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Ozempic (semaglutide) can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their blood sugar. While it does not have FDA approval for use in weight management, doctors may prescribe it off-label. In either case, people will need a valid prescription from a healthcare professional.

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist that healthcare professionals may prescribe to people with diabetes.

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a brand-name drug with FDA approval to treat people with type 2 diabetes. Healthcare professionals usually prescribe this medication alongside diet and exercise if other drugs do not adequately manage blood sugar levels.

People with type 2 diabetes at risk of stroke and heart attack may also take this medication.


People with diabetes require medications, such as Ozempic, to manage their blood sugar levels. According to the FDA, there is currently a shortage of certain doses of this drug.

However, the FDA has approved Wegovy (semaglutide), which contains the same active drug as Ozempic, specifically for weight loss. People may wish to consider getting Wegovy over Ozempic for weight loss.

In November 2023, the FDA also approved Zepbound (tirzepatide) for weight loss, which contains the same active ingredient as Mounjaro, giving people another option to consider over Ozempic. Mounjaro is another drug that the FDA has only approved for diabetes.

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Ozempic and other GLP-1 receptor agonists promote insulin production in the body.

This medication helps people feel full for longer by slowing the stomach emptying rate. It also helps stop the pancreas from producing glycogen when a person’s blood sugar levels are high.

GLP-1 receptors can also lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure and total cholesterol levels. There is also evidence that this class of medication can help reduce body weight, with people losing, on average, 2.9 kilograms (kg) compared to a placebo.

The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend Ozempic and other GLP-1 agonists for people with diabetes who are at risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD).

People take Ozempic as an injection. People can inject Ozempic into the front of the thigh, the abdomen, or the upper arm. People should rotate their injection sites.

The FDA has approved Ozempic for people with type 2 diabetes only.

However, healthcare professionals may prescribe this medication “off-label” for weight loss. Off-label use means that, while the drug may be effective, the FDA has not approved it specifically for the purpose a doctor has prescribed.

The FDA has approved another weight-loss medication called Wegovy (semaglutide). This drug contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic. People looking to purchase semaglutide for weight loss can consider using this medication instead.

Read more about how to get Wegovy.

People should not use Ozempic if they or their family have a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.

Ozempic is not a weight loss drug. However, a side effect of its mechanism of action can help people lose weight, as it may help people feel full for longer.

A 2022 study found that people lost 6.7 kg at 3 months and 12.3 kg at 6 months while using semaglutide. However, people with type 2 diabetes lost less weight than those without this condition. The drug was effective when using 1.7 milligrams (mg) and 2.4 mg weekly of semaglutide.

People must continue to take the medication to maintain their results. A 2022 analysis showed that participants who stopped taking 2.4 mg of semaglutide for a year regained two-thirds of their weight.

People should consider their lifestyle and the cost of the medication before choosing Ozempic.

A person must first make an appointment with a healthcare professional to receive an Ozempic prescription. People can contact a doctor’s office or a local clinic to make an appointment. Those with insurance should check to ensure the healthcare professional accepts their policy.

During the appointment, a healthcare professional will review a person’s medical history, including any symptoms, current medications, and why they are considering using Ozempic.

Healthcare professionals should always discuss the medication’s potential benefits, risks, and side effects. They may suggest an alternative if they believe a different drug will be more beneficial.

Doctors may order lab tests to ensure Ozempic is the right medication for a person’s needs.

Once a doctor prescribes Ozempic, a person can fill that prescription at any local pharmacy that carries the drug.

Getting a prescription online

Still considering options? Read our roundup of the best places to buy Ozempic online from reputable companies that have passed our high vetting standards.

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Medical News Today chooses telehealth providers offering Ozempic according to the following criteria:

  • Safety: MNT only features companies that require people to get a valid prescription for Ozempic.
  • Insurance coverage: MNT selects companies with clear information about whether they accept insurance.
  • Pricing transparency: MNT chooses companies that clearly state the cost of their services.
  • Medication availability: MNT selects companies that only prescribe Ozempic if it is medically necessary, such as for people with type 2 diabetes.

Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more.

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The following table compares the services that offer Ozempic on insurance, cost, and more.

Ro BodyPlushcareSesame CareK Health
Medication offeredOzempic, Wegovy, Saxenda, ZepboundOzempic, Contrave, Wegovy, Saxenda, ZepboundOzempic, Wegovy, Saxenda, MounjaroOzempic, Wegovy, and Saxenda
Eligibilityat a healthcare professional’s discretionat a healthcare professional’s discretionat a healthcare professional’s discretionpeople with type 2 diabetes

people with high blood pressure
Accepts insurancedepends on medicationyesyesno
Membership price$99 for the first month and then $135/month thereafterwith insurance: $16.99/month (1st month free) + copay

without insurance: $16.99/month (1st month free) + $129 for initial visit
$170 for a 3-month weight loss program or $57 per month.$147 every 3 months

Side effects of Ozempic may include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal pain
  • constipation
  • hypoglycemia

It is important to note that semaglutide increases the risk of thyroid cancer in mice and rats, according to clinical trials. However, there have been no cases of thyroid cancer in humans who take this drug.

