The facts about getting Ozempic for weight loss in the UK

Dr Babak Ashrafi

Medically reviewed by

Dr Babak Ashrafi

There’s been a lot of buzz around Ozempic and weight loss. Unfortunately, the truth often gets lost in the rumours, so we’re here to set it straight.

Ozempic is available for weight loss in the UK, but it’s only licensed for people with type 2 diabetes. It is possible to get an off-licence prescription for Ozempic if you’re not diabetic, but this kind of prescribing has led to a recent shortage of the medication for people who need it to treat their diabetes. Our doctors at ASDA don’t prescribe Ozempic off-licence for weight loss.

There are alternative weight loss treatments available in the UK, including Wegovy, Saxenda and Orlistat.


What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription injection treatment available in the UK licensed for treating type 2 diabetes. The medication contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which is a manmade hormone that works like your natural hormones do to control insulin levels. It can affect both your appetite and blood sugar levels as well.

What is Ozempic used for?

Ozempic is used by people with type 2 diabetes to help control their blood sugar. It contains the active ingredient semaglutide, which is an artificial version of specific hormones your body releases after you’ve eaten.

Ozempic can also be used to treat obesity by reducing your appetite. But, Ozempic isn’t licensed to help with weight loss in the UK for people who don’t have diabetes.

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Can you buy Ozempic for weight loss in the UK?

Since Ozempic isn’t licensed for weight loss in people who don’t have diabetes, the only way they can get treatment is if it’s prescribed off-label. Not all doctors will prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight loss. The NHS does not prescribe Ozempic off-label and neither does Asda Online Doctor.

If you have type 2 diabetes, you can see your regular GP to discuss starting Ozempic treatment. Some online services may also allow you to get Ozempic treatment online.

Where can I buy Ozempic online in the UK?

Once you have a prescription for Ozempic, you can get it filled at most UK pharmacies. You may also be able to buy Ozempic online from some online doctor or pharmacy services. But, due to ongoing shortages, the medication is rarely in stock at the moment.

How can I get my doctor to prescribe me Ozempic?

If you’re not diabetic, a doctor can prescribe an off-licence treatment, even if your regular GP works for the NHS. What they can’t do is give you an NHS prescription since the NHS doesn’t allow them to prescribe Ozempic this way. What this means is you would have to pay full price for Ozempic, much more than the standard NHS prescription fee.

There’s no guarantee your doctor will offer you an off-licence prescription. Healthcare decisions are made together between doctors and patients. Even if you think Ozempic for weight loss is right for you, that doesn’t mean your doctor has to agree to prescribing it for you. A doctor would only consider off-licence ozempic if you were clinically overweight and after you’d tried other treatment options first. Even then, they may not agree Ozempic is right for you.

If you’re diabetic, discuss with your doctor whether Ozempic is the right treatment for you. They may suggest other treatments first based on your personal circumstances, like Metformin.

Ozempic price: where is the cheapest place to buy Ozempic in the UK?

If you get Ozempic prescribed on the NHS and you don’t pay for your prescriptions, then you can get it for free. Even if you do pay for prescriptions, you’ll only pay the NHS’s standard prescription cost. If you get an off-label prescription for weight loss or a private prescription, you’ll have to pay full price for Ozempic.

Buying a medication with the same active ingredient as Ozempic

Wegovy is a medication that contains semaglutide, just like Ozempic. Unlike Ozempic, Wegovy is licensed for treating weight loss in people who don’t have diabetes. It’s approved for use in the UK and available now.

Alternative weight loss treatments

There are a few alternative medications that work like Ozempic, both for weight loss and blood sugar control. If you’re considering Ozempic and want to know your options, or you’ve tried Ozempic and it isn’t for you, alternatives for weight loss include:

And, alternatives for diabetes include:

  • Rybelsus
  • Metformin
  • Trulicity

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Best Ozempic alternatives for weight loss treatment

Since Ozempic isn’t readily available for weight loss in the UK, it’s a good idea to consider other treatments that could support you during your weight loss journey. Check out some of the best alternatives to Ozempic available right now.

