By Alexia Le Blanc, dietetic stagiaire at Openspace Clinic

The prominence of Ozempic in today’s society has been hard to ignore, especially considering its popularity in social media and its innovative role as one of the solutions in the battle against the obesity epidemic. In this article, we take a deeper look at this drug, including the rise of Ozempic, its weight loss mechanisms, and essential considerations.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a medication requiring weekly injection and designated for people with type 2 diabetes. It contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. GLP-1 is an incretin hormone, a type of hormone that is released by the intestines in response to food intake. This means that semaglutide will mimic the action of the natural incretin hormone GLP-1.

Its primary functions lie in increased insulin production leading to decreased blood sugar levels by mimicking the effects of the incretin hormone, while also diminishing the liver’s sugar production.

The rise of Ozempic.

Despite Ozempic’s explicit disclaimer on its official website that it is not a weight loss drug, the public and culture disagrees. Since Ozempic has been made available in 2018, it’s been making quite a name for itself. As people start noticing its drastic weight loss effects in diabetic patients, it started making waves.

Branded a revolutionizing miracle drug, the enticing and alluring drug is bound to cause a commotion. Countless articles, social media posts and celebrities emphasize and promote the medication’s effectiveness for its weight loss properties, often portraying it as a solution requiring minimal effort on the user’s part.

In fact, the drug has been called “the worst kept secret in Hollywood” due to its popularity among stars, and its dead giveaway of rapid weight loss. 

How does it work for weight loss?

Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic mimics GLP-1, is a hormone that regulates appetite. By activating GLP-1 receptors in the brain, Ozempic reduces feelings of hunger and promotes a sense of fullness, leading to decreased calorie intake. Also, the rate at which the stomach empties will slow down, which prolongs the sense of fullness and decreases physical hunger. This dual effect—suppressing appetite and delaying gastric emptying—prolongs the feeling of satiety, effectively curbing physical hunger. 

Think of the energy balance concept (energy in vs. energy out), its ability to decrease appetite leads to reduced caloric intake. People even report that the medication makes them forget to eat!

The FDA still has not approved Ozempic as a weight loss drug, whereas Wigovy, both semaglutide and working in similar mechanisms, is approved as a treatment for chronic weight management. They can be considered the same drug, however, Wigovy contains a smaller amount of semaglutide than Ozempic.


So far, this drug is starting to sound like the miracle solution for easy and quick weight loss. However, like every medication, there are important considerations and misconceptions to address.

  1. This is a life-long drug, you cannot use it to “jumpstart” your weight loss.

The effects of this drug last as long as you are taking the medication. When you get off the drug for any reason, the lost weight and associated health issues (high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) will return. 

  1. There are short and long-term side effects.

Most common sides effects with semaglutide drugs include headaches, nausea, vomiting, constipation, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. They are commonly experienced in the beginning stages; however, they may persist and cause the individual to quit the medication. More severe side effects, such as vision issues, pancreatitis, and certain cancers, are also possible. This drug is relatively new, long-term side effects are unknown and difficult to predict. 

  1. Who can take it?

Many factors and possible contraindications must be taken into consideration before taking this drug. It is important to discuss with a reliable health professional to determine if this drug is appropriate for your specific health situation.


Final thoughts.

Propelled by society’s fatphobia mentality, weight loss has been a long driving force for profitable sales in America’s economy. This societal pressure leads to compelled individuals to go great lengths to achieve the elusive “ideal” body figure. Understandably, Ozempic, or any solution related to weight loss, creates immense appeal in such a context.

However, fatphobia must not be held solely accountable for Ozempic’s soaring success and popularity. Obesogenic factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle, increased fast-food intake, and lack of homemade meals are also to blame for the climbing obesity epidemic statistics. 

Although the future of Ozempic and other weight loss-related drugs are promising, maintaining a healthy relationship with food, your body, healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle are important for mental and physical health. Amidst this journey, it is important to remind ourselves that true health and happiness go beyond weight loss.


Ard, J., Fitch, A., Fruh, S., & Herman, L. (2021). Weight Loss and Maintenance Related to the Mechanism of Action of Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists. Advances in therapy38(6), 2821–2839.

Diabetes UK. (n.d.). Ozempic and weight loss: The facts behind the headlines.,glucose%20produced%20by%20the%20liver.

Healthline. (n.d.). Ozempic: Side effects, dosage, uses, and more.

Medical News Today. (n.d.). Ozempic: Uses, dosage, side effects, and more.

NPR. (2023). Ozempic: Weight loss drug and big business.

Ozempic. (n.d.). What is Ozempic?

Singh, G., Krauthamer, M., & Bjalme-Evans, M. (2022). Wegovy (semaglutide): a new weight loss drug for chronic weight management. Journal of investigative medicine : the official publication of the American Federation for Clinical Research70(1), 5–13.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (n.d.). FDA approves new drug for treatment of chronic weight management, the first since 2014.