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Weight Loss

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How to get Ozempic for weight loss — from start to finish

Written by Patricia Weiser, PharmD

Published: May 29, 2024

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Sheelu Bhatnagar

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Many people choose medications like Ozempic as a potential weight loss solution. If you’re considering Ozempic for weight loss, it’s important to understand how to get a prescription and use it safely. In this article, we guide you through how to get Ozempic for weight loss and provide the information you need to make an informed decision about incorporating this once-weekly injection into your routine. 

Ready to kickstart your weight loss journey? Find a weight loss provider on Klarity today to see if Ozempic or another weight loss medication is right for you.

Get a prescription for Ozempic in as little as 24 hours.

How to get Ozempic for weight loss step by step

If you’re considering Ozempic for weight loss, the first thing to check is if it’s right for you, based on its approved uses. Ozempic is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to control blood sugar levels and lower A1C in adults with type 2 diabetes, along with diet and exercise. It’s also approved to reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke, in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. 

Even if you don’t have diabetes, Ozempic is still an effective weight loss medication. It’s commonly prescribed off-label for weight loss. Off-label prescribing means a medication is prescribed for reasons outside of the specific uses (indications) listed on the FDA-approved labeling. 

While Ozempic isn’t specifically approved for weight loss, its active ingredient semaglutide has been proven highly effective for weight loss. In fact, semaglutide is approved for weight loss, but under a different brand name — Wegovy

Wegovy as a weight loss alternative to Ozempic

Along with lifestyle changes, Wegovy is FDA-approved for chronic weight management in people ages 12 years and older who meet certain requirements. These include having obesity or being overweight with at least one weight-related health condition such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol or blood pressure. Similar to Ozempic, Wegovy is also approved to lower the risk of serious cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack or stroke, in obese or overweight individuals with known heart disease.

So, the choice between Ozempic vs Wegovy may come down to which one you qualify for based on your health history. If you have type 2 diabetes, Ozempic may be the right fit. If you have obesity or overweight but don’t have type 2 diabetes, you may want to explore Wegovy as a potential option for weight loss.

Still not sure if you qualify based on your weight? Ozempic isn’t approved for weight loss, so there isn’t a specific weight requirement for Ozempic. Wegovy, on the other hand, does outline certain weight requirements in its approved labeling. While not a perfect tool, body mass index (BMI) is commonly used by healthcare professionals to assess body size. BMI is calculated based on a person’s height and weight. Overweight is a BMI of 25 to 29.9, and obesity is a BMI of 30 or greater. BMI calculators are available online, like on the CDC and NIH websites, to help you determine your BMI.

A qualified healthcare provider can help determine if Ozempic is right for you. With marketplace services, like Klarity, you can find a provider and have an appointment in as little as 24 hours. 

Who can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss?

Any licensed healthcare provider can prescribe Ozempic. This most often includes physicians, physician assistants/associates (PAs), and nurse practitioners (NPs) in primary care (general practice or family medicine). You can also get an Ozempic prescription from a specialist, such as an endocrinologist or weight loss (bariatric) specialist. Many providers offer telehealth consultations and other online weight loss services, though an in-person exam or lab work may be required for treatment.

After a healthcare provider deems Ozempic appropriate and safe for you, they’ll give you a prescription for it. The prescription is typically sent electronically to the pharmacy of your choice.

Where to find Ozempic

Any licensed pharmacy can dispense Ozempic. You can pick it up at your local pharmacy or arrange to have a mail-order pharmacy ship it to your home.

Due to high demand, many people want to know where to find Ozempic in stock. Most U.S. pharmacies have faced Ozempic shortages as a result of its popularity. At the time of publication, Ozempic isn’t included on the FDA’s list of drug shortages. 

When a shipment of Ozempic arrives in a pharmacy, the medication typically gets dispensed right away to individuals whose prescriptions have been waiting in a computer queue. Pharmacies typically fill the prescriptions in the order received. Ask your healthcare provider to send your Ozempic prescription to your pharmacy of choice, then ask your pharmacist to keep ordering it for you until it’s back in stock.

Don’t want to wait? Another option is to request a prescription for semaglutide injection be made at a compounding pharmacy. Due to the Ozempic shortage, some compounding pharmacies in the U.S. purchase the ingredients necessary to make semaglutide injections. 

It’s completely legal for licensed pharmacies to compound drugs, and the Drug Quality and Security Act (DQSA) lets states oversee and regulate them to ensure safety. Any pharmacy with a state license can compound medications, but not every pharmacy has the necessary equipment.

If a pharmacy offers compounding, they must follow FDA regulations and only compound for patients with valid prescriptions. Compounding pharmacies can pursue special accreditation by participating in specialized training, inspections, and additional standards. To help ensure safe compounding practices, it’s best to choose an accredited, state-licensed pharmacy.

What does Ozempic cost?

For most people interested in Ozempic for weight loss, cost is a major factor in their decision. 

