Ozempic for Weight-loss
Ozempic® for Weight Loss
By Charissa Lau
A little history…
Ozempic® was created by pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk. It is a class of medication called “glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists” also known by its generic name, “semaglutide”. Ozempic® is injected once every week into the subcutaneous layers of the skin (abdomen, thigh, buttocks). Since 2017, Ozempic® has been approved in several countries for people with type 2 diabetes. While Ozempic® hasn’t been approved for weight- loss, another type of semaglutide has been FDA approved for weight loss (Wegovy). They are essentially the same; both are semaglutide which works the same way in the body but are packaged with different dosages.
Ozempic® for Diabetes and Weight-loss
Ozempic® works by decreasing blood sugar levels - which helps many diabetics long term with blood sugar control and also serves with aiding in their weight management. This is done through blocking the secretion of something called “glucagon” from the pancreas. Glucagon, a hormone, is what causes the body to release more blood sugar. At the same time, the pancreas is also being stimulated to produce insulin by something called GLP-1 (Glucagon Like Peptide-1) which also helps in keeping down the blood sugar levels in the blood. This hormone is usually produced once there is food in the stomach. GLP-1 signals to the brain that the body isn’t in a state of starvation so it tells you you’re not hungry.
Another way that Ozempic® works is that it reduces your appetite and by slowing down the movement of food in the intestines. Clinically, Ozempic® has been shown to lower energy intake by reducing appetite and food cravings as this drug copies GLP-1. GLP-1 tells the brain to not release any blood sugar and to be ready to use insulin. There is evidence that Ozempic® improves controlling eating habits and meal portion size management. Furthermore, Ozempic® usage can also result in lowering individual preferences for fatty, highly palatable and/or calorie dense foods.
Along with changes in caloric intake and exercise, patients can expect to lose at least 5% of their weight and even more if lifestyle changes are maintained. As an added note, a 10-15% decrease is recommended to people with many complications of obesity such as high blood pressure, sleep apnea and signs of prediabetes. Obesity patients suffer from a hormonal imbalance which is why Ozempic® is an effective treatment for weight management through its work as a GLP-1 receptor agonist.
What side effects might patients experience? The most common side effects are nausea, and gastrointestinal side effects - body will have to adapt as you take a low dose and slowly work your way up. Usually, long term side effects are not likely to last if you start at a low dose.
Our doctor suggests that you are ready for Ozempic® if you are committed to starting this weight loss journey with thinking of the end in mind. It is highly suggested that you adopt or continue habits such as being calorie conscious, realistic goal-setting, engaging in regular weekly exercise for at least 3 times a week and thinking about weight-loss as a long term commitment. change in how you think and behave. With your daily habits, you are able to maintain your weight loss which is is a huge part of the journey. To find out more and to start your weight loss journey, book a consultation with Dr. Scudamore today!
Resources for further reading
- Joshua, K. (2017) Expected Weight Loss on Ozempic: Recent results from clinical studies and safe weight loss expectations.
- Kanagaraj, M. (2018). Weight loss medications for patients: A review. Bariatric Times, 15(4), 6-10.
- Galloway, M. (Host). (2023, January 15). Use of Ozempic to treat obesity prompts both excitement and concern. In The Current. CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/player/play/2162013251921
- American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. (2022). Semaglutide injection.