Ozempic is in the news and social media. Stock of the branded Semaglutide diabetes medication, similar to Wegovy have run dry until possibly 2023. The clamor to buy alternatives to Ozempic over the counter such as PhenQ is in full swing.
Ozempic Alternative - Over the Counter
PhenQ - Fat Burner, Fat Blocker and Appetite Suppressant
PhenQ is an oral medication that can suppress appetite and reduce food cravings. It can also burn excess body fat and prevent the production of new fat cells. Although PhenQ has a different mechanism of action to Semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) it has its own advantages. PhenQ is cheap too, a month's supply is around $69 with discounts bringing the cost price down further. Wegovy and Ozempic have list prices starting at around $1300.
Although Ozempic injections are an FDA-approved treatment for type 2 diabetes, many people who are not diabetic are asking their doctors to prescribe Ozempic "off-label" for weight loss.
There is no great mystery about why this is happening. It has become common knowledge that one of the drug's most common side effects is appetite suppression.
The demand for Ozempic has been further fuelled by people sharing their weight loss results via TikTok and other social media networks.
However, although some doctors are happy to prescribe the drug off-label as a weight loss aid, others are not and there are plenty of medical practitioners who warn against using Ozempic injections in this way.
That's not surprising if you take a little time to learn about the drug. Although people make plenty of noise via social media networks when Ozempic helps them to lose a little weight, when it comes to the risks the drug may present, it's generally all quiet on the western front.
Many weight loss drugs can present serious health risks. For instance, Phentermine has the potential to cause heart attacks and strokes. This type of double-edged sword is nothing new.
However, if you are thinking of injecting Ozempic, you need to be aware animal testing suggests there may a risk of thyroid cancer. 
At the moment, it's unclear if Ozempic also presents this risk to humans. Certainly, there have been no reports of it yet but the drug has only been available since 2017. Who knows what the future may hold?
Ozempic Shortages and Supply Problems
There are several reports in newspapers, magazines and social media that Ozempic and Wegovy (branded versions of Semaglutide) are in short supply. The shortage is largely due to celebrity endorsements on social media; perhaps the most high profile is a tweet from Elon Musk who suggested (citation needed - unverified) he had been taking Wegovy (a branded version of Semaglutide) in October and November.
How Do Ozempic Injections Work?
Ozempic injections provide Semaglutide. The drug was developed in Europe by the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.
In addition to being sold as Ozempic, Semaglutide is also marketed as Wegovy. However, Wegovy is intended for weight loss, whereas Ozempic is not. Yep! It's a strange situation. Go figure.
Semaglutide is a GLP-1 receptor agonist. Drugs of this class mimic the actions of a metabolic hormone called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1). This stimulates insulin secretion and can lower blood sugar that is beneficial to people with diabetes.
GLP-1 receptor agonists also slow gastric emptying. This increases satiety, reducing the desire to eat. 
Although Ozemepic (Semaglutide) injections have undoubted value as a diabetes medication and appear to be useful to promote weight loss too, we are still left with that double-edged sword.
Research published by the American Diabetes Association highlights the controversy surrounding the use of GLP-1–based therapy, drawing attention to the risk of malignant diseases like pancreatic carcinoma and thyroid cancer.
After an in-depth evaluation of numerous studies, the authors of the paper concluded: "There is neither firm evidence in favor of this hypothesis nor evidence strong enough to rule out any such increased risk based on results available at present."
This was back in 2013 before Semaglutide became available. Nearly a decade later, the controversy remains. 
How to Use Ozempic
Regardless of whether you are using Ozempic for diabetes or weight loss, you only need one injection per week. It's a pretty simple medication to use but you will need to be comfortable with the idea of self-administering it.
If you don't like the idea of injectable medication, Ozempic will not be a good choice.
There is no need to worry about filling syringes from ampules, Ozempic is distributed in multi-dose "pens." Each one comes with several disposable needles that push onto the end of the pen before use. You use a fresh needle every time and dispose of it safely after use.
Although many medications need to be injected into muscles or veins, this is not the case with Ozempic. In fact, you need to be very careful to avoid these areas.
