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What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a type 2 diabetes medication that is approved to assist in blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Ozempic contains semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 agonist (GLP-1 agonist). Semaglutide is not approved for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. Typically, Ozempic is not the first line of defense in type 2 diabetes treatment but is used as an additional medication alongside other oral diabetes drugs. Ozempic is an injectable medication that is self-administered once a week. Along with blood sugar regulation, Ozempic may also aid in weight loss.

How does Ozempic work? 

Ozempic functions as a GLP-1 agonist, but how does Ozempic work? GLP-1 agonists mimic a hormone called incretin, which is an essential substance that secretes into the body after you eat or drink. Semaglutide binds to GLP-1 receptors and encourages insulin release from the pancreas. Along with this function, GLP-1 agonists also reduce the amount of sugar released by the liver. Semaglutide keeps food in the stomach longer, prolonging a feeling of fullness and reducing appetite. These functions together help prevent blood sugar spikes and keep patients feeling fuller longer.

Taking Ozempic for Weight Loss 

Ozempic is approved as an addition to a type 2 diabetes treatment plan, but it can also be used off-label for weight management. Ozempic is not approved by the FDA for weight loss, and your doctor will determine if you can use it for weight loss. If you are prescribed Ozempic solely for type 2 diabetes, it is essential to follow your dosage and treatment plan. Increasing your dosage to increase your weight loss without your doctor’s permission may cause complications. To prevent side effects, ensure that your doctor approves Ozempic for weight loss.

In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers enrolled 1961 participants to complete a 68-week study. All participants were classified as obese and were administered 2.4 mg once-weekly semaglutide. At the end of the study, the mean body weight change among participants was a decrease of 14.9%. Researchers determined that semaglutide paired with healthy lifestyle changes can be effective in weight loss. [1]

Ozempic Dosing 

There are several different dosages of Ozempic available to work for different treatment plans. Generally, your doctor will prescribe a smaller dose to start to prevent side effects like vomiting and nausea. When you slowly increase your Ozempic prescription, your body has time to adjust. Common dosages include:

  • O.25 mg
  • 0.5 mg
  • 1 mg
  • 2 mg

Ozempic 1mg pen

When you start taking Ozempic, you will likely start on once-weekly 0.25 mg injections for the first four weeks of treatment. After the first few weeks, you will be increased to 0.5 mg, but if you need additional blood sugar control, you may be prescribed the 1 mg Ozempic pen. 

Ozempic 2 mg dose for weight loss

Ozempic 2 mg is the highest dose of semaglutide available, meaning that it is not recommended to take more than 2 mg per week. With your doctor’s approval, higher doses of Ozempic may be used to increase weight loss. A greater concentration of semaglutide in the body can lead to improved A1C levels and weight loss.

Ozempic is an effective type 2 diabetes medication, but it can come with a hefty price tag. The retail price of this medication can exceed several thousand dollars per year. The high price of semaglutide may make it unavailable to many patients, but you can save up to 90% on your prescriptions through an online pharmacy like RxConnected. 

Why is Ozempic so expensive in the US? 

Almost every pharmaceutical drug is more expensive in the United States, and Ozempic is no exception. Even with online coupons, you can expect to spend over $2500 per year buying Ozempic through your local pharmacy. Ozempic is so expensive because there is currently no generic version available. Its manufacturer has exclusive rights to the sale and production of Ozempic, so they can charge high prices for this in-demand drug. Unlike other countries, pharmaceutical companies dictate the prices of medications instead of national governing bodies.

How much does Ozempic cost in Canada? 

The Canadian government determines how much drugs cost for its citizens, so you can find Ozempic at much lower prices through an online Canadian pharmacy. The Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) of Canada regulates drug prices and tries to keep prices low. Drug prices in the United States only drop when a drug’s patent expires, and generic options are produced. Because Ozempic’s patent is still in effect, no low-cost options are available. Through RxConnected, you can take advantage of lower prices and find affordable brand name Ozempic.

Is there generic Ozempic?

There is currently no generic alternative to Ozempic because its manufacturer has an active patent on the drug. This means that no other pharmaceutical company can produce generic versions until the patent expires. For generic approval, a drug has to be bioequivalent to the brand name, meaning it functions the same way in the body and provides the same benefits.

Is generic Ozempic available in the US? 

