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Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people worldwide.
Given that the treatment options for type 2 diabetes appear to be suboptimal, many people have switched to a new medication called Ozempic.
The FDA has approved the novel anti-diabetes pharmaceutical, proving to be a better option for patients suffering from the disease.
Surprisingly, Ozempic has been discovered to have another use, as it helps people with and without diabetes to lose weight.
Here’s everything you need to know about Ozempic for weight loss.
The 8 Most Important Facts About Ozempic for Weight Loss
The FDA has approved Ozempic as a medication for weight loss.
Moving forward, we can take Ozempic with a healthy diet and increased physical activity to lose weight more efficiently.
What Is Ozempic?
GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) is a peptide hormone primarily produced and secreted in the intestine and by specific neurons in the central nervous system.
GLP-1 secretion is only stimulated in response to food consumption. After eating, GLP-1 exerts its effects by increasing insulin release and lowering blood sugar levels.
Ozempic as a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist
Ozempic belongs to the GLP-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) class of medications as it “mimics” the actions of the body’s GLP-1 hormone to stimulate insulin release.
Therefore, Ozempic was initially used as an injectable medication to help control blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
However, scientists have discovered another use of Ozempic, as this peptide drug can induce weight loss at a different dose.
Since the discovery of its new use, Ozempic has been used to help with weight loss.
Ozempic for weight loss is considered a long-acting option since it stays in the body longer than other medications of the same class.
How Does Ozempic Work for Weight Loss?
According to research, GLP-1 reduces the rate at which your stomach empties food after a meal. This process is called “gastric emptying.” Gastric emptying is the process in which the food in the stomach is moved into the intestine.
The longer gastric emptying takes place, the more time food remains in the stomach, making you stay satiated. As a result, treatment mimicking GLP-1 lowers hunger and appetite and enhances fullness, resulting in reduced food consumption and weight loss.
Ozempic Delays Gastric Emptying
GLP-1RA treatment, such as Ozempic, can delay gastric emptying within the first hour after a meal. Because of the delay in stomach activity, food remains in your stomach for longer, and satiety lasts longer.
Ozempic Reduces Hunger and Appetite
Ozempic and other GLP-1RAs have effects that extend beyond the stomach. They enter and intervene in specific brain areas involved in hunger and appetite regulation.
Specifically, GLP-1 receptors are found in the hypothalamus, which regulates food intake in the central nervous system. The effect of Ozempic was linked to increased connectivity between the solitary tract nucleus and the hypothalamus.
Therefore, administering a GLP-1RA like Ozempic reduced feelings of hunger and appetite in obese individuals.
Ozempic Increases Satiety and Prevents Overeating
As a neurotransmitter signaling satiety in the brain, GLP-1 is a physiological factor affecting satiety. In other words, GLP-1 tells us when we’ve had enough food and are satisfied.
Furthermore, GLP-1 may increase satiety by stimulating specific neurons and inhibiting the neuropeptides that control this feeling.
Ozempic Dosing for Weight Loss
The FDA approved Ozempic 2.4 mg for weight loss in June 2021 (referred to as Wegovy as the trade name) for obese or overweight adults with at least one weight-related condition, such as type 2 diabetes. Since 2014, this subcutaneous injection has been the first FDA-approved drug for chronic weight management.
Ozempic dosing for weight loss must be increased gradually over 16 to 20 weeks to 2.4 mg once weekly to minimize gastrointestinal side effects, including nausea and vomiting.
So who should be prescribed Ozempic for weight management?
According to the FDA, individuals with a BMI of 27 kg/m2 or above who have at least one weight-related disease or those with a BMI of 30 kg/m2 or greater might be prescribed Ozempic 2.4 mg once weekly for weight loss.
Remember that any weight loss pharmaceutical product only plays a supporting role in weight management. Ozempic for weight loss should be combined with a low-calorie diet and increased physical activity.
Average Weight Loss on Ozempic
15.3 kg after 68 weeks! Can you believe that?
A 68-week study involving nearly 2000 overweight or obese adults was conducted to prove Ozempic’s effectiveness.
The results showed that those using 2.4 mg of once-weekly semaglutide (Ozempic) lost 14.9 percent of their body weight on average compared to 2.4 percent in individuals on placebo.
The semaglutide group was also more likely than the placebo group to lose at least 5 percent of their body weight. Furthermore, compared to the placebo group, the semaglutide group experienced a more remarkable change in body weight from baseline to week 68 – 15.3 kg versus 2.6 kg.
Other Benefits of Ozempic
Ozempic, in addition to its benefits for blood sugar control and weight loss, can also reduce waist circumference and improve cardiovascular health.
Ozempic was linked to a significant reduction in waist circumference (up to -13.54 cm) and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. As a result, obese people with cardiovascular risk factors may find Ozempic a better option than other weight loss medications.
How Long Can You Take Ozempic for Weight Loss?
Ozempic can be used for as long as it facilitates weight loss or maintenance and does not cause significant side effects.
Ozempic’s safety and efficacy were studied in four 68-week trials, according to the FDA. Ozempic should thus be safe to use for up to 68 weeks.
By week 10 of being on a therapeutic dose, Ozempic may help patients lose at least 5 percent of the starting weight.
Ozempic Safety and Side Effects for Weight Loss
Ozempic for weight loss is generally safe and effective if used as indicated.
Ozempic for weight loss may not be suitable for all individuals, as discussed below.
According to the FDA, people with a family history of medullary thyroid cancer or patients with a rare disorder called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 syndrome should not use Ozempic. Furthermore, people allergic to semaglutide or other ingredients should also avoid using Ozempic.
Ozempic for weight loss is injected under the abdominal skin, thigh, or upper arm.
Ozempic must not be injected into a muscle or vein because the body will absorb it too quickly, reducing the effective duration and causing pain at the injection site. In addition, injection sites must be rotated with each injection.
Ozempic Side Effects
According to a study, the most prevalent side effects of Ozempic 2.4 mg were:
- Stomach discomfort
However, the side effects were usually transient and improved over time.
Things to Avoid While on Ozempic
If you enjoy a drink or two of alcoholic beverages after a meal to make you feel like your food is going down smoothly, think again if you’re also taking Ozempic.
Remember to limit alcohol while taking Ozempic since alcohol can affect your blood sugar if combined with Ozempic. Alcohol can also irritate your stomach, potentially exacerbating the medication’s gastrointestinal side effects.
Certain Oral Medications
If you’re taking any other oral medications, be cautious.
Since Ozempic delays gastric emptying, it can affect the amount of oral medicine your body absorbs. Therefore, before starting Ozempic, ensure your doctor knows of any other drugs you’re taking.
Lastly, it would be best if you didn’t use Ozempic with other semaglutide-containing weight-loss medications, such as prescription medications, nonprescription medications, or herbal products.
Ozempic for weight loss can add to traditional weight loss approaches such as diet and exercise. So if you’re looking to lose weight fast and sustainably, try Ozempic and see how much this new medication changes your weight loss journey.
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