Semaglutide, Ozempic, Wegovy – Miracle Fat-Loss Drugs?

Do They Work? Are They Safe?

Elon took semaglutide to get leaner. Kim K. supposedly took it to whittle down that dump truck of a butt. Should you? Info here.


Semaglutide: A Diabetes Drug That Rips Off Body Fat?

Elon Musk was large. Now he’s not. Kim Kardashian was large, or at least a part of her was. Now she (it) isn’t.

Similarly, socialite brides-to-be are lately slipping into their waifish wedding dresses without breaking so much as a moist upper lip in the gym. Recovering Wall Street Peloton addicts who’d put on an extra 10 or 20 post-Peloton pounds are suddenly getting back to their fighting weights without the whole hamster-on-a-wheel thing. Post-partum baby weight, for many well-to-do mothers, has become a non-existent problem.

And it’s all because of semaglutide, a relatively new diabetes drug that’s been appropriated for the off-label purpose of fat loss by financially secure people, along with some resourceful, less deep-pocketed people who’ve gotten their insurance companies to cover it, even if they don’t have diabetes.

So, what is this stuff, and, more importantly, should regular folk who quickly want to drop a wheelbarrow of fat use it?

Oh-Oh-Oh Ozempic

Semaglutide is an insulin regulator that was developed by Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk in 2012 and was approved for the treatment of Type II diabetes (and heart disease since it lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke) five years later.

If you own a television and you’ve turned it on any time in the last few years, you’ve no doubt had your senses assaulted by a cheery chorus singing “Oh-Oh-Oh Ozempic…”

Yeah, that’s the trade name for semaglutide.

The drug is typically injected subcutaneously once a week and it lowers blood sugar levels by stimulating the release of insulin, which is hugely helpful for people with Type II diabetes. Semaglutide also mimics a hormone called glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) that tells our stomachs that we feel full, along with prompting the stomach to slow down the transit of food.

Those things, of course, are a recipe for weight loss, one that rivals bariatric surgery, the procedure where they surgically reduce the size of your stomach to about the size of the pouch your AirPods come in.

When Novo Nordisk saw what was happening to the waistlines of Ozempic users, they felt a big dose of that hygge stuff you hear about, and it apparently filled them with entrepreneurial inspiration. “We’ve got the diabetics’ money, but what if we make semaglutide for fatties too?”

Genius! The only trouble was, semaglutide/Ozempic had only been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Type II diabetes and related or non-related heart problems.

That didn’t mean some completely healthy but chubby people weren’t getting semaglutide for its off-label use by finding doctors with flexible ethics. Regardless, Novo Nordisk decided to make it easier for people who wanted to be svelte by developing an injectable semaglutide specifically designed for weight loss. Enter Wegovy, which the FDA quickly approved.

It’s the same damn drug as Ozembic, only Wegovy is available in higher dosing to facilitate weight loss more efficiently. Each comes in nifty pre-loaded syringes (a 4 mm, 32-gauge needle), but Ozempic is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1.0 mg pens, while Wegovy is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5, 1.0 mg, 1.7 mg, and 2.4 mg pens.

Enter an Oral Version, Rybelsus

Obviously, a lot of people aren’t comfortable jabbing themselves with a needle. It’s too invasive, too medical, too ucky. Enter Rybelsus, an oral form of semaglutide. Unfortunately, it has to be taken in a very specific way: a half hour before eating and with 4 ounces of water.

Unlike Ozempic, it’s only approved for the treatment of Type II diabetes, but there are ways around that for those who want to use it for weight loss (like sweet talking your doc into writing the script anyways).

Novo Nordisk also has at least a fourth variant of semaglutide in the works, but little is known about it. Given that the earliest entry for any generic semaglutides to appear is December 5th, 2031, I half-expect Novo Nordisk to take full advantage and churn out a cascade of different semaglutide products in the meantime – gummies, tinctures, nasal sprays, who knows? Maybe even some semaglutide products for adipose adolescents, tubby tots, or porcine pets.

