The Limitations of Ozempic for Weight Loss – Why Consumers Are Wary

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By Alex Haley

Updated on

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While Ozempic has generated significant hype as a “game changing” weight loss drug, there are legitimate concerns that are giving consumers pause – from both the UK and USA.

On the surface, Ozempic’s ability to produce rapid weight loss of up to 15% of body weight seems impressive. The weekly injections suppress appetite by mimicking a natural hormone, making users feel full while eating less.

However, there are several drawbacks that cast doubt on Ozempic’s suitability as a long-term weight loss solution for most people:

  • Cost – Ozempic is extremely expensive, costing over £100/$150 per week at higher doses. This places it out of reach for many and raises questions about sustainability and true value.
  • Side effects – Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are common with Ozempic, with some users describing the side effects as “brutal.” More serious issues like pancreatitis have also been reported.
  • Transience of results – Most of Ozempic’s weight loss comes from suppressed appetite and reduced caloric intake. Once users stop Ozempic, their appetite and weight typically return toward baseline.
  • Need for increased doses over time – Some patients lose response to Ozempic and require higher doses to maintain weight loss. This drives costs up further and may worsen side effects.
  • Inadequacy of drugs alone – Experts warn that weight loss medications cannot replace comprehensive lifestyle changes that promote permanent fat loss and healthy habits. Ozempic is just a “band-aid.”
  • Limited duration of use – Ozempic has only been studied for up to 2 years. Long-term safety and efficacy beyond that remains unclear.

Cheaper an Natural Alternative

Here are the reasons why PhenQ is a cheaper and safer alternative to Ozempic:

PhenQ is a natural weight loss supplement containing plant extracts and vitamins, whereas Ozempic is an injectable prescription drug. This makes PhenQ a safer option with fewer potential side effects.

PhenQ men and women

PhenQ costs around £45 to £65 for a one-month supply, which is significantly less expensive than Ozempic that costs over £100 per week, making PhenQ a much more affordable option.

PhenQ can be used long-term without developing a tolerance, whereas some patients lose response to Ozempic over time and require higher dose increases. This makes PhenQ a more sustainable option.

Weight loss from PhenQ is more likely to be permanent since it promotes lifestyle changes like eating less and moving more. In contrast, Ozempic just suppresses appetite through medication so weight regain is common after stopping.

PhenQ targets weight loss through multiple mechanisms, not just appetite suppression. This holistic approach may lead to better overall results. In contrast, Ozempic only works by suppressing hunger.

PhenQ does not require a prescription and is easily accessible over the counter. In contrast, Ozempic requires a prescription and medical oversight.

In summary, PhenQ offers a natural, cheaper and safer alternative to Ozempic that still promotes weight loss through appetite suppression and other mechanisms. The lifestyle changes encouraged by PhenQ also make permanent weight loss and maintenance more achievable compared to Ozempic.

Ozempic Cost

Here are the costs of Ozempic with and without insurance in the USA and UK:

USA Cost and How to Get:

  • With insurance, the cost of Ozempic in the USA will depend on your insurance plan and pharmacy benefits. On average, patients pay around $25-$50 per month for Ozempic, though some may pay less or more depending on their copay or coinsurance amount.
  • Without insurance, the estimated cash price for Ozempic at a pharmacy in the USA ranges from $400-$1600 per month, depending on the dosage. The full 1.7 mg dose can cost over $1600 for a month’s supply.

In the USA, Ozempic is available by prescription from most pharmacies. You’ll need a prescription from your doctor to get Ozempic.

UK Cost and How to Get:

  • Through the NHS, Ozempic in the UK is available for free on prescription for those being treated for type 2 diabetes. This includes both the 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg doses.
  • For those using Ozempic for weight loss through the NHS, the cost is £91.20 for 4 prefilled pens (enough for 1 month at the 0.25mg starter dose). Higher doses would cost more.
  • Through private prescription in the UK, the cost of Ozempic tends to be higher:
  • One 0.25mg prefilled pen costs around £80-90.
  • One 0.5mg prefilled pen costs around £90-100.
  • One 1mg prefilled pen costs around £100-120.

In the UK, you’ll need a prescription from your general practitioner or specialist to access Ozempic, whether through the NHS or privately.

Insurance can bring the cost of Ozempic down significantly in the USA while the NHS provides somewhat more affordable access in the UK – especially for diabetes treatment. But out-of-pocket costs remain exorbitantly high without coverage, placing Ozempic out of reach for most consumers.

Possible Side Effects

The main potential side effects of Ozempic (semaglutide) include:

  • Nausea – This is the most common side effect, occurring in up to 30-40% of patients. Nausea often improves over time as the body adjusts to Ozempic.
  • Vomiting – Around 10-20% of patients experience vomiting. This side effect is also more common in the initial weeks of treatment and tends to improve.
  • Diarrhea – Diarrhea occurs in approximately 10-15% of patients taking Ozempic. It is usually mild and self-limiting.
  • Abdominal pain – Up to 10% of patients may experience abdominal discomfort, pain or cramps while using Ozempic.
  • Constipation – Constipation occurs in around 5-10% of patients, particularly at higher doses.
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – If Ozempic is used with other diabetes medications that lower blood sugar, there is a risk of hypoglycemia. This usually only occurs in diabetic patients.
  • Pancreatitis – Inflammation of the pancreas is a rare but potentially serious side effect occurring in less than 1% of patients. It requires immediate medical attention.
  • Gallbladder disease – Ozempic may increase the risk of gallstones and gallbladder disease. Patients should monitor for related symptoms.

