How to get Ozempic for weight loss

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

Reviewed by Yael Cooperman, MD, Ro, 

Written by Amelia Willson 

last updated: Jul 26, 2023

7 min read

Ozempic, one of a class of medications that can be used to treat diabetes and help with weight loss, is available by prescription only from a licensed medical professional. If you’ve been trying to lose weight, but diet and exercise alone aren’t enough, your health provider may recommend a medication like Ozempic. 

Wondering if you might be eligible for this medication and how the process works? Read on. We explain what you need to know about getting Ozempic.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a once-weekly injectable medication that is FDA-approved to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar levels, and, in people who have both type 2 diabetes and heart disease, reduce the risk of a cardiovascular event like heart attack or stroke. Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, has also been shown to stimulate weight loss. In addition to the FDA-approved indications for using the medication, healthcare providers may prescribe Ozempic off-label to help patients who have been struggling to lose weight to do so and keep it off. 

In fact, Novo Nordisk, the makers of Ozempic, sells another medication that contains a higher dosage of the same active ingredient––semaglutide––and was developed specifically for weight management in people with obesity and overweight. It goes by the brand name Wegovy and also requires a prescription. 

Ozempic Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Wegovy Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Weight loss

Get access to GLP-1 medication (if prescribed) and 1:1 support to meet your weight goals

How much weight do people lose on Ozempic?

People without diabetes may lose around 8% to 12% of their body weight in one year when taking 1 mg or 2 mg weekly doses of semaglutide, a common dosage for Ozempic. Those numbers may not hold true for everyone, though: research has found that people with type 2 diabetes tend to experience less weight loss on GLP-1 medications like Ozempic than those who don’t have diabetes. 

Still, these medications do produce significantly more weight loss than diet and exercise alone. In one study comparing semaglutide vs. a placebo, those who took the placebo lost less than 4% of their body weight during a longer time period. Whether you are taking Ozempic to manage type 2 diabetes, weight, or both, it is important to remember that the medication is most effective when combined with lifestyle changes like diet and exercise.

Ozempic is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) of the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm on a weekly basis. Each Ozempic pen contains several doses of the medication, so you’ll need to keep it refrigerated or at room temperature between uses (Ozempic should always be refrigerated before its first use). When you first start taking Ozempic, your health provider will slowly titrate your dose over several weeks, to help your body get used to the medication and to minimize side effects. The starting dose of Ozempic is 0.25 mg weekly. It can take 12–16 weeks to reach your maintenance dose of 1 mg or 2 mg.

During those initial months of taking the medication, you may be more likely to experience Ozempic’s side effects, which can include:

Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are the most common side effects of Ozempic. They are more common at the beginning, but tend to go away with time as your body gets used to the medication.

How to get Ozempic for weight loss

Ozempic is a prescription medication, so you’ll need to meet with a licensed healthcare professional, either online or in-person, in order to get Ozempic for weight loss. 

How to get Ozempic from your doctor

Start your appointment by sharing your symptoms, personal and family medical history, and a list of all the medications and supplements you are currently taking. Tell your provider about your experience trying to lose weight through diet, exercise, or other interventions. Understanding how your body has responded to weight loss efforts can help your provider determine whether Ozempic is a good treatment option for you, or if another medication or weight loss approach could be more effective.

Your health provider will also want to know your full medical history and any medications you’re taking. This helps them determine if Ozempic is a safe option for you, and prevent potential interactions you could experience while taking Ozempic. Ozempic should not be used by people who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, or those with certain medical conditions, including pancreatitis, a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, or those with multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). 

Also, Ozempic slows down digestion, which can affect the absorption of any oral medications you are taking. Your doctor may adjust your dosage or the dosage of any medications or supplements you are taking or recommend an alternative. They could also suggest a different weight loss medication altogether. People who use insulin, for instance, will likely need to adjust their dosage of insulin in order to avoid experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) while using Ozempic.

Your healthcare provider may order tests before prescribing Ozempic. If they choose to prescribe Ozempic for weight loss, they will be doing so off-label. When a health provider prescribes a medication off-label, the process is the same as any other medication (the key difference is in insurance coverage, which we’ll review in a bit). Off-label prescribing simply enables physicians to make their most informed decision on what will be the best medication for their patient, even if it’s beyond the scope of the FDA’s current approvals. 

Once you have your prescription, you can fill it at your local pharmacy or through an online pharmacy. 

How to get Ozempic online

Alternatively, you can use an online weight loss program like Ro Body. This comprehensive program includes a personalized treatment plan (with a prescription for a GLP-1 medication like Ozempic), a one-on-one dedicated health coach, ongoing support and resources for weight loss.

It all starts with an online appointment with a licensed health provider. After reviewing your medical history, your healthcare provider will order a metabolic lab test for you to complete. Based on your results, your healthcare provider will recommend and prescribe a medication for you. Then, Ro’s insurance concierge will work with your insurance to help get the cost of your GLP-1 medication covered if prescribed.

Once you have your prescription, you can fill it at your local pharmacy or through an online pharmacy. 

How to get insurance coverage for Ozempic

Insurance plans are generally more likely to cover medications for their FDA-approved condition. In other words, your plan may be more likely to cover Ozempic if it’s being prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes, but not obesity. 

To check if your plan includes prescription drug coverage for Ozempic, review your policy online or read over the paper copy you received in the mail. You can also call your insurance company directly to see if Ozempic is covered. 

