Ozempic: A Comprehensive Guide for Diabetes Management and Weight Loss
Ozempic is a prescription medication that can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their condition and lose weight. It has been approved by the FDA as an effective treatment for both conditions. This article provides a detailed overview of Ozempic, including how it works, its benefits, side effects, and how to use it.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is an injectable medication containing semaglutide, a GLP-1 receptor agonist that stimulates insulin release from the pancreas, reduces the amount of sugar released by the liver, and slows down food leaving the stomach. It helps lower hemoglobin A1C levels, reduces the risk of cardiovascular death including stroke and heart attack, and can aid in weight loss.
How does Ozempic work?
Ozempic works by binding to the GLP-1 receptors and stimulating insulin release from the pancreas when needed. This helps reduce the amount of sugar released by the liver and slows down food leaving the stomach, making the person feel full, and preventing blood sugar spikes. Through these mechanisms, it can help individuals eat less food, prevent weight gain, and even aid in weight loss.
Is Ozempic a shot?
Yes, Ozempic is a subcutaneous injection taken once a week. The needle used is very small, measuring 32 gauge (4 mm) and is as small as 2 human hairs wide, making it relatively painless.
Is Ozempic a weight loss drug?
Although Ozempic is FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes, it has also been used off-label for weight loss in people without diabetes. The same active ingredient, semaglutide, is approved for weight loss in the brand name medication Wegovy.
How much weight can I lose with Ozempic?
On average, people can expect to lose around 15% of their body weight over several months. The effectiveness of Ozempic in weight loss has been demonstrated in a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which reported an average weight loss of 15% of body weight over a period of several months. “The mean change in body weight from baseline to week 68 was −14.9% in the semaglutide group as compared with −2.4% with placebo”. (source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183). However, the amount of weight lost varies from person to person.
Are there any serious side effects with Ozempic?
In rare cases, some people may experience hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when used with certain other diabetic medications, pancreatitis, kidney failure, allergic reactions, and thyroid cancer. It is crucial to discuss the risks and benefits of Ozempic with the medical provider to determine if it is the right medication for the person. It is also essential to continue following up with the medical provider after starting Ozempic.
- Ozempic is an injectable medication used to lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular death, and help with weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes.
- It works by binding to GLP-1 receptors in the body, stimulating insulin release, reducing sugar released by the liver, and slowing down food leaving the stomach.
- Ozempic is administered once a week via a small needle, and can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 56 days.
- Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and constipation, but these usually go away over time. More serious side effects, such as hypoglycemia and pancreatitis, can occur in rare cases.
- Ozempic can be used off-label for weight loss without diabetes, with an average weight loss of 15% of body weight over several months.
- It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider to see if Ozempic is right for you, and to continue following up with them after starting the medication.
This article reviewed by Dr. Jim Liu, MD and Ms. Deb Dooley, APRN.
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