This content was reviewed and approved for its accuracy on 14/12/2021 by Professor Frank Joseph

Photograph of Professor Frank Joseph, weight loss expert for myBMI

What is Semaglutide Used For?


If you’ve made it to our site then you’ve probably heard about a little medication called Semaglutide — but what is it and what do you use it for?


There’s a lot to learn about Semaglutide, so much that we could (and have!) write pages and pages about it, but today we’re going to take it back to basics.


We’re going to find out what Semaglutide is used for, why it may be prescribed to you, and which similar medications are on the market.


We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s begin with what you came here for, and find out what Semaglutide is used for.


What is Ozempic used for?


Ozempic is a medication used for type 2 diabetes mellitus (or just type 2 diabetes), and it’s formulated to help patients regulate their blood sugar levels.


It affects two hormones created by your pancreas, insulin and glucagon, which both play an important role in your body’s glucose management systems.


It helps to stimulate the production of insulin, which is essential to diabetes patients, as their condition means that their body cannot produce enough insulin or the insulin they’re producing isn’t as effective as it should be.


Insulin lets your cells absorb glucose when it’s been broken down from your food, so if you don’t have enough it can cause your blood sugar levels to keep rising, which can be very dangerous if left unchecked.


By giving your insulin levels a little boost, GLP-1 receptor agonist medications like Ozempic are a very effective treatment for type 2 diabetes and have grown in popularity over recent years as they’ve become more available.


What else is Semaglutide used to treat?


Semaglutide is the active ingredient in Ozempic, so naturally, it’s used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it can have another use too — weight loss.


As GLP-1 Receptor Agonist drugs like Semaglutide have been developed and tested, studies have shown that their active ingredients can help patients to lose weight, even though that wasn’t their initial purpose.


This is because the impact Semaglutide has on your hormones and blood sugar has the added bonus of reducing your hunger levels and slowing down the process of your food leaving your stomach, so you’ll feel fuller for longer.


Naturally, this has led to Semaglutide and medications from the same drug group being researched for their potential as weight loss treatments.


Some GLP-1 receptor agonists have been licensed for this purpose already, and Semaglutide has just made it across the licensing finish line in the UK, under the brand name Wegovy.


Is Ozempic used for weight loss?


Ozempic is the brand name for Semaglutide when it’s used to manage type 2 diabetes, so no, it is not meant to be used for weight loss.


However, Semaglutide has been licensed in the US as a weight-loss treatment under a different name, Wegovy.


Although these medications use the exact same active ingredient and work in the exact same way, medication regulations and licensing mean that you should not use one for the purpose of the other.


It’s a bit tricky, but the main difference between Ozempic and Wegovy is in the doses of each medication — if you were prescribed Ozempic for diabetes and tried to use it for weight loss without proper guidance from a healthcare professional you may end up taking the wrong dose.

This could lead to you taking an overdose of Semaglutide or taking too little for it to be effective, both of these scenarios have their own dangers and concerns.


If you are a suitable patient who could benefit from using Semaglutide for weight loss, your prescriber may provide it to you as an off-label prescription as we wait for manufacturing of Wegovy to be completed in the UK.


If this is the case, your prescriber will walk you through the titration system and make sure you’re taking the right dose throughout your treatment.


We do not recommend taking Semaglutide for weight loss unless you have been prescribed it for this purpose.


If you have been prescribed Ozempic for diabetes, you should not try to use it for anything else unless you are specifically told to by a healthcare professional, it’s all about your safety, at the end of the day.


Are there any alternatives to Ozempic?


As we mentioned earlier, Ozempic isn’t the only GLP-1 receptor agonist available, and you do have other options if this one isn’t for you.


If you think you would benefit from using a similar medication for weight loss, you could ask your prescriber about Saxenda.


Saxenda uses an active ingredient called Liraglutide, which works in a similar way to Semaglutide, but requires daily injections, instead of the weekly injections you would take with Semaglutide.


Saxenda is the only GLP-1 receptor agonist that has been licensed in the UK for weight loss at the time of writing, and many patients have been seeing incredible results as it’s helped them along their weight loss journey.


Naturally, Liraglutide can also be used for type 2 diabetes management (under the brand name Victoza), but if you’re interested in taking Semaglutide but aren’t a fan of needles, you may want to learn more about Rybelsus.


What is Rybelsus used to treat?


Rybelsus is the name of Semaglutide taken in tablet form, and it’s used for type 2 diabetes management.


Rybelsus works in the exact same way as Ozempic, as it uses the same active ingredient, but can be a better choice for patients who prefer to take tablets or cannot inject Ozempic.


Rybelsus has also been licensed in the UK for diabetes management, but at the moment it doesn’t look like it’s going to be considered for licensing as a weight loss medication any time soon.


Of course, we’ll update our information if anything changes there.


Well, now you know exactly what Ozempic is used for and how it can help patients with type 2 diabetes manage their blood glucose levels.


If you want to learn more about Semaglutide, our team has written lots of other articles with tonnes of information about this medication, so why not take a look?


You may be surprised at what you could learn next!for


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Wegovy has just been released in the USA for weight management, and it contains the active ingredient Semaglutide.

 

We’re going to take a closer look at the differences and the similarities between these two treatments.

Semaglutide is currently only available on the NHS for those with type 2 diabetes.

 

Those that want to take Semaglutide for weight management will need to pay privately.

Getting your Semaglutide dosage right and injecting it properly can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing.

 

Find out more about how to take your Semaglutide injections or tablets.

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