Even if your plan covers Ozempic for type 2 diabetes, using it for weight loss is considered off-label and will require prior authorization. Your healthcare provider can submit a form requesting coverage on your behalf, but coverage is not guaranteed. Your health insurance plan may require you to meet the same eligibility criteria that are used to qualify people for GLP-1 medications that are FDA-approved specifically for weight loss, like Wegovy. These medications are FDA-approved to treat people with:

You may need to fall into one of these categories before your plan will approve coverage for Ozempic. If you are prescribed Ozempic through the Ro Body Program, Ro’s insurance concierge will verify your benefits and work with your insurer to get Ozempic covered for weight loss. The process typically takes 2–3 weeks.

How much is Ozempic without insurance? 

Without insurance, a one-month supply of Ozempic costs $935.77, on average. However, the price of Ozempic can vary from pharmacy to pharmacy. To save on Ozempic, try calling several local pharmacies to see which offers the lowest price. You may also want to ask about how much a longer two- or three-month supply costs. Sometimes larger refills can be more cost-effective.

If your insurance provider offers coverage for Ozempic, the price you’ll pay for your prescription will be lower. However, if you have insurance, but your plan doesn’t cover Ozempic, you still may be able to save. The Ozempic Savings Card can bring the cost of Ozempic down to as little as $25 per refill. To be eligible, you must have private or commercial insurance and be a U.S. citizen with a valid prescription for Ozempic.

Novo Nordisk also manages a Patient Assistant Program, or PAP, for people who have trouble affording their Ozempic prescription. The PAP provides Ozempic for free to people who have a total household income at or below 400% of the federal poverty level. You can have Medicare coverage, but you must not have any other insurance coverage either through a private, federal, state, or government program, including Medicaid or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.

Weight loss

Fad diets stop here

If appropriate, get effective weight loss treatment prescribed for your body.

Fad diets stop here
Fad diets stop here

Ozempic alternatives

Ozempic is one of several GLP-1 medications that may be prescribed for type 2 diabetes or weight loss. If your insurance plan doesn’t cover Ozempic, ask your healthcare provider if one of these Ozempic alternatives could be a safe and effective option for you instead.

  • Wegovy (semaglutide) contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic, semaglutide. However, it is available in a higher 2.4 mg dosage and is FDA-approved specifically for weight loss. People using Wegovy tend to lose more weight than those on Ozempic — 27.5 pounds vs. 8.2 pounds in one year, for example. However, side effects are also more common with Wegovy, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

  • Saxenda (liraglutide) is another GLP-1 medication FDA-approved specifically for weight loss. People taking the highest dosage of Saxenda lose more weight than those on Ozempic, around 11.5 pounds per year, but less than those taking Wegovy. Saxenda produces similar gastrointestinal side effects to Ozempic. One big difference between Saxenda and Ozempic is that Saxenda is injected daily

  • Rybelsus (semaglutide) contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic, semaglutide, and is also FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. But, it is an oral medication that you take once a day in the morning instead of a weekly injection. In one study, people taking the highest dosage of Rybelsus lost nearly 10 pounds within six months.

  • Trulicity (dulaglutide) is FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes, but may also lead to weight loss. Like Ozempic, Trulicity may also be prescribed to reduce cardiovascular risk in people who also have heart disease. In one study of people with type 2 diabetes, individuals lost between 8.8–10.3 pounds in about 9 months on the higher doses of Trulicity. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea are common side effects.

  • Mounjaro (tirzepatide) is unique among GLP-1 medications in that it also mimics GIP, another gut hormone like GLP-1. This dual-agonist ability may make it more effective at both weight loss and blood sugar control. On its highest 15 mg dosage, Mounjaro has been shown to produce upwards of 20% of weight loss within a year and a half, the most of any GLP-1 medication currently available. Mounjaro side effects are similar to Ozempic, with nausea and diarrhea being the most common. Currently, Mounjaro is only FDA-approved for type 2 diabetes, but the drug is currently being fast-tracked by the FDA for weight loss. Once clinical trials are complete, the medication may be available for weight loss as well. 

If you are struggling to lose weight, talk to a healthcare provider. They can help you determine whether Ozempic or a similar medication could be a good fit for you.

Saxenda Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

Mounjaro Important Safety Information: Read more about serious warnings and safety info.

DISCLAIMER

If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. The articles on Health Guide are underpinned by peer-reviewed research and information drawn from medical societies and governmental agencies. However, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


How we reviewed this article

Every article on Health Guide goes through rigorous fact-checking by our team of medical reviewers. Our reviewers are trained medical professionals who ensure each article contains the most up-to-date information, and that medical details have been correctly interpreted by the writer.

Current version

July 26, 2023

Written by

Amelia Willson

Fact checked by

Yael Cooperman, MD


About the medical reviewer

Yael Cooperman is a physician and works as a Senior Manager, Medical Content & Education at Ro.

Stay in touch on your weight loss journey

Sign up for news, updates, promotions and more.

By sharing your email, you acknowledge that your email will be used consistent with our privacy policy and terms of use including for marketing purposes.

    get video check ups with qualified medical advisors to review your progress on the Body Program

    $99 to get started, $145/mo for ongoing care

    What's included?

    Provider consultation

    GLP-1 prescription (if appropriate)

    Insurance concierge

    Ongoing care & support

    Tools to track progress

    Start now – $99

    Please note: The cost of medication and lab testing is not included in the Body Program

    Learn more about pricing

    Medication is prescribed only if appropriate.

    Get access to weight loss medications, if prescribed.

    Start now
    0