How Much Weight Loss is Typical?

Users of any of the semaglutide products typically lose up to 15% of their body mass in just a few weeks, without making any modifications at all to their diet or exercise habits. Whether most of this weight loss is comprised largely of fat with a modicum of muscle loss would of course be dependent on the user’s protein intake and type and intensity of exercise.

Side Effects

As with any drug, there are some side effects associated with the use of semaglutide:

  • Redness or itching at injection site (Ozempic and Wegovy)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Fatigue
  • And of course, weight loss.

These side effects shouldn’t be taken lightly, as just about everybody who uses the drug experiences debilitating nausea for the first two or three days. Most savvy doctors, however, will often prescribe the anti-nausea pill Zofran at the same time.

There are also some more serious possible side effects that can occur with semaglutide:

  • Allergic reaction
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Cholelithiasis (gallstones)
  • Kidney problems
  • Thyroid C-cell tumors (in animal studies, at least)

The drug’s only been around a short time, so no one knows what the really long-term effects might be. Still, that’s likely more of a concern with diabetic patients or heart patients who’d presumably stay on the drug for a long time, or for the rest of their lives.

The risks to the dieter who only stays on the drug for a short time would of course be less, or even minimal. Of course, any fat loss that occurred from using any of the forms of semaglutide would come back with a vengeance after cessation of the drug unless appropriate lifestyle modifications were made.

Financial Side Effects

The executives at Novo Nordisk have taken to mixing their Kartoffelsalat with caviar and buying their kids solid gold Legos because, justifiably or not, they’re charging an arm and a leg, or given their original demographic, and arm and a pancreas for semaglutide.

A monthly supply of Ozempic, depending on the dosage, is around $900, while the cost for an equal supply of Wegovy is around $1,300. However, if you’re a Type II diabetic, have heart problems, or are clinically obese (have a BMI over 30), you should be able to use insurance to get the cost down to around $25.

There exists kind of a loophole, though, provided you have flexible morals. A lot of people are allegedly getting the drug through video chats with their doctor. The apparent secret is to lie about your body mass index (BMI). If you qualify as obese (a BMI over 30), you’re supposedly in. Whether this lie requires you to shove your cheeks full of cotton balls, a la’ Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” and have the camera aimed solely at your face, I don’t know.

Other Considerations and Alternatives

I can see semaglutide having an impact on bodybuilders. It may bring back the discredited practice of off-season bulking. Lifters can eat their lungs out during winter, gain an appreciable amount of fat and muscle, and then painlessly Ozempic or Wegovy their way down to a much more muscular body come springtime.

Still, there’s that price thing to contend with. Of course, given that pro bodybuilders often spend as much as 10 grand a month on anabolics, a few more dollars probably wouldn’t be a deterrent.

Those of us with less financial means might just want to go the supplement route. Hot-Rox® Extreme can respectably emulate some of semaglutide’s effects (e.g., appetite suppression) while also stimulating production of thyroid hormone and blocking andrenergic receptors that predominate in “trouble areas” like the abs, love handles, and lower back.

Combine it with Indigo-3G® for its positive effects on insulin sensitivity and you’ve got a respectable alternative to semaglutide without needles and at a fraction of the cost.

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This depends GREATLY on dosage. Minimum dosage was quoted about $250/month from my provider.

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I know this was a bit of a joke, but it’s not as far off as it may seem: the last patent-extending indication submission is almost always pediatric.

I don’t really think this is fair: the cost bakes in a decade of R&D and a relatively short profit cycle before the patent expires. I could whine about a couple more reasons, but I think it gets a little controversial/ political. That’s not to defend everything pharma does, and they often do price gouge, but it does have to come with context: without significant remuneration, we don’t get the best and brightest working on these therapies.

Ozempic really is an incredibly efficacious drug that stands out within an absolutely saturated market.

Thanks for another great article!

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Big thread on this drug on another board. Seems to be a decent amount of guys there who got some sides from it. Going hypo and lower libido seems to be common.

