Ozempic® is a medicine from Novo Nordisk, initially developed for treating Type 2 diabetes by reducing the sugar content in the blood. A side benefit of the medication is weight loss if it is combined with a healthy diet and more exercise. Today, Ozempic® is prescribed for both diabetes and weight loss, as more people have become aware of the weight loss effects. This is perhaps due to the increased attention from the media.
Are you thinking about starting weight loss medication yourself? Find out more about Ozempic® and find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the medication below, or read more about medical weight loss here.
The active substance in Ozempic® is called semaglutide and mimics a natural gut hormone called GLP-1. Ozempic® (and also your own natural GLP-1) works by affecting the areas of the brain that control appetite. Specifically, it works by causing the pancreas to release more insulin when you eat and causing the liver to hold onto glucagon, which together will lower blood sugar.
GLP-1 sends a message to the brain that you are full, just as it tells your stomach to empty the food into the intestines more slowly than usual. When you are on the medication, you will find that you get full faster and have less hunger and less of an urge to eat. Therefore, the medicine can support weight loss, where you are simultaneously working on changing your lifestyle. At Embla, we intensely focus on combining the medication with all the other relevant elements in a weight loss process: coaching, diet, exercise, sleep and psychology.
Ozempic® can be bought at UK pharmacies throughout the country. But to buy the medication, you must have a prescription - this can be from your own doctor or a doctor at, for example, a regulated weight loss clinic such as Embla. (Embla delivers your medication directly to your home from our pharmacy partner.)
Not everyone can get a prescription for Ozempic®. You must have a BMI over 30 or a BMI between 27 and 30 and at least one weight-related condition. Embla attaches great importance to the fact that the medicine should only support your weight loss. It is the lifestyle change that is most important. The first step is to book a screening, where we can clarify whether you are suitable for a course.
Like all other medicines, there is also a risk of side effects when using Ozempic®. If you experience side effects, they will most often occur at the beginning of a course. There will be a few side effects from the gastrointestinal tract, as this is precisely where the medicine works. This can be, for example, nausea, diarrhoea or constipation. This is why we slowly increase the dose.
Another side effect is gallstones, which are especially seen with too rapid weight loss (more than 1 kg per week). Gallstones are not dangerous but can be painful. If you experience side effects, you should contact a doctor. If you are undergoing treatment at Embla, you can contact us anytime, and our medical team will assess the scope.
The benefits of weight loss, including a protective effect on the cardiovascular system, a beneficial effect on blood pressure and cholesterol, and a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, will usually overshadow any temporary, unpleasant side effects.