis, kidney problems, gallbladder problems, vision problems, severe hypoglycemia, and the potential formation of thyroid tumors.

How Can You Get Ozempic?

The only way to get Ozempic is with an official prescription from a licensed medical professional. Be wary of any services that claim to provide semaglutide to patients without requiring a prescription. Only purchase Ozempic from reputable, verifiable sources like

Who Qualifies for Ozempic for Weight Loss?

Because Ozempic is not approved as a weight loss medication, there are no specific criteria determining exactly who is eligible for an off-label prescription. That being said, many healthcare professionals will consider writing an Ozempic prescription for obese patients for whom they believe the drug’s benefits will outweigh the risks.

As a reference point, Wegovy, which is similar to Ozempic and has been approved for weight loss, is indicated for adult patients with a BMI over 30 (obese) or a BMI over 27 (overweight) with at least one weight-related medical condition. For teens, Wegovy is typically prescribed for those with a BMI in the top 5% for their age and gender.

Who Shouldn’t Consider Ozempic for Weight Loss?

You should not consider taking Ozempic for weight loss (or consult very carefully with your doctor or healthcare provider) if:

  • You are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive
  • Have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer
  • Have a history of pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, or liver disease
  • Are allergic to any of the ingredients in Ozempic
  • Are under the age of 18

As always, follow the advice and recommendations of your doctor when deciding whether or not to take Ozempic.


To conclude, Ozempic is a prescription drug that can promote medically significant weight loss, but it’s not officially approved for this purpose. If your doctor or healthcare provider believes you may benefit from using Ozempic for weight loss, they may write you an off-label prescription for it.

Suppose you are trying to lose weight and are considering augmenting healthy lifestyle changes with prescription medication. In that case, it’s important to talk with your doctor to determine whether or not Ozempic may be the right option for your needs and circumstances. Be sure to bear in mind your blood sugar levels and the potential side effects of the drug as well as whether or not your insurance will cover an off-label prescription.

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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.