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As a diabetic I have used drugs like Ozempic and drugs in this same family.

One of the side effects I have experienced is pancreatitis (pancreatitis is absolutely horrible).

It would be easier to spend on the money on healthy food and a trainer…

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Ouch! What did they do for you? Can you tolerate other drugs in the class? Please don’t feel obligated to respond to me, this is your personal health, I’m just curious.

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So I was on Bayetta (caused Pancreatitis) but gave me good blood sugar control and same with Victoza. At this point my doctors and I don’t even bother with these kinds of injectable drugs and I just use insulin for control.

I don’t know how much they really help with weight loss, I know some of the diabetes drug side affects are decreased appetite which contributes to the weight loss “side effect”.

I currently use metformin and jardiance with no serious side effects.

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I’m glad you found a combo!

I hear you on the weight loss claims. I’ve got to assume the nausea people tend to get is a big part of that as well.

It’s kind of like the cardiac and even renal (in some cases) protection claims: it’s probably secondary from the A1C control. That doesn’t diminish the claims, but the mechanism is probably singular.

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As someone with the equivalent of one kidney running at 80%, no thank you

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I hear you, and I want to agree, but I see what people in other countries pay for drugs and it makes me question the whole pricing system. For instance, my wife requires a drug that costs $2200 a month, but if I get the huevos to drive down to Juarez, I can buy it for less than $500.

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Drag. Sorry to hear that!

That’s because they don’t have similar IP protection laws. Manufacturers tend to just accept that everything will be stolen, so they go “altruistic” and sell at a price that mitigates that a bit and makes them look like heroes. The lack of IP protection helps drive up US prices, because those sales have to drive all profits. We also have a slick network of price fixing through public and private payors that really does not benefit the consumer.

I’m not excusing everything; I guess I’m just saying it’s a bigger system flaw than a simple marketer sticking it to us because he can.

To add again: I really enjoy and appreciate these articles and your interaction with us in the forum.

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I hear ya. (Thanks!)

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I have used Wegovy as part of a clinical trial for reducing knee osteoarthritis pain by weight loss. I have lost 45 lbs since February (down to 228 lbs now), and have none of the side effects mentioned in the article. And the subcutaneous injection is nothing, it’s really easy to do. The clinical trial ends in a little over a month. I’m hopeful to find a way to continue using it, as it is definitely worthwhile for me. My blood pressure has continued to come down, and I’m hopeful to soon come off of at least one of my BP meds as well. And my knee pain has been reduced considerably - my understanding is, for every lb of weight above average, it causes an additional 5lbs of stress on knee joints. I had a partial knee replacement in my right knee last year at age 58.

So for me, it’s a great product.

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There are two reasons I would never trust it. 1) When you boost the pancreas to pump out more insulin, eventually the pancreas burns out and you trade type 2 diabetes for type 1. But why would a big corporation care. The results for the first couple of years make it sell better till something else comes along. 2) When they advertise it, they use classical conditioning, coupling the image and name of their product with scenes of happy family vacations and syrupy music along with the insulting stupidity of saying Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! because they consider their target audience less than human. This demonstrates their character.

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I’m not really understanding how additional circulating insulin is helpful for weight loss. Insulin is what shuttles the sugar and nutrients into cells, which is why bodybuilders find it to be anabolic, and presumably also encourages fat cells to uptake whatever is floating around in the blood too. Also, excessive insulin secretion and therefore exposure to insulin could result in insulin insensitivity, which is one of the two types of diabetes! Aren’t we told time and again to avoid foods which either spike insulin - or keep insulin levels excessively raised - in the endeavour of trying to avoid weight gain? Why then would we want to take a drug that does that?

Can either of you show me where you’re reading that Semaglutide increases insulin secretion?

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At last…The Magic Pill!

Of course, we all know that…

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The advertisements say it does this. So does the article “increase circulating insulin.”

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They also get grants from the Government for their R&D…