Weight loss can be a daunting task, and sometimes we need a little extra help. With over 650 million obese adults in the world as of 2023, many are looking for ways to combat “diabesity.” People are raving about the new weight loss injection shots to shed their surplus weight. The most popular brands making headlines are Wegovy and Ozempic.
- The popularity of these medicated weight loss injections has caused a shortage.
- Many experience weights regain due to the shortage.
- Multiple Insurance carriers will not cover Wegovy and Ozempic.
This article will dive into everything you need to know about this medicated weight loss method. Patients share their experiences while taking Ozempic and Wegovy. We will also cover how they work, how to take them, their side effects, their cost, and more.
What are Wegovy and Ozempic?
Wegovy® and Ozempic® both have splashed across news channels due to their effectiveness in dropping extra pounds. These anti-obesity medications come in an injection pen, similar to EpiPen. The pen contains fullness hormones that add to the naturally occurring ones created when food goes through the intestine. These hormones travel to the brain and say you are full. So you feel complete with less food.
The obesity pharmacotherapies are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which means it acts on receptors in the brain by suppressing one’s appetite and helping people feel full.
Ozempic and Wegovy have the same ingredients and are categorized as semaglutide injections. Ozempic is FDA-approved as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. It is marketed as an antidiabetic medication that helps lower A1C and reduces cardiovascular (CV) risk. Despite many people being prescribed the injection for losing weight, Ozempic’s website clearly states the injection “is not for weight loss.” On the contrary, Wegovy is FDA-approved and marketed as a weight loss medication containing semaglutide. The major difference between them is the amount of semaglutide in each pen.
Patients should start with low doses and go to higher doses as long as nausea is tolerable. These medications can lead to 5% to 17% weight loss at higher doses.
How Wegovy and Ozempic Work
Wegovy and Ozempic are injectable medications taken once a week to modulate blood sugar. The needle is injected into your stomach, thigh, or upper arm.
Wegovy and Ozempic work similarly by mimicking a hormone that signals the brain when a person is full. The drug lowers blood sugar levels after eating and hides feelings of hunger. It is important to note that it does not modify your hunger hormones or reset your metabolic system.
One missed dose of the fat loss injection will leave you gaining more weight and craving more food than before. It is used to treat chronic conditions, and the weekly medication must be taken forever for it to work. If a patient discontinues Wegovy or Ozempic, then rebound weight gain will occur.
The injections must be used in conjunction with increased physical activity and reduced calorie intake.
Side Effects of Wegovy and Ozempic
The most common side effects of Wegovy and Ozempic are pancreatitis, intestinal obstruction, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. Other side effects may include headache, dizziness, fatigue, gassiness, burping, constipation, and muscle or joint pain. There is a high probability that weight will be gained back unless there are significant lifestyle changes, and the issue of stopping the drugs is substantial.
The owners of Wegovy and Ozempic (Novo Nordisk) have faced multiple lawsuits after failing to inform the public that their weight loss injections cause thyroid cancer. Novo Nordisk, is also one of the largest makers of insulin.
Wegovy has a warning of a possible thyroid tumor and even cancer. If you feel a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath, check with your healthcare provider.
Rapid weight reduction had the unintended consequence of giving them “Ozempic face,” which made them look older by causing the facial skin to sag.
Recently gaining attention in the media. Hashtags #Ozempic and #Ozempicface have been viewed over 750 million times on Tiktok.
The phrase “Ozempic face” describes the intensified wrinkling or hollowing of the face that occurs as a result of weight loss in individuals taking the Ozempic drug. A loss of facial volume can give the face a skeletal appearance. Patients taking Ozempic had to spend thousands of dollars on facial fillers, Juvederm, Restylane, and Sculptra to combat the “Ozempic face” and recover the volume in their faces. Dermal fillers cost an average of $1,000 per syringe. Multiple syringes are needed in one office visit to see results.
Who created Wegovy and Ozempic?