Ozempic is expensive. The average price is around $1,029 for a 1-month supply.

You may pay less for Ozempic with insurance. Getting Ozempic covered by insurance usually requires prior authorization. This is when your insurance requires documentation from your healthcare provider to support that the drug is medically necessary for you before they help cover the cost. 

Getting off-label Ozempic prior authorization for weight loss is possible, but less likely. For example, insurance plans are more likely to cover Ozempic for managing type 2 diabetes or reducing cardiovascular risk (the approved indications of Ozempic), than if you’re taking it off-label for weight loss. You have the right to appeal a prior authorization denial regardless of the reason. 

Patient assistance programs and coupons may be an option to make Ozempic more affordable. It’s also possible to get Ozempic for $25 if you’re eligible for the Ozempic Savings Card. A healthcare provider or pharmacy professional can connect you with resources that may help you get Ozempic for free or at a discount too. 

Ozempic doses for weight loss

Ozempic dosages are given as subcutaneous injections, just under the skin. Injection site options include the stomach, thighs, or upper arm. Ozempic injection pens come in multiple strengths. You start at a low dose and gradually increase under provider supervision. This lets your body adjust to the medication and helps prevent side effects, like nausea and stomach upset.

The recommended Ozempic dosing schedule is as follows:

WeekSubcutaneous Dose
Weeks 1–40.25 mg once weekly
Weeks 5–8 0.5 mg once weekly
Weeks 9–121 mg once weekly 💉
Weeks 17+2 mg once weekly 💉
💉 indicates a potential maintenance dose

At first, the recommended titration schedule is standard for everyone starting Ozempic. But, the maintenance dose is typically 1- or 2-milligrams once weekly. Your maintenance dose is your maximum tolerated dose, or the highest dose you can take without having severe side effects, such as stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting. For some people that may be 1 milligram, but others comfortably tolerate 2 milligrams once weekly.

Ozempic is taken at any time of day on the same day each week.  If you miss a dose, take your dose as soon as possible within 5 days after the missed dose. If more than 5 days have passed, skip the missed dose and take your next dose on the regularly scheduled day. 

How does Ozempic work for weight loss?

Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist medication, similar to popular weight loss injections, like Wegovy and Saxenda. GLP-1 agonists mimic the effects of GLP-1, a natural hormone released by the body after eating. GLP-1 works for weight loss by making you feel fuller more quickly, decreasing your desire to eat. They also lower your blood sugar levels, which makes them beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. 

Ozempic is intended for use alongside a reduced-calorie diet and regular exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend 150 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity each week , including at least 2 days of muscle-strengthening activity.

How effective is Ozempic for weight loss? 

Evidence from clinical trials shows that Ozempic is effective for diabetes management and weight loss.

In a 2017 study, 387 participants with type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to receive placebo or Ozempic (0.5- or 1-milligram) weekly for 30 weeks. The results revealed that participants taking Ozempic experienced better diabetes control and achieved greater weight loss on average. Those treated with the lower dose of Ozempic experienced an average body weight decrease of 8.22 pounds and those treated with Ozempic 1-milligram weekly lost an average of 9.99 pounds. In comparison, those treated with placebo lost 2.16 pounds.

In a 2021 study of people with type 2 diabetes, 961 participants were randomized to receive Ozempic 1-milligram or 2-milligrams in addition to certain oral diabetes medications for 40 weeks. The results revealed that the higher dose of Ozempic led to better diabetes outcomes. Those treated with Ozempic 2-milligrams lost an average of 15.21 pounds, while those treated with Ozempic 1-milligram lost an average of 14.11 pounds.

Side effects of Ozempic 

The more common side effects of Ozempic, as listed on the FDA label, include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation


Less common side effects include:

  • Heartburn or acid reflux
  • Gas
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), if taken with certain other medications for type 2 diabetes (insulin or sulfonylureas)
  • Injection site reactions

Precautions, contraindications, and boxed warnings for Ozempic for weight loss

Ozempic’s labeling carries warnings that patients should be aware of, including several precautions, a boxed warning, and contraindications. 

Ozempic hasn’t been studied in people with type 1 diabetes or people with a history of pancreatitis. Precaution should be taken in people with acute pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, hypoglycemia, acute kidney problems, diabetic retinopathy, rapid heartbeat, and suicidal behavior or thoughts.

Ozempic’s boxed warning cautions that semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic) causes thyroid tumors in animal studies. It isn’t known if this risk extends to humans. 

Due to the risk of harm, Ozempic is contraindicated in certain people.  You shouldn’t take Ozempic if you have a family or personal history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN-2). In addition, you shouldn’t use Ozempic if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Ozempic or semaglutide in the past.

Key takeaways

Ozempic (semaglutide) is FDA-approved for managing blood sugar levels and lowering A1C in adults with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces the risk of cardiovascular issues in those with both type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. Despite not being specifically approved for weight loss, Ozempic is commonly prescribed off-label for this purpose due to the effectiveness of its active ingredient, semaglutide. 