Wegovy vs Ozempic

Wegovy is almost the exact same medication as Ozempic. They both have the same active ingredient, but Ozempic is for treating diabetes and Wegovy is for treating weight loss in people with or without diabetes.

Wegovy Ozempic
Active ingredient



% Chance of losing 5% body weight



% Chance of losing 10% body weight



Available for weight loss in the UK?


Yes, but only licensed for type 2 diabetes

Available doses

0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 1.7mg, and 2.4mg

0.25mg, 0.5mg, and 1mg


Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk

*These numbers come from a study of 2.4mg semaglutide (the active ingredient in Wegovy at the maintenance dose)

**These numbers come from a study of 1mg semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic at the maintenance dose)

Saxenda vs Ozempic

Saxenda is another medication that’s a lot like Ozempic. It doesn’t have exactly the same active ingredient but they both work in the same way. Saxenda has to be injected every day instead of every week like Ozempic.

Saxenda Ozempic
Active ingredient



% Chance of losing 5% body weight



% Chance of losing 10% body weight



Available for weight loss in the UK?


Yes, but only licensed for type 2 diabetes

Available doses

0.6mg, 1.2mg, 1.8mg, 2.4mg and 3.0mg

0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg

Daily or weekly doses




Novo Nordisk

Novo Nordisk

*These numbers come from the EMC's information on Saxenda

**These numbers come from a study of 1mg semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic at the maintenance dose)

Orlistat vs Ozempic

Orlistat is a different weight loss treatment that works by stopping your body from absorbing fat. It is sold under the brand name Xenical and can be bought online from online doctor services like Asda online doctor.

Orlistat Ozempic
Active ingredient



Type of treatment



Available for weight loss in the UK?


Yes, but only licensed for type 2 diabetes

How does it work?

Stops your body absorbing fat

Reduces your appetite

% Chance of losing 10% body weight

28% to 38%*



Generic, can be manufactured by anyone

Novo Nordisk

*This number was taken from a study of orlistat

**This numbers come from a study of 1mg semaglutide (the active ingredient in Ozempic at the maintenance dose)

How does Ozempic work for your body?

Ozempic works by acting just like specific hormones naturally produced by your body after you eat. By mimicking these hormones, it can reduce blood sugar levels, decrease appetite and make food travel more slowly through your digestive system.

How long does Ozempic take to work?

It takes around 2 to 3 doses for you to start feeling the effects of Ozempic. This is because it takes a few doses before the amount of Ozempic in your body builds up enough to have an effect. Since you take Ozempic weekly, that means it could be 1 or 2 weeks after your first dose before you first feel a difference.

You should usually notice a difference by 6 weeks. If you don’t notice anything after 8 weeks, you might want to go back to your doctor and discuss switching to a different treatment.

It takes a lot longer for you to start losing weight because weight loss requires long-term commitment to a weight loss plan. Even with the help of Ozempic, it can take up to 68 weeks to see the 5% weight loss studies have shown Ozempic can cause.

Is Ozempic a good drug for weight loss?

Because Ozempic slows down how fast food moves through your body and affects appetite regulation, it helps you feel fuller for longer. When you’re on a diet and exercise plan, it can be hard not to overeat. Ozempic stops you from feeling so hungry, making it easier to stick to your weight loss plan.

Ozempic is only meant to help with weight loss in people who have type 2 diabetes. It’s not licensed as a general weight loss medication for everyone. At Asda online doctor, we don’t offer Ozempic as a weight loss treatment, but we do offer alternatives like Wegovy, Saxenda and orlistat.

See the section on ‘alternative weight loss and diabetes treatments’ for more information.

6 week plan Ozempic weight loss results

After 6 weeks you should notice a difference to your appetite. But, that doesn’t mean you will definitely see significant weight loss after 6 weeks. Weight loss takes a long time and commitment to diet and exercise. If you are able to stick to your weight loss plan you should see results from Ozempic eventually.