Novo Nordisk, The billion-dollar pharma based in Denmark, owns Wegovy and Ozempic, along with most of the brands marketed for medicated weight loss. They have faced many lawsuits because they failed to warn the public of the elevated risk of thyroid cancer while taking their injections. One of their weight loss injections named, Saxenda, is labeled with a black-boxed warning (the FDA’s highest level warning.)
Cost of Wegovy and Ozempic
The cost of Wegovy and Ozempic can vary depending on your insurance coverage. Without insurance, Wegovy can cost around $1,753 for four auto-injector pens—which is a monthly supply- costing $438 per weekly dose. Ozempic can cost about $1,368 for one pen injector containing four doses- costing $342 per weekly dose.
Read more about: The Personal Cost of Obesity
Wegovy Insurance Coverage
– Does Medicare cover Wegovy?
Most Medicare plans (part D) do not cover Wegovy. Look for manufacturers and pharmacy coupons to help offset the cost.
– Does Medicaid cover Wegovy?
Some states, like California, will cover Wegovy with restrictions. As of March 2023, state Medicaid programs that do not currently cover Wegovy include Alabama, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Minnesota, Texas, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Kansas, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia.
– Does VA (veteran affairs) cover Wegovy?
The VA will cover Wegovy. However, you must meet their extensive criteria. This includes but is not limited to verifiable intervention in an extensive lifestyle intervention that emphasizes diet, exercise, and behavioral adjustments as the three main components of weight management. Patients must have a BMI of 40 or more. A BMI of 35 with weight-related conditions is accepted.
– Does Tricare cover Wegovy?
Yes, beneficiaries can cover it after an extensive review under certain circumstances. Although coverage is available, it is a non-preferred product, and Military facilities do not carry this product.
Ozempic Insurance Coverage
Insurance carriers will no longer cover Ozempic for metabolic syndrome if you do not have diabetes. Patients diagnosed with insulin resistance syndrome or syndrome X now have to pay $1,368 for a month’s supply of Ozempic.
Does Medicare cover Ozempic?
Yes, with a higher co-pay.
Does Medicaid cover Ozempic?
Yes, it is covered by Medicare part D plans.
Does VA (veteran affairs) cover Ozempic?
Yes, with strict limitations, the VA does cover Ozempic for patients with Type 2 diabetes.
Does Tricare cover Ozempic?
Yes, it can be covered for beneficiaries after an extensive coverage review under certain circumstances. Although coverage is available, it is a non-preferred product, and Military facilities do not carry this product.
There are other, more affordable programs available that do not require insurance coverage.
Henry’s meds is a telehealth platform. With their program, you can get Ozempic at a low dosage for $198 a month. The recommended dosage of Ozempic will be $298 a month through Henry Meds. Costing patients $3,576 for a year’s supply. However, patients using Henry’s Meds have experienced delays due to short supply.
How to get Wegovy and Ozempic Weight Loss Injections
Wegovy and Ozempic are prescription medications, so you will need to talk to your doctor to get them. Your doctor will assess your medical history and current health to decide whether Wegovy or Ozempic is the right treatment. If you qualify, your doctor will prescribe the medication, and you can fill it at your local pharmacy.
Candidates for Wegovy and Ozempic
Many people are wondering how you get Wegovy. Candidates must meet these requirements in order to get prescribed by their doctor.
Wegovy eligibility requirements
- BMI of 27 or more and weight-related medical problems
- BMI of 30 or more
- You have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes
- You have High-blood pressure
- You have High cholesterol
Ozempic eligibility requirements
- You have Type 2 diabetes
- You have cardiovascular disease (or high risk)
- You have kidney disease
- You have heart failure
Wegovy vs. Ozempic: Which Is Better for Weight Loss?
Wegovy is actually studied and FDA-approved for weight loss, with an average of 8.7% reduction in body weight over 68 weeks, compared to an average of 5.5% with Ozempic, which is not currently approved for weight management. Weight loss can happen as a side-effect of the Ozempic injection, but weight loss is not the labeled purpose of the medication.
How much weight will I lose on Wegovy?
Adults that are battling being overweight or obese can expect an average of 5% to 15% weight loss after 15 months of continued use.