Injecting Ozempic into muscles or veins would present additional dangers.
When you inject Ozempic, you need to place the tip of the needle into the tissue just under the skin.
The thigh, upper arm, and abdomen are the most common injection sites.
When you are using Ozempic injections for diabetes or weight loss, you never begin with the full dose. The initial Ozempic injection is only 0.25 mg per week. You maintain this dose for the first month of treatment.
Presuming your doctor or healthcare provider does not become aware of any unfavorable reactions, you increase the dose to 0.5 mg Semaglutide during the second month of treatment.
Ozempic pens have handy selector mechanisms that make it easy to set the dose to 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg Semaglutide. As we pointed out earlier, you cannot fault Ozempic when it comes to ease of use.
Ozempic is also available in pens that deliver 1 mg or 2 mg doses of Semaglutide. People who are using the drug change to this pen from month three onward.
Although the doctor or healthcare provider who prescribes Ozempic may decide to keep the dose at 1 mg of Semaglutide per week, it's quite common to increase the dose to 2 mg per week from month four onward.
People who are receiving Semaglutide as Wegovy take up to 2.4 mg per week.
Ozempic Results: What Level of Weight Loss Can You Expect?
Although many people using Ozempic off-label for weight loss report good results, most of the research that supports using Semaglutide to reduce obesity was conducted on people taking it as Wegovy. As we have already pointed out, this entails a slightly larger maximum dose (20%).
The results of a clinical trial conducted on overweight and obese adults in 2021 are very promising. Data from the study shows 2.4 mg of Semaglutide per week produced a mean body weight reduction of 14.9%.
The members of the placebo group lost weight too but the mean reduction was only 2.4%. This suggests the medication made a big difference.
Fortunately, the most commonly reported Semaglutide side effects were nausea and diarrhea. 
However, it's important to be aware that all the study participants were taking other sensible steps to lose weight. The results were not due to the Semaglutide injections alone.
It's also worth noting the study was funded by Novo Nordisk. That makes it hard to consider it unbiased.
Nevertheless, the word on the street is that Semaglutide works for weight loss, though Wegovy is likely to offer greater benefits than Ozempic injections.
One patient of a weight loss clinic in Florida says the drug helped her to drop 20 pounds in 8 weeks.
Reports of reasonable weight losses due to Ozempic injections are common across social media. A lot of people also heap praise on the drug's ability to control hunger. We have already pointed out that the good online vibe has done much to contribute to the medication's present popularity.
However, we have also pointed out people tend to focus on one side of the coin. There is a flipside and it exists whether you turn the coin over to take a look at it or not.
Ozempic Interaction Issues and Side Effects
As with any other prescription medication, Ozempic can present undesirable interaction issues if it's used alongside certain other drugs.
If you get Ozempic via your doctor, this should not be an issue because your doctor will be aware of your medical history and the drugs that you take.
However, if you get Ozempic with an alternate source, such as a weight loss clinic, it's extremely important to be honest about your state of health and any medications you are taking.
Ozempic injections have the potential to cause many side effects. The possible risk of pancreatic and thyroid cancers is the most worrying of all. 
Other Ozempic side effects may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Stomach pain
- Vision changes
- Allergic reaction
- Changes in heart rate
- Low blood sugar levels
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
Let's not forget, Semaglutide is a relatively new drug and some issues may only become apparent after long-term use. Additional risks may be reported/discovered in the future.
Ozempic Vs Wegovy: Which Semaglutide Injection is Best for Weight Loss?
The FDA approved the use of Wegovy as a prescription injection to help patients lose weight in 2021. It provides more Semaglutide than Ozempic and will probably deliver superior results. The risk of side effects will be greater as well.
However, as with all the other FDA-approved anti-obesity treatments, getting a Wegovy prescription is not easy. A doctor or healthcare provider are only permitted to prescribe the medication (diabetes medications) to people who are extremely overweight or obese.
Unless your body mass index (BMI) is 30 or higher, you can pretty much forget about being able to use Wegovy injections. It's unlikely to happen.