Studies about how effective is Ozempic for weight loss

A study on the active ingredient in Ozempic, semaglutide, and data taken from the Electronic Medicines Compendium shows that on Ozempic you have:

  • a 45% chance of losing at least 5% weight
  • a 17% chance of losing at least 10% weight

Ozempic reviews

The best reviews for Ozempic are from patients who have used Ozempic themselves. There are a number of sites where patients are available to post reviews of medications they’ve used, rate them and share their experiences while on them.

Across a number of patient review sites, Ozempic reviews show that it is rated:

Ozempic side effects reviews

Reviews of the side effects of Ozempic on show it’s rated 2.7 out of 5.

The most common side effect people get from Ozempic is nausea, which affects just over 15% of people using the 1mg dose. Other common side effects include:

  • vomiting, 9.2% chance on 1mg
  • diarrhoea, 8.8% chance on 1mg
  • stomach pains, 5.3% chance on 1mg
  • constipation, 3.1% chance on 1mg

See our side effects section below for more information.

Ozempic dosage

Ozempic comes in 3 main doses (sometimes 4 if a doctor wants to prescribe the higher 2mg dose). But, an Ozempic pen has a range of doses that you need to ‘click through’ to set the right dose for you.

You will usually stay on your starting dose for a month before switching to the medium dose and then up to the highest maintenance dose.

Dose When to take it


first 4 weeks


weeks 5 to 8


week 9 onwards

Ozempic dosage for weight loss

When used for weight loss, Ozempic is usually prescribed in 3 doses, 0.25mg, 0.5mg and 1mg.

  • 0.25mg for the first 4 weeks
  • 0.5mg from weeks 5 to 8
  • 1mg from week 9 onwards

In some cases, a doctor might move you up to 2mg of Ozempic if it still isn’t having any effect at 1mg.

The dosing is similar when Ozempic is used to control blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. The only difference is they usually stop at 0.5mg and only move up to 1mg or 2mg if the lower doses don’t work.

How to use Ozempic

A guide to where you can inject Ozempic on your body. Choose Upper arms, Upper Legs, or Abdomen.

Take your Ozempic as instructed by your doctor. Your medication will come with a leaflet that gives you extra information about how to use it.

Ozempic should be taken once a week. Try to take it at the same time and on the same day every week. You can take it any time of day that suits you and you don’t need to worry about fitting it around meals.

Who should not use Ozempic?

Ozempic is not safe for anyone who is allergic to semaglutide or any of the other ingredients in the medication.

Ozempic is also not right for anyone who hasn’t had treatment approved by a doctor. A doctor needs to check Ozempic is right for you before prescribing it.

Foods to avoid while taking Ozempic

There are no foods you have to avoid completely. Ozempic won’t react to any food and it’s ok to take it with or without a meal.

But, it’s important to remember that Ozempic doesn’t help you lose weight unless you maintain a proper diet at the same time. Also a bad diet can make some of Ozempic’s side effects stronger or more likely.

To get the best effect from Ozempic, cut down on:

  • sugary foods and drinks
  • high fat foods
  • calorie dense foods like refined carbohydrates and processed red meats

Ozempic and alcohol

Alcohol won’t react directly with your Ozempic, but since they can both lower your blood sugar it’s a good idea to drink less. You should also keep an eye out for any dizziness while drinking on Ozempic.

Drinking can also make diabetes worse and make weight loss harder because it contains calories as well and tends to lead to overeating.

Long-term use: do you have to stay on Ozempic forever?

You can use Ozempic long-term. Using it long-term is fine as long as it’s working, you aren’t having any serious side effects, and you’re still overweight if that’s what you’re using it for. Your doctor can help you decide whether you can keep using Ozempic or if it’s time to come off.

How long you have to keep taking Ozempic will depend on your weight, diabetes symptoms and blood sugar level. Your doctor can help you work towards coming off Ozempic if possible. If you’re not happy with Ozempic, talk to a doctor about switching treatments.

