August 2023 Newsletter

By: Dr. Gary Huber

Posted 08/08/2023

Is Semaglutide (Ozempic) right for you?
Dr. Gary Huber

Have you been besieged with all the hype on semaglutide (Ozempic)? Semaglutide is the latest weight loss rage and like most fads the facts aren't shared with the hype. Semaglutide is a drug developed to help diabetics control their blood sugar. But it was noted that its use often led to significant weight loss. So off to the races it went as the newest weight loss tool that caught the media’s eye. In truth, any drug that controls blood sugar will contribute to weight loss. The clamor for this drug was so great on the west coast that diabetics were having trouble getting their prescriptions as non-diabetics trying to lose 10 pounds were absorbing much of the supply.

Semaglutide is an injectable medication that creates a good amount of nausea and abdominal cramping. The dose has to be carefully and slowly increased over time to reduce the ill effects as you try to reach a dose that will be effective. Side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, heartburn, and burping. Apparently, for many people, giving yourself a shot that leads to vomiting and diarrhea is more attractive than exercise and carb reduction. To each their own. But here are a few factoids you should keep in mind.

If you are not diabetic, then your insurance is not likely to cover this very expensive medication. Non-diabetics pursuing this drug for the purpose of weight loss are going to pay a premium. Semaglutide is expensive but some practices are using their medical license to offer packages at a high dollar value.

Not uncommon to see packages priced at $1,500 for a 2-3 month prescription. High price for a few pounds of weight loss given that there are better and cheaper alternatives.

The biggest issue you should know is that if you are simply using this drug to try and lose that last 20 pounds then up to 42% of the weight you lose will be from muscle not fat. During normal weight loss there is always some degree of muscle loss but it is usually not more than 20-25% of the total weight. If you are not obese and not diabetic and using semaglutide then you can expect a higher amount of muscle loss and this would not be in your healthy best interest.


Do I prescribe semaglutide? Yes I do – when its appropriate. But given that we have so many other exceptional tools to facilitate weight loss in a healthy fashion I reserve this drug for the truly obese or diabetic where it can do more good than harm. So as you pick a path for healthy weight loss just be aware of facts and avoid hype. Fads can be fun but rarely successful long term.





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