Doctors can bend the rules a little and prescribe Wegovy to people with a BMI of 27 to 29, but only if they are suffering from one or more medical conditions, such as coronary heart disease or osteoporosis.
Ozempic is a different matter entirely. It's intended for diabetics (to lower blood glucose levels), not people who want to lose weight. The strict distribution regulations do not apply. That's why so many people are urging their doctors to prescribe Ozempic injections off-label as a general weight loss aid.
People who are successful in getting a prescription may be neither overweight nor obese. Some people even manage to obtain it when they only need to lose a few pounds.
Many doctors are very critical of using Ozempic injections as a vanity prescription drug for losing weight. However, they often point out that using Ozempic off-label may be a good option for patients who have serious health issues, such as coronary heart disease, and, though overweight, are not heavy enough to be eligible for Wegovy prescriptions.
Why Ozempic Is Not a Magic Bullet
People who find the idea of using Ozempic injections to lose weight attractive, often see them as a quick-fix solution.
However, as with crash dieting, this type of quick-fix seldom offers lasting value and has the potential to encourage yo-yo dieting embellished with needles.
If you want to attain lasting weight loss results, you need to implement appropriate lifestyle changes. Above all else, you need to take note of the type of food you are putting into your mouth, along with the quantity. The fact that you gained weight in the first place shows you have been getting things wrong.
Getting plenty of exercise is another way to reduce weight and ensure the body fat you lose stays off. Exercise can also greatly improve your physical and mental health, along with your body composition.
There are natural alternatives and over-the-counter (OTC) diet pills that can help you to do this. PhenQ and Zotrim are two of the most notable examples.
Zotrim is a herbal appetite suppressant that has outperformed prescription drugs in clinical trials. PhenQ is a powerful natural appetite suppressant too. It also boosts metabolism to further speed up weight loss and provides additional benefits as well.
Although PhenQ and Zotrim are very effective and have long money-back guarantees, neither one has the same TikTok presence as Ozempic so you may not have heard of them.
That's a sad situation because both options work well alongside a healthy diet and exercise to deliver long-lasting, maintainable weight loss without the risk of side effects at a cost of less than $80 per month.
Ozempic Alternatives FAQs
How much does Ozempic cost?
Using Ozempic injections to treat diabetes and lose weight is expensive.
Although the cost can vary depending on whether you are getting it via your doctor or a weight loss clinic, you are probably looking at an expenditure of at least $500-$700 per month. The list price is around $1300 before discount.
Depending on your level of obesity, your medical insurance (private or commercial insurance) may help ease the financial burden but there is no getting away from the fact, Ozempic injections are an expensive option to choose.
Are there cheaper alternatives to Ozempic?
There are natural alternatives to Ozempic that can suppress appetite that are cheaper. PhenQ for example, is an oral medication that can also aid fat loss, reduce food craving and increase energy levels, it is priced at $69 a month. Ozempic is priced around $1300 a month (list price) - so PhenQ is a cost effective natural alternative.
Can I buy Ozempic over the counter?
If your body mass index is over 27 you may be eligible for the prescription drug Semaglutide (branded as Ozempic or Wegovy). Your prescription can be redeemed at hospital based pharmacies including Walmart, Walgreens and CVS. Semaglutide is not available to buy in store at Costco or GNC or online from Amazon.
How many needles does an Ozempic pen come with?
There are six 32 gauge disposable needles included with each kit.
Can you drink alcohol while using Ozempic?
Drinking alcohol while using Ozempic is unwise. The medication can lower blood sugar levels. Combining it with alcohol can lower it further, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia.
Combining alcohol with the diabetes drugs like Ozempic also increases the risk of pancreatitis.
Does Ozempic make you feel tired?
Although Ozempic has been reported to cause fatigue, this reaction appears to be restricted to less than 5% of users.
3. Do GLP-1–Based Therapies Increase Cancer Risk?: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920789/
4. Once-Weekly Semaglutide in Adults with Overweight or Obesity: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33567185/
The above is a sponsored post, the views expressed are those of the sponsor/author and do not represent the stand and views of Outlook Editorial.