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Find out how Ozempic® works and why it’s making headlines

Calibrate doctors prescribe a variety of GLP-1 medications, including semaglutide, tirzepatide, and liraglutide, which you may know under brand names like Ozempic®, Wegovy®,Saxenda®,, or Mounjaro®.

How does Ozempic® work? And can it be used for weight loss? We’re answering those questions and more below.

What is Ozempic®?

Ozempic® (semaglutide) is one of the medications prescribed by Calibrate doctors to work in conjunction with the Calibrate Metabolic Reset. It is manufactured by Novo Nordisk, a pharmaceutical company based in Denmark that also manufactures Wegovy™. It has been FDA-approved since 2017.  

Both Ozempic® and Wegovy™ contain the same active ingredient. The only difference between the two is that Wegovy provides a dose that titrates up to 2.4 mg of semaglutide, whereas Ozempic® dosing is available in a maximum of 1.0 mg. 

While Ozempic® is currently FDA-approved for use in patients with type-2 diabetes, there is proof that its active ingredient is safe and effective in treating overweight or obesity. Just as it does in adults with type-2 diabetes, Ozempic® can improve blood sugar levels in adults with insulin resistance or prediabetes—and is an effective tool for weight loss among both groups. 

How much weight can you lose with Ozempic®? According to Novo Nordisk, a one-year study found that adults with an average starting weight of 197 pounds lost around:

- 4.6% of their body weight on 0.5 mg Ozempic®

- 6.1% of their body weight on 1 mg Ozempic®

Successful and sustained weight loss with Ozempic® involves more than just the injection of the drug itself:  Significant changes in lifestyle and habits are necessary in order for the medication to be effective. Many of these lifestyle changes can be difficult to manage alone and without extra support

With Calibrate, members benefit from comprehensive, one-on-one support and coaching that spans four key areas: Food, exercise, sleep, and emotional health. Since GLP-1s like Ozempic® are meant to be used alongside lifestyle changes, the Calibrate program is uniquely positioned to help its members reach their weight loss and overall health goals.

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Can Ozempic® lower my risk for major cardiovascular events?

Very likely. In addition to improving blood sugar levels and A1C, preliminary data suggests that Ozempic® may lower the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death, particularly in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.

How does Ozempic® work?

Ozempic®—a brand name for the medication semaglutide—works by mimicking the incretin hormones that your body naturally produces when you eat food. 

Incretin hormones are gut hormone signals released by the small intestine that travel throughout the body, signaling the brain, endocrine system, and gastrointestinal system that food has been consumed and is ready to be metabolized by the body for fuel. 

This results in a complex cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters which effectively communicate feelings of satiety (feeling full). Two important types of incretin hormones, a.k.a. gut peptides, include Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1).

Beyond its role in regulating satiety, GLP-1 also plays a key role in the management of blood sugar levels and can improve blood sugar levels in people living with impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes. 

The GLP-1 hormone, in a healthy person, sends signals to the brain, muscles, stomach, liver, and pancreas whenever nutrients are taken in. Let’s take a closer look at the many ways in which GLP-1 interacts with your other organ systems:

What does all this have to do with weight loss? As a GLP-1 receptor agonist, Ozempic® works by imitating the effects of the GLP-1 hormone produced naturally in your body. 

In those with type-2 diabetes or those living with overweight or obesity, natural GLP-1 production may be lower than normal. By injecting Ozempic® once weekly, blood sugar levels are more easily controlled. 

Like other GLP-1s, Ozempic® is a medication that makes it easier to lose weight and stick to healthy habits. However, it doesn’t produce weight loss on its own: It must be used in combination with other tactics to support metabolic health and avoid weight regain. 

The Calibrate program has integrated evidence-based lifestyle recommendations as the Four Pillars of Metabolic Health to help participants maximize their success with Ozempic®. These pillars include: Food, sleep, exercise, and emotional health.

By learning to eat more whole foods and fewer fast-digesting carbohydrates, participating in exercise that you actually enjoy, improving sleep quality, and managing stressors, you’re setting up both your mind and body for real results. With this foundation in place, Ozempic® can work even more effectively.

Self-injecting with Ozempic®

When you join the Calibrate program, you’ll work closely with a licensed physician who will determine the appropriate dose for you as an individual. Ozempic® must be injected; it isn’t available in pill form. However, the injection is typically painless and your medical team will provide thorough instructions to make self-injection easy and stress-free. 