Ozempic can be prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider, such as primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and specialists like endocrinologists. Ozempic can be obtained from any licensed pharmacy, either in person or delivered. Due to high demand, pharmacies may experience shortages of Ozempic, but the situation is improving. Ozempic is expensive, but insurance coverage and assistance programs may help mitigate costs for eligible individuals.

Ozempic is administered via subcutaneous injection once weekly, with dosages gradually increasing over time. It’s meant to be used alongside lifestyle changes like a low-calorie diet and regular exercise. 

Like other medications in the GLP-1 analog class, Ozempic lowers blood sugar levels by helping your body release more insulin. Evidence from clinical trials demonstrates Ozempic’s effectiveness for controlling type 2 diabetes. It also helps people lose weight. 

Ozempic may cause side effects, such as nausea, and has other precautions. It may not be safe for everyone. Talk to a healthcare provider to discuss whether Ozempic may be suitable for you.  

Schedule a time to talk to provider about how to get Ozempic for weight loss

Interested in trying Ozempic or another medication for weight loss? It’s time to talk to a specialist. Find a licensed weight loss provider on Klarity and schedule an appointment in as little as 24 hours. 

FAQs about Ozempic 

How can I be prescribed Ozempic for weight loss?

While Ozempic isn’t specifically approved for weight loss, it’s commonly prescribed off-label for this purpose due to its effectiveness. To be prescribed Ozempic for weight loss, you’ll need to consult with a licensed healthcare provider, such as a primary care physician or weight loss specialist. 

During your appointment, discuss your desire to lose weight. Also be prepared to talk about your past and current health conditions, and everything you take (all prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, and dietary supplements). They’ll review your health history and determine if a medical weight loss program is right for you. In some cases, a physical exam and lab work may be recommended. If deemed suitable, they’ll issue a prescription for Ozempic and send it to your preferred pharmacy. 

Will insurance cover Ozempic for weight loss?

Ozempic may be covered by insurance, but it varies based on your plan and medical needs. Prior authorization may be required. If you have type 2 diabetes, insurance is more likely to cover Ozempic since it’s for an FDA-approved indication.  Contact your insurance company to learn more about your specific coverage details.

What are the steps to get Ozempic prescribed for weight loss? 

The process to get Ozempic for weight loss is simple:

  • Connect with a weight loss specialist
  • Develop a personalized medication plan with the help of your provider
  • Begin your medication-managed weight loss
  • Follow up with your provider and adjust your dose as needed

Set up an appointment to speak with an online weight loss provider and begin your journey today.

How to get Ozempic for weight loss fast 

Excited to kickstart your weight loss journey? With Klarity, you can have an appointment in as little as 24 hours. Schedule an appointment with a weight loss provider on Klarity today. 

How to get Ozempic without a prescription

The short answer is you can’t. Ozempic is a prescription medication, meaning it’s only available if you have a prescription from a licensed healthcare provider. It isn’t available over the counter. 

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult BMI Calculator, Sept. 2022, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Obesity and Overweight, Jan. 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Physical Activity, Mar. 2023, https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

DailyMed, Ozempic-semaglutide injection, solution, Sept. 2023, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=adec4fd2-6858-4c99-91d4-531f5f2a2d79&audience=consumer

DailyMed, Wegovy-semaglutide injection, solution, Mar. 2024, https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=ee06186f-2aa3-4990-a760-757579d8f77b&audience=consumer

Drugs.com, Ozempic Prices, Coupons and Patient Assistance Programs, Apr. 2024, https://www.drugs.com/price-guide/ozempic

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology, Efficacy and safety of once-weekly semaglutide 2·0 mg versus 1·0 mg in patients with type 2 diabetes (SUSTAIN FORTE): a double-blind, randomised, phase 3B trial, Juan P Frias et al, Sept. 2021, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34293304/

Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology, 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, Christopher Sorli et al, Apr. 2017, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28110911/

Mayo Clinic proceedings, Ten common questions (and their answers) about off-label drug use, Oct. 2012, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22877654/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Calculate Your Body Mass Index, https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm 

StatPearls, Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists, Logan Collins, Ryan A. Costello. Jan. 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK551568/

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA Approves First Treatment to Reduce Risk of Serious Heart Problems Specifically in Adults with Obesity or Overweight, Mar. 2024, https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-approves-first-treatment-reduce-risk-serious-heart-problems-specifically-adults-obesity-or

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Section 503A of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, Jun. 2018, https://www.fda.gov/drugs/human-drug-compounding/section-503a-federal-food-drug-and-cosmetic-act

The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified healthcare professional with any questions or concerns you have regarding your health.

How we reviewed this article: This article goes through rigorous fact-checking by a team of medical reviewers. Reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the author.

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