How to Get Prescribed Ozempic For Weight Loss

Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM

Reviewed by Mike Bohl, MD

Written by Grace Gallagher

Published 04/07/2024

Genetics or hormonal changes can pose challenges for losing weight, as you may know firsthand. Like many others struggling to shed excess pounds, you might be wondering if the injectable medication Ozempic® is right for you — and if so, how to get prescribed Ozempic for weight loss.

So, how do you get an Ozempic prescription for weight loss? There are a few hurdles to cross, but if you qualify, it can actually be relatively easy.

We’ve got you covered with info on how to get Ozempic prescribed for weight loss, where to get Ozempic and the cost of the medication without insurance (because unfortunately, most insurance plans don’t cover weight loss meds).

Before we sort out how and where to get this buzzy drug, let’s cover the basics.

Ozempic is a brand name for semaglutide. The injectable medication is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating type 2 diabetes.

The diabetes drug also happens to curb hunger — that’s why it’s sometimes prescribed for weight loss.

Ozempic is part of a class of drugs known as GLP-1 agonists. For those who like to dive really deep into the science, GLP-1 (short for glucagon-like peptide-1) is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates insulin and promotes feelings of fullness.

So, Ozempic and other drugs with semaglutide as the active ingredient (more on these later) essentially mimic GLP-1, which can help the stomach empty more slowly.

Semaglutide also reduces cravings and increases insulin secretion by the pancreas, lowering blood sugar levels. This means you’re less hungry and feel full longer.

Like most medications, you can’t just add the drug to your online cart or pluck it from a drugstore shelf — you’ll need an Ozempic prescription. You can get one of those in person or on certain telehealth platforms.

The short answer is yes, Ozempic can be prescribed off-label for weight loss. Off-label use means a medication is prescribed by a healthcare provider for something other than what it’s approved for by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — in this case, type 2 diabetes.

But getting an off-label prescription isn’t always cut-and-dried (or covered by insurance, for that matter).

You can get a prescription for Ozempic for weight loss from a licensed healthcare provider following a physical exam and medical evaluation. It’s also possible to get an online prescription from a telehealth provider who may ask questions or request health records to see if the medication is appropriate for you.

How to Get Ozempic in Person

Wondering who can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss? You don’t need to find a specialist, but the drug can only be prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider (like your primary care physician, a physician’s assistant or a nurse practitioner).

Getting Ozempic in person can be a good idea because your provider will do a thorough physical health exam, talk through existing medical conditions and order any necessary lab tests. They’ll also be able to show you how to do weight loss injections on yourself if that’s a concern.

If you want to get Ozempic in person, make an appointment to see your primary care physician or a general practitioner and let them know you’re interested in weight loss medications.

Where to Get Ozempic Online

Now that everything from dog food to donuts can be sent directly to your doorstep (homebodies, rejoice), getting prescribed Ozempic for weight loss online is likely simpler than you think. You can get Ozempic online, but you’ll need a telehealth appointment to do so.

While the process of getting Ozempic online varies by provider, they’ll typically ask you a few basic questions and determine your BMI (body mass index — more on that in a minute) to see if you’re eligible. Then you’ll be connected with a prescribing healthcare professional who’ll take it from there.

Many telehealth providers prescribe semaglutide.

Some Ozempic telehealth providers offer additional services like weight loss coaching or a customized weight loss program (typically for an additional fee). Others may have same-day appointments, and some may allow you to pay for the appointment with insurance. Still, most insurance companies won’t cover the cost of the medication itself unless it’s for diabetes.

Prescribed online

Weight loss treatment that puts you first

If you’re looking for Ozempic for weight loss, your provider may calculate your body mass index based on your current height and weight to get an idea of body fat.

While the BMI measurement is imperfect (it doesn’t consider things like age, ethnicity or muscle mass), it can be a quick and inexpensive way to assess whether someone has overweight or obesity and qualifies for certain medications.

Wegovy® is another semaglutide drug that is approved for treating obesity and situations where excess weight is accompanied by weight-related medical problems.

More specifically, FDA guidelines state that to be appropriate for Wegovy, you must have a BMI of 30 or greater, or a BMI of at least 27 with at least one weight-related comorbidity (things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease or sleep apnea). Some providers may use the Wegovy guidelines when prescribing Ozempic.

Ozempic Shortages

Eligibility requirements for Ozempic prescriptions vary, especially while the drug faces shortages.