Here’s how to use Ozempic® per the FDA:

Administer OZEMPIC® once weekly, on the same day each week, at any time of the day, with or without meals. The day of weekly administration can be changed if necessary as long as the time between two doses is at least 2 days (>48 hours). If a dose is missed, administer OZEMPIC® as soon as possible within 5 days after the missed dose. If more than 5 days have passed, skip the missed dose and administer the next dose on the regularly scheduled day. In each case, patients can then resume their regular once weekly dosing schedule. Administer OZEMPIC® subcutaneously to the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Instruct patients to use a different injection site each week when injecting in the same body region.

The Calibrate difference: Taking Ozempic® as part of a metabolic reset program

Now that we’ve explored how Ozempic® works within the body, let’s talk about how it fits into a comprehensive weight loss and metabolic reset plan. 

Clinical trials of Ozempic® have shown that it is most effective when used in conjunction with a healthy, balanced diet and exercize. Of course, both of these elements are easier in theory than they are in reality. 

If you’ve been eating the same foods and adhering to the same daily routine for years, switching things up can feel overwhelming and next-to-impossible. Without professional support and guidance, many efforts to lose weight will fail. Maybe you’ve heard the (demoralizing) statistic that, on average, 95% of lost weight is regained after five years.

Studies have shown, however, that this has little to do with a lack of willpower. As researchers concluded in a recent study published in the Medical Clinics of North America, “Treatment of obesity requires ongoing attention and support, and weight maintenance-specific counseling, to improve long-term weight management.”

Why is this? When you lose weight from calorie restriction, your basal metabolic rate and energy expenditure through exercise actually decreases. This happens concurrently with a cascade of hunger and stress hormones (including ghrelin and cortisol), resulting in initial weight loss but quick weight regain. This phenomenon is known as your body’s “set point defense.” Your set point, for reference, is the weight your body naturally settles at due to an interplay of genetics, biology, and environment.

When hunger signals are suppressed (as when using a GLP-1), the body is better able to remain at a new, lower set point long enough for the basal metabolic rate to adjust.

Ozempic® can serve as a medical catalyst for sustained weight loss—but support is critical. In addition, the right dietary and lifestyle choices must be made for you as an individual. What worked for a friend or family member might not work for you. That’s why Calibrate believes that the most sustainable path to weight loss is via comprehensive, 1:1 accountability coaching that takes into consideration individualized details far beyond your BMI. 

Calibrate is a Metabolic Reset that uses proven methods for long-term results—the latest science, FDA-approved medication, 1:1 doctor visits, and accountability coaching on food, exercise, sleep, and emotional health—for weight loss of 15% or more. The Calibrate program was designed, vetted, and approved by a Clinical Advisory Board of world-renowned obesity experts. 

When you join Calibrate, you’ll complete a Comprehensive Health Intake, including blood work, that your Calibrate doctor will carefully review before customizing your treatment plan and prescribing your medication. If your Calibrate medical team determines that Ozempic® is the right fit for you, they’ll walk you through all of the details on dosage, how to administer the medication, when to take it, and how it will work alongside your metabolic reset plan. 

Keep in mind that Ozempic® is not the right fit for everyone. Calibrate doctors may prescribe other medications based on your unique needs and health insurance coverage. Learn more about patient eligibility below.

What does Ozempic® cost?

The list price of Ozempic®, meaning the price before insurance, ranges from $599.05 to $898.57 depending on dose size and quantity. If that number gives you sticker shock, don’t worry: Few patients pay list price. Exactly how much you will pay after insurance depends on your individual health plan. 

If you choose to join Calibrate, our team is committed to working with your insurance company to help you get low-cost coverage, so you don’t have to. Through proprietary tools and data, Calibrate has helped over 95% of members get GLP-1 medication coverage at $25/month or less or (after any deductible is met). 

In the rare case that you are not satisfied with your plan's medication coverage, Calibrate can end your program and issue a refund. See our refund policy for full details.

Who is eligible for Ozempic®?