Most of these side effects tend to be mild to moderate in severity. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are the most common issues, especially in the initial weeks of treatment. However, if side effects persist or become severe, patients should speak with their doctor who may adjust the dose or stop Ozempic temporarily.

Overall, while many patients tolerate Ozempic well over the long term, it’s important to monitor for side effects when first starting the medication and throughout treatment.

Weight Loss Results

Here are the expected weight loss results people can achieve while taking Ozempic:

On average, patients lose between 8% to 15% of their body weight while taking Ozempic. This amounts to an average loss of 9 to 16 kilograms (20 to 35 pounds).

Weight loss tends to be fastest in the first few months of treatment, then levels off somewhat and becomes more gradual over time.

Most of the weight loss occurs within the first year of using Ozempic. After that, weight tends to plateau, though some patients continue to lose weight at a slower pace for longer.

Higher doses of Ozempic generally result in greater weight loss. The maximum approved dose of 1.7 mg per week yields the most significant weight loss results for most patients.

Weight loss results vary significantly from person to person based on factors like starting weight, diet, exercise habits and individual response to the medication. Some patients lose less weight than average while others lose more.

For many patients, the appetite suppressing effects of Ozempic combined with a reduction in calorie intake account for most of the initial weight loss. As the body adjusts, these effects tend to lessen over time.

To continue losing weight beyond the first 6 to 12 months on Ozempic, patients usually need to make dietary and lifestyle changes in addition to the medication. Ongoing weight loss requires a calorie deficit.

Weight regain is common once patients stop taking Ozempic. Much of the weight lost during treatment tends to return within months without Ozempic and a healthy lifestyle to maintain the weight loss.

Who Has Lost Weight Using Ozempic

Here are some famous weight loss success stories and experiences with Ozempic from the UK and USA:

James Corden (UK) – The talk show host lost around 35 kg (80 lbs) with Ozempic. He said the injection helped curb his appetite and cravings. However, he experienced side effects like nausea and had to follow a strict routine to maintain the weight loss.

Dawn French (UK) – The actress credits Ozempic for her 19 kg (42 lbs) weight loss. She said the medication reduced her hunger and snacking impulses. There is no indication she stopped using Ozempic.

Gemma Collins (UK) – The TOWIE star lost over 20 kg (45 lbs) with Ozempic, which she said made weight loss “effortless.” She experienced nausea as a side effect initially but it diminished over time. There are no reports that she stopped using Ozempic.

Amy Schumer (USA) – The comedian lost around 20 kg (45lbs) while using Ozempic. She faced harsh side effects like nausea and vomiting initially. There is no information on whether she continues to use Ozempic.

Melissa Etheridge (USA) – The singer lost over 27 kg (60 lbs) with Ozempic’s help. She credits the medication with providing an “extra push” for her lifestyle changes. There are no reports that she stopped using Ozempic.

Kim Kardashian (USA) – The reality star is rumored to use Ozempic but has not confirmed it. Reports claim she uses the medication to maintain her weight loss.

While these celebrities achieved significant weight loss results with Ozempic’s help, most faced some degree of side effects – particularly nausea – at least initially. There is little information on whether they have continued using Ozempic long term.

Ozempic Summary

Here is a summary of the key points about Ozempic:

  • Ozempic (semaglutide) is an injectable drug originally approved for type 2 diabetes but increasingly used off-label for weight loss.
  • It works by mimicking a hormone that curbs appetite and controls blood sugar. This helps users lose weight by eating less and reducing calorie intake.
  • On average, patients lose between 8% to 15% of their body weight while taking Ozempic, amounting to 9 to 16 kilograms. Higher doses yield greater weight loss.
  • The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which tend to improve over time. More serious but rare side effects like pancreatitis have also been reported.
  • Ozempic is extremely expensive, costing over £100/$150 per week at higher doses. Insurance can lower costs significantly.
  • While many celebrity users achieved impressive initial weight loss on Ozempic, most faced some side effects and had to maintain strict routines. There is little info on long-term use.
  • Experts warn that weight loss drugs alone cannot replace comprehensive lifestyle changes for maintaining weight loss permanently.
  • Once patients stop Ozempic, weight usually returns due to unaddressed behavioral factors. Lifestyle changes are key to sustaining results long term.
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about the author

Alex Haley is a specialist in bio-information and operations. Alex has an interest in the field of genetics, with a focus on genome sequencing. When not working, Alex enjoys reading about scientific developments that may be relevant to her work or studies. When she's at home, she spends time with her family and friends. She also likes to read books about science fiction and fantasy worlds where anything is possible!