With millions of Americans living with diabetes, the injection medication Ozempic (and its generic counterpart Wegovy) is a lifesaver. But due to soaring demand, the drug is in short supply at many pharmacies.
Juniper’s clinical prescribers can get you started on ozempic to help you lose weight and improve your blood sugar levels. You’ll start on the low dose of 0.25mg and gradually increase it over 4 weeks to the 1mg maintenance dose.
How it works
Ozempic works by mimicking a naturally occurring hormone in your body called GLP-1. GLP-1 acts on your brain and digestive system to signal your body that you have eaten. It slows down your stomach emptying of food and can help you feel full longer after meals. It also supresses insulin secretion after a meal. In clinical trials, semaglutide (Ozempic) was shown to help people lose weight and improve their overall health.
In one trial sponsored by Novo Nordisk, a dose of 2.4 milligrams of semaglutide once a week for 68 weeks along with lifestyle intervention resulted in an average weight loss of 12% of body mass. However, some individuals may experience weight loss at a faster rate than others.
With the shortage of Wegovy, and the popularity of the medication going viral on social media, it has become common for individuals without type 2 diabetes to seek an off-label prescription of the drug from medispas or boutique weight loss practices. This can lead to irresponsible prescribing and could interfere with getting the medication to those who need it most.
Ozempic is injected under the skin (subcutaneously) once every week with a prefilled injection pen. It is typically given in the abdomen or thigh. Your doctor will show you how to properly use the pen and injection site supplies.
You will need to be tested for kidney and liver function before starting Ozempic. It is important to tell your doctor about any medications you are taking including vitamins and supplements.
There have been reports of acute kidney injury and worsening of chronic renal failure, sometimes requiring hemodialysis in people who take GLP-1 receptor agonists such as Ozempic. Your doctor may decide to lower your dose or switch you to another medication if this occurs.
Although many people have used Ozempic for short-term cosmetic weight loss, this is not recommended. It can be dangerous and the lost weight will likely be gained back. People with type 2 diabetes and obesity should work with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan for them.
Like any medication, Ozempic can cause side effects in some people. However, they are usually mild and temporary and can be managed or minimised.
Some patients may experience an altered sense of taste while taking the drug. However, this is only a small number of patients and should not be a concern.
Patients using Ozempic with other GLP-1 receptor agonists or insulin should be informed of the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms include dizziness, nausea, headache, weakness, and sweating.
Ozempic can also lead to pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Symptoms include severe pain in your stomach area, vomiting and fever.
Other serious side effects of Ozempic include gallbladder problems and liver damage. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
The wild demand for Ozempic for weight loss isn’t just about the money: It’s also creating health problems. For example, extreme nausea and dehydration can lead to kidney problems — and that’s not the only risk. The drug has been linked to intestinal obstruction, a potentially life-threatening condition that affects the intestines.
Ozempic is a once-a-week injection used to help people with diabetes control their blood sugar, and it may promote weight loss. But it’s not a prescription for people who don’t have diabetes, and it shouldn’t be taken as a way to lose weight. In fact, doctors say the increase in requests for the medication to treat obesity is contributing to shortages that impact diabetic patients who need it for their health.
People using Ozempic for weight loss may also experience a higher risk of pancreatitis, especially if they drink a lot of alcohol, which can cause inflammation in the pancreas. It’s also not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.