Ozempic side effects

Most common Ozempic side effects aren’t serious, but they can be a bit unpleasant. You won’t know how you’ll react to Ozempic until you try it. If you do get side effects and they’re serious or you can’t put up with them, talk to your doctor about changing treatments.

Very common side effects experienced by more than 10% of users:

  • feeling sick
  • diarrhoea

Common side effects experienced by up to 10% of users:

  • throwing up
  • low blood sugar

Uncommon side effects experienced by up to 1% of users:

  • change in how food tastes
  • a fast pulse
  • reactions where you use your injection, like bruises or irritation
  • allergic reactions, like hives or a rash

How long Ozempic side effects can last

Some side effects can go away once you get used to your medications. Some won’t go away completely. If you stop Ozempic, it will take 5 weeks for the medication to completely leave your system. But, as the level of Ozempic in your body drops, any side effects should start improving before the 5 week mark.

Ozempic: the final word on weight loss

As discussed in this article, Ozempic can be prescribed for weight loss in the UK, but not all doctors will be willing to do it and it’s expensive.

There are alternative weight loss treatments available in the UK, including Wegovy, Saxenda and Orlistat.

If you are diabetic, then you could mention Ozempic to your GP and talk to them about whether it’s a good choice for you.

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Frequently asked questions

Who can prescribe Ozempic for weight loss?

Any qualified UK doctor can prescribe Ozempic, but that doesn’t mean they definitely will prescribe it for you.

Is Ozempic insulin?

No. While they are both medications used to control blood sugar for people with diabetes, they aren’t the same. Ozempic works like some hormones your body uses to control the level of insulin in your system, so they are closely related.

Can you take Ozempic if you’re not diabetic?

Ozempic can be used for weight loss if you’re not diabetic but it can only be prescribed like this off-label. The NHS doesn’t prescribe Ozempic this way so you would have to get this treatment privately. Saxenda and Wegovy can be prescribed for weight loss.

What does Ozempic do to your face?

If you lose weight on Ozempic, you may also lose fat from your face. This may leave the skin on your face a little looser for a while which could give the appearance of extra wrinkles. Ozempic can also cause a rash as a side effect which might appear on your face during treatment.

Is there a generic Ozempic?

Not yet. Generic medications can only be manufactured once the patent for branded treatments runs out. Ozempic’s patent doesn’t run out until December 5th 2031. Once the patent does run out, generics will be made available which will be cheaper than Ozempic.

Can you take Ozempic and Metformin together?

Yes. Doctors will often prescribe them together for people with type 2 diabetes to help them manage blood sugar and weight. A doctor can decide whether a combination of these treatments is right for you and how to take them together safely.

Can Ozempic cause joint pain?

No. Joint pain is not a known side effect of Ozempic. If you get joint pain while on Ozempic, it is likely to be caused by something else. Continue taking your Ozempic and see your doctor who can help you figure out where your joint pain is coming from.

Does Ozempic make you tired?

Tiredness is one of the side effects of Ozempic. It can affect up to 11% of people who use it. It can also be a sign of low blood sugar, which is a serious side effect of Ozempic. If you’re feeling tired on Ozempic, talk to your doctor who can check your blood sugar levels and give advice.

How long does Ozempic stay in your system?

Once you’ve stopped Ozempic, it can take about 5 weeks for it to completely leave your system. This can vary from person to person and since the amount of Ozempic drops constantly during this period, side effects can clear up quicker than this if you have any.

What is the downside of Ozempic?

There’s a few downsides to Ozempic, especially if you’re looking for weight loss treatment:

  • it’s not licenced for weight loss treatment in the UK
  • it can cause side effects
  • some people do gain back the weight they’ve lost after stopping
  • you need to be comfortable injecting yourself every week

How long can Ozempic be out of the fridge?

Once it’s first used, it can stay out of the fridge for up to 56 days. Before you first use it, it needs to be refrigerated between 2℃ and 8℃. If you take it out of the fridge before you use it, it still needs to be thrown away after 56 days.

Medically reviewed by:
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion

Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.

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Article created: 23 Aug 2023

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