Ozempic® is a brand-name version of the generic medication semaglutide, which is a type of medication called a glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist. Instead of that tongue-twister of a name, we call these medications “GLP-1s” for short.
Ozempic® is approved by Health Canada for the management of certain symptoms and risks of type 2 diabetes.
Ozempic® works by slowing the digestion process, which can help you to feel full for longer. Ozempic®, like other GLP-1 receptor agonists, acts like a hormone your body naturally makes to regulate blood sugar and may help support weight loss.
Ozempic® comes in a prefilled injection pen that contains multiple doses. If prescribed, you will select the prescribed dose, then administer the injection under the skin of your stomach, thigh, or arm once a week.
While a routine injection may sound intimidating, the Ozempic® pen uses a tiny needle designed to minimize discomfort. You’ll also receive clear instructions on using the injection pen, and your Livewell-affiliated provider can offer additional advice.
Ozempic® dosing starts out low, then gradually increases over the first few months until a steady dose is reached. If prescribed, your Livewell-affiliated provider will work with you to find the schedule and dosing that’s right for you. As an example, the lowest dose of Ozempic® is 0.25 mg once a week and the maximum dose is 2.0 mg once a week.
Ozempic® is approved by Health Canada for Type 2 Diabetes, but not for weight loss. That said, Health Canada approved Wegovy® for weight loss in 2021. Wegovy® is a semaglutide medication taken with an injection pen, just like Ozempic®, and it is manufactured by the same drug company that makes Ozempic® (Novo Nordisk). However, Wegovy® is still not available in Canada due to supply shortages (but it is expected to come soon). For this reason, many doctors in Canada have the discretion to prescribe Ozempic® off-label if they believe it is an appropriate course of treatment for a particular patient.
How can Ozempic® help with weight loss? It acts like a natural hormone your body uses to regulate blood sugar and appetite—key steps in resetting your biological set point to help you maintain a new, lower weight.
Ozempic® can be used long-term under the guidance of a healthcare practitioner. However, the duration of your treatment depends on several factors: the dosage prescribed by your practitioner, your lifestyle, and how well you respond to the medication. Additionally, any changes in your health or other medications could also affect how long you should stay on Ozempic®. Your healthcare practitioner should closely monitor your condition throughout treatment and guide you on when to continue, stop or adjust your dosage as needed.
In Canada, Ozempic® is not available over the counter, so you need a prescription from a prescriber.
If you are seeking a prescription for Ozempic®, you can talk to a Livewell healthcare practitioner about whether it is an appropriate treatment for you.
To get an Ozempic® prescription you’ll need to talk to a healthcare practitioner who can assess your health and medical history. They can then and write a prescription, if it’s appropriate. In Canada, only licensed healthcare practitioners can write prescriptions. Your family doctor can do this, or you can use an online service like Livewell and get your prescription online, without having to visit the doctor’s office.
Once you have your prescription, you can go to a pharmacy to get it filled. If you’re using an online healthcare provider like Livewell, you can skip the pharmacy and get your prescription delivered to your home discreetly, and on a schedule that works for you, so you’ll never be without it when you need it most.
You can’t buy Ozempic® online without a prescription, but with Livewell you can get Ozempic® prescribed online, if appropriate. Complete a short online assessment, and if approved by a healthcare practitioner, your medication will be shipped to your door for free.
The most common side effects of Ozempic® are gastrointestinal-related (nausea, diarrhea, indigestion and constipation) which typically diminish over time.
If you’re concerned about side effects, reach out to your healthcare practitioner.
While some people found Ozempic® made them feel tired, it was reported in less than 5% of people taking Ozempic®.
It is not fully known if you can drink alcohol on Ozempic® as it has not been studied. It’s best to discuss with your healthcare practitioner or pharmacist before mixing alcohol and any medication.
Ozempic® doesn’t have any known interactions with food. When it comes to drug interactions, Ozempic® may interact with insulin or other diabetes medications. Please discuss all medications you take with your healthcare practitioner to ensure there are no potential interactions.
As a medication designed to treat chronic conditions, Ozempic® is meant to be used long-term. Whether you take Ozempic® forever is a decision best made with your healthcare practitioner in consideration of several factors, including your dosage, your lifestyle, and how well you respond to the medication.
No, Ozempic® does not come in pill form. Ozempic® comes in a weekly injectable pen in 0.25mg, 0.5mg & 1mg pen dosages. That said, the active ingredient in Ozempic® (semaglutide) is available in pill form in Rybelsus® (a medication made by Novo Nordisk, the same pharma company that created Ozempic®).
Ozempic® is the brand name for semaglutide. Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist, which mimics the action of the human incretin glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). It increases insulin secretion and blood sugar disposal, improving glycemic control.
There are a few alternatives to Ozempic®, which include Wegovy®, Saxenda®, Contrave®, Rybelsus®, and others.
To determine which option is best for you, please speak to your healthcare practitioner.
Ozempic® is one of the brand names for the medication semaglutide.
Ozempic®'s active ingredient is the semaglutide molecule.
Yes, Ozempic® expires. It's essential to check the expiration date on the package of your medication before use. Medication can be stored between 2 to 30°C and does not require refrigeration unless you are unable to keep the medication in the appropriate temperature range.
Yes, there are specific warnings that should be taken into consideration when taking Ozempic®. It is essential to speak with your healthcare practitioners before beginning treatment with Ozempic®, as there are potential risks and side effects associated with its use.
These include, but not limited to, hypoglycemia, injection site reactions, nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, weight gain, and rare severe risks, including thyroid tumours and pancreatitis. To ensure the best care possible, it is essential to discuss all associated risks with a healthcare practitioner.
Ozempic® is not for everyone.
You should not take Ozempic® if you have a history of thyroid cancer or those with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications should discuss Ozempic® with their doctor or healthcare practitioner.
Yes, it is possible to take too much Ozempic®. Taking too much of the medication can result in hypoglycemia or other serious side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, weight gain, injection site reactions, and rare severe risks, including thyroid tumours and pancreatitis. It is essential to follow your healthcare practitioner’s instructions regarding dosage when taking Ozempic®.
In Canada, the cost of a one-month supply of Ozempic® will vary depending on your coverage eligibility and the province.
Without any insurance or medical coverage, you can expect to pay between ~$250-$400 per month for the medication.
Each Ozempic® pen contains 3 ml of medication, and doses vary depending on what your healthcare practitioner prescribes. Follow their instructions regarding dose for your treatment plan.
Typically, at your maintenance dose, an Ozempic® pen will contain 4 doses (one each week), so a pen last for approzimately 1 month.
No, Ozempic® does not need to be refrigerated. Ozempic® should be stored between 2 to 30°C and does not need to be refrigerated unless you are unable to keep the medication in the appropriate temperature range.