Generic Ozempic is not available anywhere, including in the United States. Ozempic’s patent through Novo Nordisk is set to expire in 2031, so you may be waiting several years for generic Ozempic to hit the market.  Patents often receive extensions, so it may be even later than 2031. Until a generic version is available, ordering Ozempic through an online pharmacy is the best money-saving alternative.

Ozempic from Canada 

Because Ozempic costs so much in the United States, many patients are looking over the northern border to save money on this effective type 2 diabetes and weight loss drug. Buying Ozempic through RxConnected is simple, especially because your medication ships directly to your door. For a flat rate, you can expect your medications within 8-14 business days – you’ll never have to wait in line at your local pharmacy again.

Ozempic Side Effects and Interactions

Ozempic may cause some mild and severe side effects. Your doctor will determine your risk for side effects depending on your medical history and other medications you take. Your body may exhibit common Ozempic side effects in the first few months of treatment. These side effects may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Nausea

If these side effects persist for long periods, tell your physician right away to prevent more severe complications. Severe side effects of semaglutide are rare, but it is essential to be aware. Ozempic may be used for long periods, so prolonged use may increase the risk of pancreatitis, thyroid cancer, diabetic retinopathy, gallbladder disease, and kidney problems. You may be ineligible to take Ozempic if any of the following apply to you:

  • A history of pancreas or kidney problems
  • A history of diabetic retinopathy
  • You plan to become pregnant, or you are breastfeeding
  • A personal or family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2) or medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)

Ozempic Interactions 

Hypoglycemia is one of the reported complications of Ozempic, so it is essential to avoid other medications that may increase the risk of low blood sugar. Other type 2 diabetes drugs that encourage increased insulin output can cause low blood sugar when mixed with Ozempic. If you take other type 2 diabetes drugs, make sure you tell your doctor before beginning Ozempic. Certain herbs like white mulberry, prickly pear cactus, bitter melon, and gymnema may also increase your risk of low blood sugar.

Ozempic patients may have to watch their alcohol intake to reduce spiking blood sugar levels. Alcohol can raise or lower your glucose levels, causing Ozempic to work less effectively and increasing the risk of hypoglycemia. If you consume alcohol regularly, talk to your doctor about what amount is safe for you.

FAQs

How can I get Ozempic for free? 

You cannot get Ozempic for free, but you can save thousands of dollars per year on Ozempic if you purchase semaglutide through an online Canadian pharmacy. It will not be free, but the savings will feel just as good! If you do find free Ozempic on an online pharmacy, do not purchase it because it is likely a scam, and you can seriously injure yourself if you consume unregulated medications.

Where can you administer Ozempic injections? 

The best places to inject semaglutide are in areas with an adequate amount of fat and skin, such as the front of the thighs, the abdomen, or the upper arm. Ozempic is injected in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, so it is much less painful than intramuscular injections. You should change up your injection site every week to prevent bruising or soreness. 

How does Ozempic work? 

Ozempic functions as a GLP-1 agonist in the body. By mimicking essential hormones that assist in insulin release, semaglutide increases the output of insulin from the pancreas and lowers the amount of sugar released from the liver. These functions regulate blood sugar levels for type 2 diabetes patients and reduce appetite, aiding in weight management.

What is Ozempic used for?

Ozempic is FDA-approved to regulate blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes patients and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. With a doctor’s approval, a doctor can also prescribe Ozempic off-label to help with weight loss.

How should you store Ozempic?

It is important to keep Ozempic pens refrigerated anywhere from 36 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit. After first use, an Ozempic pen can be kept at room temperature. Once opened, Ozempic pens are usable for 56 days, then they are considered expired. Dispose of used and empty Ozempic pens in a plastic sharps container.

How long can you stay on Ozempic?

Currently, Ozempic is approved for long-term use, but it is important to check in with your physician regularly. If you plan to become pregnant, you should stop using Ozempic at least two months before trying to conceive.

How many doses are in an Ozempic pen? 

Every pen of Ozempic contains 4 mg of semaglutide. If you are prescribed 1 mg per week, a 4 mg pen will provide four doses, a 2 mg dosage will provide two doses and so on. Your doctor will let you know how long a pen should last for your treatment plan.

References

  1. New England Journal of Medicine New England Journal of Medicine

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