Ozempic for people without diabetes: does it work as a slimming drug?

Ozempic is a semaglutide drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

However, more and more people who do not have diabetes are starting to take Ozempic for weight loss.

This article will explain whether Ozempic can work as a weight loss drug for people who don’t have diabetes, the side effects and consequences of doing so.

Does Ozempic help you lose weight?

Yes. Ozempic and semaglutides in general have been proven to help people lose weight.

Ozempic works by stimulating the pancreas to release insulin and also stops the liver from producing glucagon. This increases insulin sensitivity while reducing insulin resistance.

It also slows down digestion and stomach emptying, so you feel fuller for longer.

Common side effects of Ozempic are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea which, while unpleasant, lead to suppression of appetite, often resulting in weight loss.

How much weight can you lose by taking Ozempic?

One randomized controlled trial (RCT) showed that obese or overweight patients lost an average of 6% of their body weight after taking semaglutide after 3 months and 11% of their total body weight after 6 months.

Another study found that long-term use of semaglutide resulted in a permanent weight loss of approximately 10% of total body weight with continued use.

Ozempic and semaglutides are generally associated with greater weight loss as the dose is increased. However, the dose should only be changed under medical supervision.

Ozempic works best when taken consistently, along with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. Combining the drug with a healthy lifestyle is the best way to lose weight permanently.

Results vary from patient to patient, and most people will regain the weight they have lost once they stop taking the drug.

Read more: Ozempic Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take?

Is Ozempic available for people without diabetes?

Ozempic is approved by the FDA for the treatment of type 2 diabetes only. People who do not have diabetes can take Ozempic “off-label” with a prescription from a doctor.

“Off-label” means uses other than those approved by the FDA.

Finding a doctor to write you a prescription for Ozempic if you don’t have diabetes can be difficult. Many people have been able to do this recently, but it causes Ozempic deficiency in people with diabetes and taking the drug regularly.

However, Ozempic is not for people without diabetes and its side effects can be serious.

If you want to take a weight loss drug that is approved for people without diabetes, talk to your doctor who can give you options.

Is it safe to take Ozempic if you don’t have diabetes?

You should always only take prescription drugs that are prescribed for you. Never use someone else’s prescription.

However, if you’ve been prescribed Ozempic but don’t have diabetes, it’s because your doctor knows and understands your health history, health goals, lifestyle, and personal risks. As Ozempic can cause serious side effects, your doctor should consider this before prescribing Ozempic if you are not diabetic.

In short, there is nothing actually it is dangerous to take Ozempic if you do not have diabetes (it does not work like insulin, which can be fatal if taken by a non-diabetic person), but there is no definitive opinion on whether it is safe or not.

You should be aware of the risks and side effects and act accordingly. Because it is not approved for use in people without diabetes, the FDA has not issued guidelines regarding its safety and effectiveness in people without diabetes.

What are the side effects of Ozempic?

This injectable medicine is taken once a week and can cause severe side effects, especially when you first start taking the medicine. These side effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Low blood sugar (especially if you are on insulin)
  • Vision changes (including worsening of retinopathy)
  • Weight loss

Most of these symptoms go away after taking the medicine for a few weeks to a month and your body gets used to it.

However, if side effects persist or worsen and impair your quality of life, contact your doctor.

Frequently asked questions

Can Ozempic only be used for weight loss?

Yes, and people do. However, there are FDA-approved weight loss medications for people who don’t have diabetes, such as Wegovy.

If you don’t have diabetes but are interested in a weight loss medication, talk to your doctor who may be able to offer you alternatives.

Who shouldn’t take Ozempic for weight loss?

It is not recommended to take Ozempic unless you have a prescription for Ozempic.

As it is a slimming medicine, you should not use Ozempic if you are on a maintenance weight or if you are underweight.
Ideally, you should not take Ozempic if you are not diabetic, pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to become pregnant.

Ozempic can cause serious (but rare) side effects, including thyroid C-cell tumors and medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). You should not take Ozempic if you have a personal or family history of MTC or multiple endocrine adenomatosis type 2 (MEN 2).

Ozempic may cause pancreatitis, worsen diabetic retinopathy and worsen kidney function. All these complications were reported in a clinical trial. If you currently suffer from diabetic retinopathy or kidney problems (complications of diabetes), talk to your doctor about the appropriate use of Ozempic.

If you are taking insulin, be aware that Ozempic may increase the occurrence of low blood sugar. You may want to start using a continuous glucose meter (CGM) before starting Ozempic if you struggle with frequent hypos.

Talk to your doctor about your personal and family health history if you are interested in an Ozempic prescription.

What are the reasons not to take Ozempic?

There are many reasons not to take Ozempic, and the reasons for taking a new drug should be carefully considered in terms of your health history, reasons for taking the new drug, health goals, and lifestyle.

Unless you have type 2 diabetes, seriously consider your reasons for taking Ozempic and ask your doctor if there may be alternative weight loss medications available that are FDA-approved for people without diabetes.

If you don’t have diabetes, your health insurance will most likely not cover the medication, so the cost for you will be out of pocket, and Ozempic is quite expensive, often costing a few hundred to a thousand dollars a month for a prescription.

Also, you will not want to take Ozempic if you are allergic to semaglutide or if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) or multiple endocrine adenomatosis type 2 (MEN 2) syndrome.

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