How long will it take for Wegovy to work?
Weight loss results start showing after three months of continued use.
How much weight will I lose on Ozempic?
Adults taking the highest dosage available of 2mg weekly injection to lose an average of 14 lbs, while patients taking the 1mg weekly injection lose about 10 lbs.
How long does it take for Ozempic to work?
Ozempic has a titration period(the process of adjusting the dosage to your body) of at least eight weeks. It will take at least nine weeks (3 months) to start seeing weight loss results.
Ozempic Testimonials, Risks, and Horror Stories
Watch this video to see actual patients share their experiences while taking Ozempic.
- Ebony said she felt nauseous and threw up after eating a little while on Ozempic. Ebony stopped taking the weight loss medication because it became too hard to get, and her appetite came roaring back.
- Danielle shares, “No matter how little she would eat or after a drink of water, she felt nauseous, and her stomach would feel upset.” She didn’t feel good and got constant headaches. Danielle ultimately stopped taking the weight loss injections after three months. “Everything came back full force, all the crazy cravings that I struggled with, the sweets, the junk food.” Danielle gained 20 pounds after she stopped taking the diabetic injection.
- Another patient, Shay, was prescribed Ozempic to treat her diabetes. She lost access to the shots once her insurance coverage changed. Shay said the urge to eat returned even stronger after she stopped taking the medication. The makers of Ozempic responded to the Today show by saying their medication “was not studied specifically for weight changes” and “they do not promote, suggest, or encourage off-label use.”
“We’re seeing a lot of patients have this rebound weight gain, and it can really be devastating,” Dr. Karla Robinson, a board-certified family physician.
“The #GLP1 agonists are changing how #obesity can be treated, but they are NOT a cure and must be used in conjunction with other obesity therapies. None of these treatments are reasonably affordable by the greater #US population. There are many hurdles. #ozempic #wagovy #mounjaro” – Dr. Neil Floch
Jillian Michaels, 48, fitness trainer, tells the truth about Ozempic. “The truth of the matter is, Ozempic has some pretty significant side effects. Do your homework on it. The results are not lasting, in huge part,” Michaels adds. “I have talked at least eight family friends off of this drug,” Jillian Michaels tells PEOPLE, noting the side effects that they’ve experienced while on the medication. “They’re getting heart palpitations. They’re nauseous, they feel like s—. They feel so awful that it’s motivated them to reverse their type 2 diabetes.”
Wegovy and Ozempic Alternatives
A few other weight loss treatments are available if you’re looking for an alternative to Wegovy and Ozempic.
Another weight loss injection is, Liraglutide, available under the brand name Saxenda, another GLP-1 receptor agonist. This medication isn’t as popular or recommended due to lawsuits against the medication.
Bariatric Surgery vs. Weight Loss Injections
It is worth it to look into bariatric surgery if you want a more long-lasting, affordable solution and don’t want to spend the remainder of your life being co-dependent on medication.
Bariatric surgery modifies your hunger hormones and reduces the size of your stomach to create food intake restrictions. Gastric surgery also reduces the risk of life-threatening weight-related health conditions.
Bariatric Surgery Pros and Cons
- Improved quality of life
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Psychosocial benefits
- Improved mortality
- Improved sleep
- Reduces sleep apnea
- Lowers A1C
- Treats type 2 diabetes
- Cures high blood pressure
- Improves urinary incontinence
- Improves arthritis
- Reduces gout attack
- Reduces the risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
- Alters anatomy
- Potential surgical risks and side effects
As weight loss injections continue to go viral, more and more negative health risks come to light. The supply chain shortage has also become a huge problem with Ozempic and Wegovy users. It’s important to do your research to decide what is the best option for moving forward toward reaching your weight loss goals. If you are interested in qualifying for bariatric surgery, start by filling out the health questionnaire.
I saw on reddit that it causes bloating and gas after eating a cheeseburger… is that true? Can you still eat fried food?
I reviewed them here https://erictopol.substack.com/p/the-new-obesity-breakthrough-drugs