All Calibrate members will be considered for Ozempic® as clinically appropriate and insurance eligible. Those with a history of any of the following conditions should talk to a doctor prior to starting Ozempic®: 

  • - Endocrine tumors in the thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary, pancreas, or adrenal glands
  • - A family history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2 (MEN2)
  • - Diabetes-related eye disease or vision problems
  • - Pancreatitis
  • - Active gallbladder disease
  • - Kidney disease
  • - Gastrointestinal issues
  • - Thyroid cancer or if someone in your family had thyroid cancer
  • - Pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant
  • - Heavy alcohol consumption


Traditional weight loss programs don’t work because sustainable weight loss doesn’t come from yo-yo dieting or calorie counting. It comes from improving your metabolic health. Calibrate’s One-Year Metabolic Reset helps you do just that, through a unique combination of doctor-prescribed medication, 1:1 video coaching, and lifestyle tweaks tailored to you. The result? Improved metabolic health and sustained weight loss.

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Ozempic® side effects

Most people taking Ozempic® experience few side effects. However, some side effects are normal and do not pose a serious risk to your health. The most common side effects of Ozempic® include:

  • - Nausea
  • - Diarrhea
  • - Vomiting
  • - Constipation
  • - Stomach (abdomen) pain 
  • - Headache
  • - Tiredness (fatigue)
  • - Upset stomach
  • - Dizziness
  • - Bloated, belching, or gas
  • - Stomach flu
  • - Heartburn
  • - Loss of appetite

Talk to your Calibrate doctor about any side effects that become bothersome or that don’t go away. Your Calibrate Medical Team can offer recommendations and supportive care for any issues that arise. If you experience any severe side effects, such as anaphylaxis or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical care.

Ozempic® interactions & warnings

Ozempic® is FDA-approved. As with all prescription medications, there are warnings and contraindications to keep in mind prior to starting treatment. Your Calibrate doctor will discuss these with you and can answer any specific questions you might have about the risks of Ozempic® as it pertains to your own health and medical history. 

The below limitations, contraindications, and warnings are sourced directly from the FDA.

Limitations of use

Ozempic® is not recommended as a first-line therapy for patients who have inadequate glycemic control. 

Ozempic® has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis. 

Ozempic® is not a substitute for insulin. Ozempic® is not indicated for use in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus for blood sugar control but can be used off-label for weight loss and insulin resistance. Please talk with your provider about insulin changes before starting Ozempic® therapy. 


Black Box Warning:

In rodents, semaglutide has been associated with an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors including medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). However, there is no known increased risk for thyroid cancer in humans taking semaglutide.

Semaglutide is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia type 2 (MEN 2), an endocrine tumor syndrome that can involve the adrenal, parathyroid gland and thyroid glands.


Discontinue Ozempic® promptly if pancreatitis is suspected or if you have severe abdominal pain requiring immediate medical attention. Do not restart if pancreatitis is confirmed by a medical professional.

Ozempic® has been associated with progression of diabetic retinopathy complications. If you have a history of diabetes mellitus please make sure you are up to date on your diabetic eye exams and are monitored closely if you have diabetic retinopathy findings. 

Never share an Ozempic® pen between patients, even if the needle is changed.

Hypoglycemia can occur when Ozempic® is used with other diabetes medications such as insulin secretagogues (ie: glipizide, glyburide, Prandin or Starlix) or insulin. Discuss adjusting these medications with your medical provider when starting Ozempic®.

Kidney Injury can result from dehydration related to severe diarrhea. Please stop Ozempic® and talk to your medical team if you are experiencing significant gastrointestinal side effects.

Allergic Reactions: Discontinue Ozempic® if suspected (shortness of breath, rash, severe itching, mouth swelling) and promptly seek medical advice.

Key Takeaways

  • - Ozempic® (semaglutide) is an FDA-approved GLP-1 medication that works by stabilizing blood glucose levels and is used off-label for weight loss
  • - While Ozempic® is currently indicated for use in patients with type-2 diabetes, its active ingredient, semaglutide, has been proven safe and effective for the treatment of overweight and obesity
  • - Ozempic® is most effective for weight loss when lifestyle factors, including healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and emotional health, are addressed simultaneously
  • - Ozempic® is one of several GLP-1s prescribed by Calibrate doctors to members of the Calibrate program; the specific medication you are prescribed will depend on your unique health history and insurance coverage
  • - Ozempic® is safe when used as prescribed—but, as with all prescription medications, there are warnings and contraindications to keep in mind prior to starting treatment with Ozempic®

Frequently Asked Questions