Total Access Medical - Direct Primary Care Blog

Understanding Ozempic: Insights from Total Access Medical's Dr. Andrew Kirschner

Posted by Total Access Medical on Mar 07, 2024


By now, you have likely encountered a friend or colleague who is taking Ozempic and marveling over their seemingly effortless weight loss. Alternatively, you may have come across a frustrated individual attempting to obtain Ozempic but facing obstacles. This could be due to either not medically qualifying for this new medication or struggling to find a pharmacy that stocks it.

In my approximately 26 years in practice, I have never encountered a medication that has prompted so many of my patients to seek a prescription.

Ozempic, or semaglutide, its generic name, belongs to a new class of medications originally designed to help diabetics better control their blood sugar levels. Early studies revealed that, as a side benefit, this medication led to the loss of an average of 15-20% of a patient’s body weight over the initial period of use. Subsequently, the medication began to be prescribed specifically for weight loss.

Semaglutide and similar medications facilitate weight loss by increasing the efficacy of chemicals in the body that induce a feeling of fullness. They also prolong the transit time through the gastrointestinal tract, further enhancing the sensation of fullness. For many patients struggling to shed extra pounds, it has proven to be a panacea, enabling them to move closer to their weight loss goals.

While generally safe for most patients, this class of medications does carry some risks. In my own patient population, I have observed manageable side effects such as nausea, bloating, and diarrhea. More concerning reported side effects include gastroparesis—a lack of movement through the gastrointestinal tract—and pancreatitis—an extremely painful inflammation of the pancreas.

Without modifications to the lifestyle factors that initially caused weight gain, the benefits of weight loss can be short-lived. Therefore, patients should consider working with a nutritionist and/or a fitness trainer to enjoy more sustained benefits.

If you are a Type II diabetic, you may qualify for Ozempic. A companion drug, Wegovy, is chemically identical to Ozempic but is specifically indicated for weight loss. Similar drugs such as Mounjaro and Zepbound work in the same way as semaglutide and yield comparable weight loss effects. If you are contemplating any of these medications, your prescription insurance coverage will determine your eligibility and out-of-pocket expenditure.

If you are interested in these prescription medications, inquire with your Total Access Medical physician to determine if you are an appropriate candidate.

New call-to-action