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How does Ozempic (semaglutide) help with weight loss?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 2, 2023.

Official answer


The Ozempic brand of semaglutide is not approved for weight loss but may help you lose weight when using it to treat type 2 diabetes.

Two studies evaluated blood sugar control (A1C) with once-weekly Ozempic injection in adults weighing an average of 202 lb (91.8 kg) or 219 lb (99.5 kg) at the beginning of the studies. Results showed that patients lost on average up to 14 lb (6.4 kg), although some people also gained weight.

  • Study 1: Patients using Ozempic 0.5 mg dose lost on average 8 lb (3.6 kg), those using 1 mg dose lost 10 lb (4.5 kg), and those taking placebo (an inactive treatment) lost 3 lb (1.4 kg).
  • Study 2: Patients using the Ozempic 1 mg dose lost on average 12 lb (5.5 kg), and those using the 2 mg dose lost 14 lb (6.3 kg).

If you do not have type 2 diabetes, the Wegovy brand of semaglutide is specifically approved for weight loss, along with diet and exercise, in patients with or without type 2 diabetes.

Is Ozempic approved for weight loss?

No, Ozempic is not approved as a weight-loss medicine. In Ozempic clinical trials, weight loss was a secondary endpoint. The primary endpoint in the majority of Ozempic studies was mean change in A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes.

The Wegovy brand of semaglutide is now approved for weight loss in patients with obesity or overweight (excess weight) who also have weight-related medical conditions, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or high cholesterol.

How does Ozempic help you lose weight?

Ozempic helps with weight loss by slowing down how fast food travels through your digestive tract (called gastric emptying). This may help you to feel fuller for a longer period of time and reduce how much food you consume. It also helps to prevent large blood sugar spikes. You may feel less hungry when you do not have wide swings in your blood sugar control.

Ozempic may also temporarily increase side effects like nausea or vomiting which may also lower your appetite.

Learn more: How long does it take for Ozempic to work?

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is in a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists (incretin mimetics). It is prescribed to help lower your blood sugar levels and A1C in type 2 diabetes.

  • Ozempic binds to GLP-1 receptors and stimulates insulin release from the pancreas when you need it.
  • It reduces the amount of sugar released by your liver and slows down food leaving your stomach to help prevent blood sugar spikes.

How long does it take to lose weight on Ozempic?

In phase 3 clinical studies ranging from 30 weeks to 56 weeks in length, Ozempic led to weight loss in people with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic has been shown to lead to weight loss but is not FDA-approved as a weight-loss medication.

Related Questions

Do side effects cause weight loss with Ozempic?

Stomach side effects are common when starting treatment with Ozempic but decrease over time in most patients. However, at the beginning of treatment this may affect your appetite. In one study, 58% of patients (231 of 402) receiving a semaglutide 1 mg dose experienced mild to moderate gastrointestinal side effects.

The most common side effects reported in ≥5% of patients treated with Ozempic are:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • abdominal (stomach) pain
  • constipation

Ileus update

In Sept. 2023, the FDA updated the warnings in the label for the type 2 diabetes medicine Ozempic (semaglutide) to emphasize that an ileus, an intestinal blockage, has been reported as a possible side effect.

In addition to Ozempic, warnings also exist for other semaglutide products Rybelsus (the oral form) and Wegovy (injection approved for weight loss), as well as a GLP-1/GIP agonist for type 2 diabetes known as Mounjaro (tirzepatide).

An ileus (paralytic ileus) is an intestinal blockage that results in the failure of the intestinal contents to pass through the gut, but it doesn't involve a physical blockage. In paralytic ileus problems with the muscle or nerves found in the intestine interfere with normal muscle contractions.

Because this side effect was voluntarily reported, the FDA cannot reliably determine how often this side effect occurs or if the drug actually caused the side effect. Speak to your doctor about your risk for this side effect.

Bottom Line

  • Ozempic can reduce your appetite and may help you to lose some weight, but Ozempic is not approved by the FDA as a weight loss medicine. In clinical studies, patients lost on average 14 lbs (6.4 kg) over a 30 to 56 week period.
  • The Wegovy brand of semaglutide is now specifically approved for weight loss, along with diet and exercise, in patients with or without type 2 diabetes.
  • Ozempic is a prescription medicine used to help lower blood sugar in patients with types 2 diabetes, alongside diet and exercise. It can also help to protect you from a heart attack or stroke if you have type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.

This is not all the information you need to know about Ozempic for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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