Novo Nordisk®, the parent company of Ozempic, indicated that shortages of the medication (due to increased demand and the discontinuation of certain Ozempic pens) are improving, but they still exist.

With that in mind, providers may be choosier about who they prescribe Ozempic to, and priority might go to those with diabetes.

Here’s the not-great news: your health insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of Ozempic if it’s used for weight management (it may be a different story if you’re prescribed the drug for diabetes).

Weight loss drugs are rarely covered by insurance. This could change in the future as the industry evolves, but for now, it’s an unfortunate aspect of Ozempic.

How Much Does Ozempic Cost?

To put it mildly, Ozempic isn’t cheap. The list price for one Ozempic pen (which contains two to four doses) is upwards of $900, generally.

The cost of Ozempic (and lack of insurance coverage) is one consideration when deciding whether it’s right for you.

Also, Ozempic isn’t a one-and-done situation. A 2022 study showed that after a year without semaglutide injections, participants had regained an average of two-thirds of their lost body weight. So, factor in the cost of continued use when crunching numbers.

How to Get Ozempic Without Insurance

The process of getting Ozempic is the same whether insurance covers it or not. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll still need to consult a healthcare professional in person or through a telehealth platform to get a prescription.

When filling that prescription, you’ll pay for it outright at the pharmacy instead of having them bill your insurance.

If you’re wondering where to get a prescription filled online, check out the FDA’s tips for assuring your online pharmacy is safe and licensed. It’s important to buy from a reputable pharmacy, as the FDA has found illegally marketed and potentially counterfeit semaglutide available online.

If you’re super by-the-book (big eldest-sister energy), off-label drug use may seem scary or like you’re breaking the rules — but the practice is legal and quite common. There’s no need to feel sheepish asking about a medication that may help you.

Tell your provider why you’re interested in Ozempic — a good doctor won’t judge you or your desire to use a weight loss medication.

They’ll likely ask about your medical history, go over your eligibility and consider anything that might make you a bad candidate for Ozempic. From there, you can work together to develop a treatment plan that may or may not include weight loss injections.

Ozempic can be a helpful piece of the weight loss puzzle, but it’s not without its side effects.

Common side effects of Ozempic include:

  • Stomach pain 

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Heartburn

  • Low blood sugar (though it typically doesn’t cause hypoglycemia)

One study found that the GI (gastrointestinal) side effects of Ozempic are typically mild to moderate. Still, if you’re not sure the medication is right for you, it might be worth considering alternative weight loss medications and lifestyle tweaks — we’ll go over these below.

Who Shouldn’t Take Ozempic

According to Ozempic’s safety pamphlet, the medication could be unsafe for people with acute gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, diabetic retinopathy, kidney problems or a family history of thyroid cancer.

Also, be sure to let your provider know if you’re pregnant, trying to conceive or breastfeeding.

Many GLP-1 agonist medications that work similarly to Ozempic are now available. There are also other medications that can be used for weight management — both on label and off label. These include metformin, topiramate, Wegovy, Saxenda®, Zepbound®, Mounjaro® and naltrexone-bupropion.

Metformin

Metformin (generic for Glucophage®, Riomet® and Glumetza®) is a prescription medication that’s FDA-approved to treat diabetes, but sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss.

While it’s not totally understood how metformin helps with weight loss, it’s thought it might work similarly to Ozempic. Metformin appears to increase how much GLP-1 the body makes. By signaling a feeling of fullness to your body, you’ll likely eat less because you don’t feel as hungry.

Metformin typically comes in pill or liquid form — but never an injectable. For more info, check out our blog on Ozempic versus metformin for weight loss.

Topiramate

Topiramate (generic for Trokendi XR®, Qudexy XR® and Topamax®) is typically used for treating epilepsy and migraines, but it’s also approved for weight management in those with a BMI over thirty when combined with another medication, phentermine. This prescription drug suppresses appetite, often resulting in reduced calorie intake.

Wegovy

We already talked about Wegovy, so we’ll keep it brief. The active ingredient in Wegovy is semaglutide, but unlike Ozempic, it’s FDA-approved for weight loss.

It’s also an injectable and typically has higher doses of semaglutide than Ozempic (which can sometimes mean more side effects).

Saxenda®

Saxenda is an injectable GLP-1 agonist medication like Ozempic and Wegovy. You know the drill — these medications suppress appetite and reduce cravings for fatty foods.

