Getting your hands on Ozempic for weight loss can be tricky. Here’s how to go about it ethically and safely.
Looking to lose weight? Unless you’ve been living on Mars for the last year or so, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Ozempic — a drug developed for diabetes management that just so happens to work for weight loss.
The only trouble is, the more popular Ozempic becomes, the harder it is to get ahold of. Plus, since it’s technically intended to treat blood sugar issues, it can be especially tough to get for weight loss use.
Challenging — but not impossible. We’ve got the deets on how to snag this med ethically and safely for weight management.
The semaglutide drug Ozempic has taken on a reputation as a wonder drug. It’s easy to see why! Though it was created back in the mid-2010s to help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar, it turns out that the med has the unexpected byproduct of promoting weight loss.
It’s not just a rumor from your hairdresser or a TikTok video — research shows that Ozempic does impact body weight. A 2021 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that when people took Ozempic over 68 weeks, they lost an average of 14.9% of their body weight.
Despite these remarkable results, the drug is still currently FDA-approved for only two purposes: lowering blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.
Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t get Ozempic prescribed for weight loss. Your healthcare provider can prescribe the med “off-label” (aka for a purpose other than its FDA-approved uses). This practice is legal and super common — so don’t worry that you’re asking your doctor to do something shady.
Of course, some providers are more likely to provide off-label prescriptions than others, so walking away with a script depends mainly on the provider you see. If you have conditions aggravated by weight — such as back pain, limited mobility, or high cholesterol — you may be more likely to receive an off-label Ozempic prescription.
Ozempic is only available via prescription, so the first step toward getting the drug is to visit your doctor’s office. Though some websites offer knock-off versions of semaglutides that you can order without a prescription, we definitely don’t recommend going this route. Faux pharmaceuticals can be extremely dangerous.
Only licensed healthcare providers like doctors, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners can prescribe the med (for weight loss or any other purpose). Some may require an in-person visit, while others may be comfortable prescribing via telehealth. Your doctor will probably ask about your health history, weight, and lifestyle during your appointment.
If your GP isn’t open to prescribing the med for weight loss alone, you can consider getting a second opinion from a weight loss specialist or a weight loss clinic.
Once you’ve got that all-important script, you can head to your local pharmacy to snag your Ozempic. Or research online pharmacies that supply the drug, as they may save you some cash. To find a reputable pharmacy on the web, check out the FDA’s database of state-licensed online options.
One last option for getting Ozempic for weight loss: Consider getting into a clinical trial. Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company that first developed Ozempic, continues to run trials that assess semaglutides’ effectiveness for weight loss. By visiting their website, find out if you qualify for one of their clinical trials.
Unfortunately, most insurance plans won’t cover Ozempic as a treatment for weight loss all by itself. (Womp, womp.) Since the drug is supposed to be used solely for its two FDA-approved purposes, many insurance plans aren’t too keen to cover it outside of these areas.
Always check with your insurance, though — you might be pleasantly surprised at its coverage.
And, of course, if your doctor prescribes Ozempic for blood sugar issues (which should be covered by insurance) and you happen to lose weight as a byproduct, it’s a win-win!
We won’t sugarcoat it: Ozempic ain’t cheap. In the U.S., without insurance, the average cost for a 30-day course of a semaglutide drug was an eye-popping $804 as of February 2023. Another analysis found that, on average, a pre-filled Ozempic pen (which contains about a week’s worth of the med) costs $195.
If you’re not down to spending hundreds each month on a weight loss drug, some cost-reducing options may help.
Ask your doctor or pharmacy about coupons or patient assistance programs that might reduce Ozempic’s cost, like GoodRX. You can also inquire whether your pharmacy offers discounts for cash-pay customers. Depending on your insurance coverage, programs like Ozempic’s savings card could also put a severe dent in the price.
How much do I need to weigh to get Ozempic?
Since Ozempic isn’t FDA-approved for weight loss, there’s technically no weight requirement to get on it. Your doctor will take stock of your health and weight status before deciding whether to prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight issues.
Is Wegovy the same thing as Ozempic?
Wegovy and Ozempic are both the same drug (semaglutide). The difference is in the strength that the drugs come in. Additionally, each medication has different uses.
Wegovy is specifically approved for weight management, helping people with obesity to lose weight. Ozempic is primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels.
How can I get Ozempic for $25 a month for weight loss?
Have you heard about Ozempic’s savings card program? With this offer, people with private or commercial insurance can be eligible to pay as little as $25 a month for their meds. Your prescription must be for a 1-, 2-, or 3-month supply, and you’ll need to answer a few questions to determine if you qualify.
While Ozempic offers promise for weight management, it’s (so far) only FDA-approved for managing type 2 diabetes and reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with diabetes and heart disease. Because of this, you’ll likely encounter red tape if you only want to use the drug to slim down.
Still, you can ask your doctor about a prescription for Ozempic for weight issues — or consider its sister drug, Wegovy, which is approved for weight loss. It may be easier to get and more likely to be covered by insurance. Whatever option you choose, meds are only one piece of the weight loss puzzle. To see lasting results, keep up with a healthy diet, good sleep, and regular exercise.