How Do You Get a Prescription for Ozempic?

Seeing the weight loss transformations credited to Ozempic and similar weight loss medications is inescapable. Whether it’s seeing before and after photos of celebrities or witnessing transformations first-hand from people in your own life, the drug has become synonymous with weight loss.

It’s important to know that Ozempic isn’t right for everyone and it certainly should not be considered a substitute for eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. But if you have obesity, you may be wondering how to get prescribed Ozempic for weight loss. Included here is everything you need to know, including who may be a good fit for the medication, side effects to be aware of, who can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss and how much it costs.

Related: These Ozempic Before and After Photos Give a Real-Life Glimpse of What Life is Like on Weight Loss Medication

Who Is Ozempic a Good Fit For?

If you are considering taking Ozempic for weight loss, it’s important to know what it is and how it works. The generic form of Ozempic is semaglutide, which has been approved to manage Type 2 diabetes. The same drug company that makes Ozempic makes another drug called Wegovy, which is the same medication but is approved for weight loss. If Wegovy is not available, Ozempic can be prescribed for weight loss.

“Being an adult with a body mass index of 27 or greater who has at least one weight-related condition, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or obstructive sleep apnea make you a candidate [for Ozempic or a similar weight loss drug],” says Dr. Alejandro Lopez, MD, a bariatric surgeon and the Medical Director at ALO Bariatrics.

Dr. Lopez emphasizes that while Ozempic can be an effective tool for weight loss, it is not a standalone solution. “It is crucial to have realistic expectations. You can’t expect to get rid of all of your excess weight just by taking this medicine. For it to be as effective as possible, you have to commit to a lifestyle change that includes a better diet and regular exercise. This means the best candidates to have a positive experience with Ozempic are the ones that have a small amount of excess weight to lose,” he explains.

Ozempic is not a good fit for everyone. Dr. Lopez says that it should not be used for quick weight loss, such as trying to lose weight before a wedding or vacation. He also says that for those who want to lose a drastic amount of weight, Ozempic may be a good starting point, but it will not help someone reach this goal on its own.

He adds that it has not been approved for people with Type 1 diabetes and should be used with caution by people with gastrointestinal disease, kidney impairment or renal disease. Dr. Lopez says that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use Ozempic. “As with any medication, it's important to discuss your medical history and any existing health conditions with a healthcare provider before starting Ozempic,” he explains.

It’s also important to be aware of Ozempic’s side effects, which can include vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, nausea and stomach pain.

Related: Thinking of Trying Ozempic? Here's What You Can Expect Week by Week

How To Get Prescribed Ozempic for Weight Loss

If you are hoping to get a prescription for Ozempic for weight loss, Dr. Andre Teixeira, MD, a board-certified bariatric physician for Orlando Health Weight Loss and Bariatric Surgery Institute, recommends establishing yourself with a healthcare provider to discuss your health history and comorbidities. Dr. Teixeira says that primary care doctors, obesity medicine physicians, bariatric surgeons and cardiologists all can prescribe weight loss medications.

“During a consultation [with a healthcare provider], express your weight loss objectives and inquire about the suitability of Ozempic for your situation,” Dr. Lopez says. “The healthcare provider will evaluate your health status, including your weight, BMI, medical history and any existing health issues, to determine if Ozempic is a viable option. They will also discuss the potential advantages and risks of using Ozempic for weight loss, as well as other strategies like diet, exercise and behavior modification.”

Dr. Lopez says that if the doctor believes you are a good fit for weight loss medication, they will give you a prescription and schedule follow-up appointments to track your progress and make any needed adjustments to your treatment plan.

Both doctors say that it is possible to get a prescription for Ozempic from a digital healthcare provider, however, this can depend on the specific regulations and guidelines in the region where the digital health provider is located and where you are located.

Related: What Happens When You Stop Taking Ozempic?

How Much Does Ozempic Cost?

Dr. Teixeira says that some, but not all, health insurance companies cover Ozempic or similar drugs. The best way to know is by checking directly with your health insurance company. “Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, typically cover at least a portion of the cost of Ozempic when it is prescribed for diabetes or weight management,” Dr. Lopez says, adding that coverage policies can vary, so it's important to check with your insurance provider to understand your specific coverage and out-of-pocket costs. “Additionally, savings programs or patient assistance programs offered by the manufacturer may help reduce the cost of Ozempic for eligible individuals."

The cost of Ozempic and similar weight loss medications can be expensive if your health insurance company does not cover them. “The cost of Ozempic can vary depending on factors such as the dosage, the pharmacy you purchase it from and whether you have insurance coverage. The average retail price for a 1.5 mg/0.5 mL pen of Ozempic is around $850, while a 1 mg/0.5 mL pen is around $770. Prices may be lower with coupons or patient assistance programs,” Dr. Lopez says.

In general, you can expect your Ozempic pen to last about a month (give or take a few doses), but note that Ozempic pens are not considered safe to use after 56 days and should be disposed of.

Both physicians emphasize that while Ozempic has been a beneficial weight loss tool for many, individuals with obesity who are looking for a drastic weight loss solution should consider bariatric surgery. “Weight loss surgery is the preferred option for patients with high body mass index and chronic metabolic disease. However, Ozempic and other [weight loss] medications should be used as a tool to help you reset your eating habits and focus on your health goals,” Dr. Teixeira says.

If you believe Ozempic is a good fit for you, the best first step to take is talking to your healthcare provider. Together, you can assess whether prescription weight loss medication will help you meet your goals as well as what other diet and lifestyle changes need to be made.

Next up, find out how much weight you can expect to lose on Ozempic.