Semaglutide (Ozempic®): A Comprehensive Review and Options

Semaglutide (Ozempic®): A Comprehensive Review and Options

Semaglutide, a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), has shown great potential in treating various conditions related to obesity, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH), neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease. Compared to other GLP-1 receptor agonists like liraglutide, Semaglutide demonstrated more potency and achieved a weight loss of 15.8% over 6.4% with liraglutide. Furthermore, papers showed a 24% reduction in various cardiovascular adverse effects.

Obesity

A systematic review of eight studies revealed that compared to a placebo, semaglutide resulted in a 22.05% reduction in body weight (equivalent to 23.24 pounds) and a 3.71 kg/m2 decrease in Body Mass Index (BMI). 

Semaglutide reduced the waist circumference by 3.31 inches. The medication also showed a high proportion of participants achieving more than 5, 10, 15, and 20% weight loss and positive effects on blood pressure, C-reactive protein, and lipid profiles. However, it also caused more adverse effects than a placebo, including nausea and diarrhea, although these were generally mild-to-moderate and temporary. 

  • Semaglutide improves metabolic parameters, including glucose and lipid levels. 
  • By improving satiety and reducing food intake, Semaglutide further contributes to weight loss. In 2019, the FDA approved Semaglutide for weight management. 
  • A study of 163 obese adolescent subjects, not yet published, revealed that Semaglutide was well-tolerated and produced significant weight loss.

Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH)

  • Semaglutide improves liver function, as evidenced by a reduction in liver enzymes and an improvement in liver histology. 
  • Semaglutide reduces fibrosis, a significant characteristic of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and can prevent progression to cirrhosis and liver failure. 
  • Semaglutide also protects the liver by decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Neurodegenerative Diseases

  • Studies suggest that Semaglutide may have a potential role in preventing and managing conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
  • It may have neuroprotective effects by reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, as well as by promoting neurogenesis.
  • Semaglutide may be a promising option for an essential tremor which is a neurodegenerative disease.

Cardiovascular Disease

  • Studies have shown that Semaglutide may reduce cardiovascular risk, particularly in patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • It may improve cardiovascular risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid levels.
  • However, further research is needed to fully understand its therapeutic potential and gain FDA approval for cardiovascular disease treatment.

Patient Adherence

  • Adherence is integral to treating any condition; the same applies to Semaglutide therapy.
  • Studies have shown that Semaglutide is well-tolerated and has a good safety profile, which may contribute to patient adherence.
  • It appears that Semaglutide does not interfere with the bioavailability of digoxin, metformin, lisinopril, oral contraceptives, warfarin, furosemide, atorvastatin, rosuvastatin, and omeprazole. Therefore, semaglutide is considered well-tolerated among patients.

Side Effects

  • Semaglutide is generally well-tolerated, with mild to moderate nausea and diarrhea as the most common side effects.

Overall, Semaglutide is a promising treatment option for various conditions related to obesity, NASH, neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular disease. However, its use for NASH and neurodegenerative disease treatment is still under investigation, and further research is needed to understand its therapeutic potential and gain FDA approval fully. In addition, the patient adherence and safety profile of Semaglutide are elements to consider when evaluating its potential as a treatment option.

Insurance Coverage

Coverage for Ozempic may vary depending on your insurance plan. Contact your insurance provider to inquire about coverage and copay options for Ozempic before starting treatment. Remember that additional fees, such as doctor’s visits, may apply.

It is important to note that some Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, Medicare Advantage plans, and commercial insurance plans may require prior authorization before treatment can commence. Additionally, these plans may require you to try alternative diabetes medications before approving coverage for Ozempic.

“85% of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage policies cover Ozempic with a typical copay range of $25 to $933. However, coverage may depend on a demonstration of medical need, such as obesity.

Novo Nordisk A/S offers assistance programs for commercially insured patients to help with the cost of Ozempic. Eligible patients can receive up to $25 in savings for a 28-day fill or $150 per month. Additionally, a 3-month assistance program is available with a maximum discount of $450.

FSA and HSA

Expenses related to medical weight loss treatments and medications, such as Semaglutide, are typically eligible for reimbursement through your pre-tax FSA or HSA. However, we recommend consulting with your account issuer for specific details and eligibility.

Semaglutide Cost Comparison

Ozempic (Novo Nordisk) – Average cost is $856 per 2mg/1mL vial.

Brand-Name vs. Generic

Ozempic is only available as a brand-name medication and unavailable as a generic option through conventional pharmacies. Therefore, there may be a variety of answers regarding insurance coverage for compounded drugs. 

Compounded medications, customized and tailored to specific needs, are typically not covered by insurance. As such, they are generally not approved or considered a single entity.

On average, a 2mg/1mL vial of Ozempic (Novo Nordisk) costs $856. While the average cost for a 2mg/mL dose of generic Semaglutide is $600. It’s important to note that these prices do not include consultation fees or shipping costs, assuming that this is a private practice setting

It’s worth noting that Ozempic is a brand-name medication created by Novo Nordisk, while generic Semaglutide uses the same active ingredient.

The IAM clinic offers affordable and accessible telemedicine options for those needing Semaglutide for weight loss. 

Key Points:

  • A comprehensive clinical evaluation visit.
  • Medication is delivered directly to you.
  • Regular follow-up and monitoring.

At IAM, we prioritize affordable healthcare for our patients. For example, our weight loss program, which includes options for 2.5mg/mL or 5mg/mL of Semaglutide, allows patients to save up to approximately 80.83% compared to other clinics.

We understand that weight loss can be a sensitive and complex issue for many individuals, with a personalized and comprehensive approach, including medication, diet, exercise, and behavior modification, to help patients achieve their goals.

We recognize that weight loss medication may not be appropriate for every patient. Thus, our practitioners base treatment decisions on the best available evidence and the needs of each patient.

At IAM, all patients deserve access to safe and effective weight loss options. We work closely with our patients to help them make informed decisions about their care and provide the education and support they need to make sustainable lifestyle changes.

Conclusions

  1. Ozempic (Semaglutide) is a peptide that significantly promotes weight loss in obese or overweight patients without diabetes.
  2. The medication reduces body weight, BMI, and waist circumference and positively affects blood pressure, CRP, and lipid profiles.
  3. The medication may cause mild to moderate adverse effects such as nausea and diarrhea, but they are typically transient.
  4. The cost of Ozempic can vary depending on the brand and the individual’s insurance coverage. Still, generic Ozempic (Semaglutide) is available with private clinics and can be up to 80% cheaper than other clinics.
  5. Private clinics, such as IAM, offer a personalized and comprehensive weight loss program that includes medication, diet, exercise, and behavior modification. They work closely with patients to help them achieve their weight loss goals safely and sustainably.

Disclaimer

The information provided by Illinois Alternative Medicine (IAM) is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

The content provided on this website and in any communication from IAM is intended for general informational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

IAM makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability of the information, products, services, or related graphics on this website for any purpose. Therefore, any reliance on such information is strictly at your own risk.

Eligibility for any treatment and estimated prices may vary depending on individual circumstances, insurance coverage, and applicable laws. All prices and comparisons are estimates, and actual costs may vary. Results may also vary and are not guaranteed.

IAM encourages all individuals to consult a qualified healthcare attorney before making any decisions regarding their health or treatment options. In case of a medical emergency, please call 911 or your local emergency services immediately.

Ozempic® is a registered trademark of Novo Nordisk A/S

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Loose Skin After Weight Loss

Loose Skin After Weight Loss

Evidence suggests that weight loss can lead to loose skin, especially in individuals who have lost a significant amount of weight in a short period.