The main difference is that Saxenda’s active ingredient is liraglutide, which works similarly to semaglutide but isn’t identical.

Zepbound and Mounjaro

Zepbound and Mounjaro are two other injectables used to treat obesity. They’re both brand names for generic tirzepatide — Mounjaro is approved for diabetes and Zepbound is approved for weight management.

Tirzepatide works similarly to semaglutide, except it’s a dual agonist. This means that in addition to activating GLP-1, it also activates glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP).

That’s a mouthful, but what you really need to know is that tirzepatide may cause even more weight loss than Ozempic or Wegovy.

Naltrexone-Bupropion

Like a married couple with a hyphenated last name, naltrexone-bupropion (Contrave®) is simply a fusion of these two FDA-approved drugs.

Naltrexone is commonly used to treat alcohol and drug dependence, and it also reduces the reward effects of food. Bupropion is used for the treatment of depression or to help quit smoking. With their powers combined, this medication reduces appetite and helps control food cravings.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference when it comes to losing weight. And if you do opt to take weight loss medication, it’ll be more effective in addition to diet and exercise.

Here are a few ways to support your weight loss goals — with or without medication.

Eat a Nutritious Diet

Adjusting your diet in an attempt to lose weight isn’t groundbreaking — not like some of the innovative drugs now on the market. But the tried-and-true method can be effective.

Small tweaks like adding more lean protein to your diet or rethinking your snack game (yes, healthy snacks are definitely encouraged when losing weight) can have a big effect.

Get Regular Exercise

No one says you need to train for a marathon or go anywhere near a spin class (unless you want to) to meet your weight loss goals and feel your best, but moving your body more can definitely help.

You have to burn about 3,500 calories to lose one pound of fat mass, so any amount of moving and calorie-burning you can do will help you get to your goal.

Limit Alcohol

As anyone who’s ever gotten late-night pizza knows, alcohol doesn’t make you feel full. So, you get extra calories from the booze itself, plus the additional snack foods you might indulge in after the fact. 

A 2018 study found that heavy alcohol drinkers may be “at risk for suboptimal long-term weight loss.”

This study was done specifically on people with diabetes. However, you don’t need to be a medical researcher to know it’s much easier to hit snooze than to hit the gym after a night of drinking — another way alcohol can mess with your weight loss goals.

Can Ozempic be prescribed for weight loss? Yes, it can — as an off-label use for the medication.

Here’s what to remember about how and where to get Ozempic for weight loss:

  • There aren’t specific Ozempic qualifications when it’s prescribed for weight loss, but many prescribers will use BMI as a guide to see if it’s appropriate for you. The general guidelines are that you either need to have a BMI of 30 or more or a BMI of 27 or more with a comorbidity (another weight-related medical condition).

  • Since it’s so popular, there are currently shortages of Ozempic and Wegovy. This means it may be difficult to fill your prescription quickly.

  • You should never try to skirt an Ozempic prescription or buy it from a sketchy website. This can be dangerous, especially since the medication is injectable.

  • Weight loss medications can definitely help make the road smoother, but they work best when combined with things like healthier lifestyle choices, a body-friendly diet and others. 

  • Weight loss is a very personal journey, and in the end, the choice to seek out a medication like semaglutide is entirely yours.

Want more? Our Ozempic for weight loss guide has tons of info, including details about semaglutide safety and efficacy.

And if you’ve decided Ozempic isn’t right for you but are interested in another weight loss medication, you can start a free online assessment here to find out what options may be a better fit.

21 Sources

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  6. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (n.d.). HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESCRIBING INFORMATION. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2023/215256s007lbl.pdf
  7. NovoCare. (n.d.) Find out the cost for Ozempic. https://www.novocare.com/diabetes/products/ozempic/explaining-list-price.html
  8. Wilding, J.P.H. et al. (2022). Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide: The STEP 1 trial extension. https://dom-pubs.pericles-prod.literatumonline.com/doi/10.1111/dom.14725
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  11. Ozempic. (n.d.) Important Safety Information. https://www.ozempic.com/important-safety-information.html
  12. Wilding, J.P.H. et al. (2021). Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity. The New England Journal of Medicine, 384(11), 989-1002. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2032183
  13. Mahapatra, M., et al. (2022, Jan).Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist with cardiovascular benefits for management of type 2 diabetes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8736331/
  14. Bergmann, N.C., et al. (2022, Sept). Semaglutide for the treatment of overweight and obesity: A review. https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1111/dom.14863
  15. Fariba, K., Saadabadi, A. (2023, Jan). Topiramate. StatPearls. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554530/
  16. Wharton, S., et al. (2021). Gastrointestinal tolerability of once-weekly semaglutide 2.4 mg in adults with overweight or obesity, and the relationship between gastrointestinal adverse events and weight loss. https://dom-pubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/dom.14551
  17. Blundell, J., et al. (2017). Effects of once-weekly semaglutide on appetite, energy intake, control of eating, food preference and body weight in subjects with obesity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5573908/
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  19. Chavda, V., et al. (2022). Tirzepatide, a New Era of Dual-Targeted Treatment for Diabetes and Obesity: A Mini-Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9268041/
  20. Frías, J., et al. (2021). Tirzepatide versus Semaglutide Once Weekly in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejmoa2107519
  21. Sherman, M., et al. (2016). Naltrexone/Bupropion ER (Contrave). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4771085/
Editorial Standards