Learn more about the side effects of Ozempic.

Healthcare professionals will ask a person about any medications, supplements, or other complementary healthcare products before prescribing Ozempic to reduce the risk of drug interactions. As Ozempic changes how fast the stomach empties, it may affect how oral medications work.

Taking Ozempic alongside insulin secretagogues or insulin can increase the risk of hypoglycemia. Healthcare professionals may reduce the dose of one of the medications to increase safety.

It is also important not to share an Ozempic pen with another person. Sharing needles and other injectables increases the risk of bloodborne pathogens such as HIV.

People should inject Ozempic once per week, on the same day each week, at any time of day. They can inject the drug with or without an empty stomach.

The dosage changes over time:

  • 0.25 mg once per week for 4 weeks
  • 0.5 mg once per week for 4 weeks
  • 1 mg once per week for 4 weeks
  • 2 mg once per week

Healthcare professionals will only prescribe 1 mg of Ozempic or higher per week if a person’s blood sugar levels do not improve with a lower dose.

Ozempic cost will vary depending on a person’s insurance and where they purchase the drug. For example, Optum Perks states that Ozempic can start at around $872.

People may be able to receive insurance coverage for Ozempic. However, insurance companies are more likely to offer coverage if a person has type 2 diabetes.

Medicare Part D plans may provide coverage for this drug. People with Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage may receive partial coverage for Ozempic.

Ozempic offers a savings card. This card is only available to people with private or commercial insurance who receive a 1-, 2-, or 3-month supply of this drug. The company states that people can pay as little as $25 per prescription.

Currently, there is no generic version of Ozempic available to purchase.

How to get Ozempic without insurance

Some insurance policies will cover Ozempic for type 2 diabetes. However, people may not get coverage for the drug for weight loss.

Certain telehealth companies, such as Ro and K Health, have Ozempic available without insurance. These services can range in price from $49–$199. However, this price does not typically cover the cost of the drug.

The cost of Ozempic without insurance can start from $900 per injection.

Learn more about the cost of Ozempic without insurance.

Currently, there is a worldwide shortage of Ozempic. This is due to a sudden increase in demand due to healthcare professionals prescribing Ozempic off-label for weight management.

People with type 2 diabetes who would ordinarily use Ozempic must have access to alternative medications. Healthcare professionals should offer and prescribe similar GLP-1 medications like Ozempic as appropriate.

Alternatives include:

  • Rybelsus (semaglutide): This medication has the same active ingredient as Ozempic but is available in tablet form. Healthcare professionals will start people at a dose of 3 mg per day and increase the dose to as much as 14 mg per day as appropriate.
  • Mounjaro (tirzepatide): This is an injectable dual GLP-1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) medication that works very similarly to Ozempic. Healthcare professionals will start people with a dose of 2.5 mg once weekly and can prescribe up to 15 mg once weekly.
  • Trulicity (dulaglutide): This injectable GLP-1 medication also works very similarly to Ozempic. People will start with a 0.75-mg dose once weekly, and doctors may increase this to as much as 4.5 mg once weekly.

Find out how to get Mounjaro.

Below, we answer common questions about Ozempic.

People who need Ozempic for type 2 diabetes can get a prescription from a doctor. The FDA has approved Ozempic for this use.

As the FDA has not approved Ozempic for weight loss, those wanting to use Ozempic for this reason may not be able to get it unless a doctor thinks it is medically necessary and other GLP-1 drugs are unsuitable.

People can speak with a doctor to get an Ozempic prescription for type 2 diabetes. A doctor can prescribe this medication if they think it is an appropriate way to manage the person’s blood sugar.

The FDA has not approved Ozempic for weight loss, so there are no eligibility criteria for an Ozempic prescription.

Healthcare professionals who prescribe Ozempic for off-label use are likely only to prescribe it if a person has overweight or obesity.

It is not possible to get Ozempic without a doctor’s prescription. People do not have to visit a doctor in person, as telehealth companies such as Ro, PlushCare, and K Health offer doctor’s appointments and Ozempic prescriptions.

People should not get Ozempic from any company that offers Ozempic without a prescription.

Healthcare professionals may prescribe Ozempic for weight loss, as semaglutide is effective in helping people lose weight.

However, the FDA has approved another drug, Wegovy, specifically for weight loss. This contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic.

A doctor can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss if they think it is safe and medically appropriate.

Yes, some healthcare professionals may prescribe Ozempic off-label to help manage weight in people who have overweight or obesity, but do not have type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that can help manage blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. While there is interest in using Ozempic for weight loss, Wegovy contains the same active ingredient and has FDA approval.

Ozempic is available from many pharmacies. Some insurance companies may provide coverage, although it is likelier if a person has type 2 diabetes.