In my years as a fitness trainer, I have talked to scores of clients whose lives have been affected by diabetes, a condition when the pancreas does not produce enough of the body’s insulin.
My clients and I have in-depth discussions on how to manage Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes like increasing activity level, evaluating diet and eliminating foods that hinder balanced nutrition, and Integrating medication or supplements to boost a healthy fitness regimen.
One of these FDA-approved drugs is Ozempic, which some of my clients use now, while many of them used it in the past. Here I will take a deeper look at this well-known diabetes medication, including side effects, dosing, and medications other pharmaceutical companies have created.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription medication designed to work with a healthy diet and exercise to improve blood sugar and lower A1C in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic is a once per week injection with a specific dosage structure over several weeks.
It is essential to follow the directions as prescribed.
- 0.25 mg once weekly for four weeks
- 0.5 mg once weekly for at least four weeks
- 1 mg once weekly if your health care provider deems it necessary for additional blood sugar control
How Does It Help Weight Loss?
Taking Ozempic seems to slow the liver’s release of sugar into the bloodstream.
It increases your body’s insulin by acting like the GLP-1 hormone, thus keeping your blood glucose lower. 
It might also reduce sugar cravings because your body won’t feel the need to eat when your blood glucose is low but there’s enough sugar in your digestive tract.
Ozempic (semaglutide) does not contain any active ingredient geared explicitly toward weight loss, so this seems to be a secondary benefit for some.
If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes and want to lose weight, there may be better options to consider.
Part of my research for this article was reading many user reviews and talking to people taking Ozempic to control their diabetes type 2. I found mixed opinions about whether it is a great drug for losing weight.
Benefits of Ozempic
According to the Novo Nordisk website, besides the impact on diabetes type 2, other benefits include:
- Lowers the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease
- Promotes weight loss
- Positively affects kidney function
Over time high blood sugar can cause damage to the blood vessels and nerves supplying your heart. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and if you have diabetes, you are twice as likely to be afflicted. 
Taking Ozempic semaglutide may significantly lower your blood sugar and A1C levels, which could prove vital for reducing cardiovascular risk.
Are There Any Adverse Effects?
By prescribing you this medication, your doctor determined that the benefits outweighed any possible side effects, some of which may impact daily life.
Here are some common side effects of Ozempic (semaglutide):
- Redness or itching at the injection site
- Nausea (this may lessen as time goes on)
Some rare but severe side effects have occurred with this medication, including pancreatitis and thyroid cancer. 
When you first begin taking any new drug, it is important to be aware of any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. If any of these allergic reactions occur, you should seek medical treatment immediately:
- Itching/swelling (especially the face/tongue/throat)
- Severe dizziness
- Trouble breathing
You should also note that semaglutide may worsen diabetic retinopathy, a complication of diabetes that affects the eyes by damaging blood vessels in the retina, possibly leading to vision loss and blindness. 
- Once weekly injection
- No known food interactions
- May lower cholesterol
- May lower the risk of stroke or heart attack in people with type 2 diabetes
- Only available as a prescription medication
- More affordable generic (non-name brand) option is not available
Ozempic Versus the Competition
Let’s look at how Ozempic (semaglutide) stands up against its competitors.
Trulicity has very similar results as Ozempic (semaglutide). However, the active drug in Trulicity is dulaglutide, but like Ozempic, it is a GLP-1 agonist, mimicking the glucagon-like peptide one hormone.
Trulicity has had the same success in treating diabetic patients by lowering A1C followed by cardiovascular risk reduction. Patients also reported they were able to lose weight with Trulicity as well.
The common side effects listed for Ozempic are possible when taking Trulicity. Like Ozempic, Trulicity requires weekly injections, which appeals to most people over a daily treatment.
Like Ozempic and Trulicity, Victoza is also in the class of medications called GLP-1 agonists. Victoza's active ingredient is Liraglutide and is also made by Novo Nordisk.
Victoza also delays gastric emptying, controls appetite, and promotes weight loss. Where Trulicity and Ozempic are weekly doses, Victoza requires injecting daily.
Several side effects, namely gastrointestinal issues, are similar to Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Ozempic (semaglutide).
PhenQ is a supplement explicitly intended for weight loss. Unlike Ozempic, Trulicity, and Victoza, PhenQ contains all-natural ingredients.
There is no prescription required, and you take a daily dose of one capsule.
No refrigeration is necessary, and I haven’t heard of any significant side effects.
PhenQ is intended for weight loss, and many of my clients have successfully used it, along with exercise and a healthy diet, to meet their fitness goals.
My clients prefer it because it proved to be highly effective for them, and it requires no prescription or refrigeration.
Wolfson Berg Limited added Nopal cactus, also known as prickly pear, to the PhenQ formula which has proven to have positive effects on weight loss. 
“The fiber in prickly pear cactus plants may aid weight loss by binding to dietary fat, increasing its excretion and reducing energy absorption.” - Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN, LD
Ozempic comes with a mixed bag of user testimonials. You can find a positive review here or there, but in my research, I’ve found most of the users gave it an overwhelmingly negative review. Here are just a few.
“It’s halved the amount of insulin in my blood in 4 months. I was insulin resistant. I’ve lost 18% of my body weight.” - Sueboe on Reddit
“This drug is the DEVIL. I was taking this drug to counteract the weight gain of Seroquel. I've tried for four months to make it work (at the encouragement of my psychiatrist). I've been nauseous the whole time and had vomiting about 3-4 a week. I have currently been vomiting for a week straight.” - Sick_of_Rx on WebMd
“I went on Ozempic to lose some weight. I was on it for three months with the normal progression. From the first dosage, I had terrible nausea and vomiting. Everything I ate burned my stomach and came right back up. I kept taking it for 12 weeks and had to give it up.” - Aunt Sissy on WebMd
How Much Weight in a Month Can You Lose With Ozempic?
How much weight you can lose with Ozempic is very person-specific. The drug information on the Ozempic semaglutide website indicates it is not primarily intended for weight loss management.
How Long Does It Take for Ozempic to Work for Weight Loss?
It takes from three to six weeks for Ozempic to work, depending on the person. By the time you reach the maximum dosage, which takes several weeks, you may notice a change in your eating habits because starting Ozempic can make you feel fuller longer.
Where Can You Buy Ozempic?
You can only buy Ozempic with a prescription. Price will vary depending on insurance. Ozempic (semaglutide) has an option to sign up for a savings card on their website.
Is Ozempic a Good Idea?
To treat type 2 diabetes, Ozempic is an effective doctor-prescribed medication with generally manageable side effects and a history of success in lowering A1C in patients.
However, when advising my clients on weight loss, I encourage them to evaluate the potential risks of Ozempic and consider an all-natural, prescription-free supplement explicitly geared toward losing weight.
I remind them that It is always best to consult either a doctor or pharmacist to discuss any drug interactions.
Incorporating PhenQ into your fitness plan may be a great way to reach those weight loss goals with the added benefits of increased energy and improved mood.
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