Hims & Hers has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references. See a mistake? Let us know at [email protected]!

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Learn more about our editorial standards here.

Mike Bohl, MD

Dr. Mike Bohl is a licensed physician, a Medical Advisor at Hims & Hers, and the Director of Scientific & Medical Content at a stealth biotech startup, where he is involved in pharmaceutical drug development. Prior to joining Hims & Hers, Dr. Bohl spent several years working in digital health, focusing on patient education. He has also worked in medical journalism for The Dr. Oz Show (receiving recognition for contributions from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences when the show won Outstanding Informative Talk Show at the 2016–2017 Daytime Emmy® Awards) and at Sharecare. He is a Medical Expert Board Member at Eat This, Not That! and a Board Member at International Veterinary Outreach.

Dr. Bohl obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Doctor of Medicine from Brown University, his Master of Public Health from Columbia University, and his Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies—Journalism from Harvard University. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Healthcare Leadership at Cornell University. Dr. Bohl trained in internal medicine with a focus on community health at NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Bohl is Certified in Public Health by the National Board of Public Health Examiners, Medical Writer Certified by the American Medical Writers Association, a certified Editor in the Life Sciences by the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences, a Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Nutrition Coach by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a Board Certified Medical Affairs Specialist by the Accreditation Council for Medical Affairs. He has graduate certificates in Digital Storytelling and Marketing Management & Digital Strategy from Harvard Extension School and certificates in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Cornell Law School.

In addition to his written work, Dr. Bohl has experience creating medical segments for radio and producing patient education videos. He has also spent time conducting orthopedic and biomaterial research at Case Western Reserve University and University Hospitals of Cleveland and practicing clinically as a general practitioner on international medical aid projects with Medical Ministry International.

Dr. Bohl lives in Manhattan and enjoys biking, resistance training, sailing, scuba diving, skiing, tennis, and traveling. You can find Dr. Bohl on LinkedIn for more information.

Publications

  • Younesi, M., Knapik, D. M., Cumsky, J., Donmez, B. O., He, P., Islam, A., Learn, G., McClellan, P., Bohl, M., Gillespie, R. J., & Akkus, O. (2017). Effects of PDGF-BB delivery from heparinized collagen sutures on the healing of lacerated chicken flexor tendon in vivo. Acta biomaterialia, 63, 200–209. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1742706117305652?via%3Dihub

  • Gebhart, J. J., Weinberg, D. S., Bohl, M. S., & Liu, R. W. (2016). Relationship between pelvic incidence and osteoarthritis of the hip. Bone & joint research, 5(2), 66–72. https://boneandjoint.org.uk/Article/10.1302/2046-3758.52.2000552

  • Gebhart, J. J., Bohl, M. S., Weinberg, D. S., Cooperman, D. R., & Liu, R. W. (2015). Pelvic Incidence and Acetabular Version in Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis. Journal of pediatric orthopedics, 35(6), 565–570. https://journals.lww.com/pedorthopaedics/abstract/2015/09000/pelvic_incidence_and_acetabular_version_in_slipped.5.aspx

  • Islam, A., Bohl, M. S., Tsai, A. G., Younesi, M., Gillespie, R., & Akkus, O. (2015). Biomechanical evaluation of a novel suturing scheme for grafting load-bearing collagen scaffolds for rotator cuff repair. Clinical biomechanics (Bristol, Avon), 30(7), 669–675. https://www.clinbiomech.com/article/S0268-0033(15)00143-6/fulltext

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