Wondering what to expect from taking Ozempic®? The scientific research we have so far shows that the drug works well in helping people lose weight—and these results can give us a rough idea of what that weight loss might look like.  

Most of the research looks at how semaglutide, which is the active ingredient in Ozempic® and other weight loss drugs like Wegovy, causes weight loss when used alongside changes in diet and exercise. In one clinical trial, people taking semaglutide and making healthy lifestyle changes lost 14.9% of their body weight on average. Other trials have shown similar results.  

But because the effects of semaglutide can differ from person to person, it’s hard (if not impossible) to say for sure how much weight you’ll lose when taking it. Research tends to report the average result from a large group of people—meaning that some people lost more while others lost less—and uses higher doses of semaglutide than what’s prescribed in Ozempic®.  

Still, we can look to results like the above to get an understanding of how Ozempic® could support our weight loss journey. Here’s what the research tells us.

How long does Ozempic® take to work?

Ozempic® works by copying the way that a natural gut hormone, GLP-1, behaves in the body: namely, reducing appetite and making us feel full.  
It starts doing this as soon as you inject it. But it can take a few weeks before you start to see noticeable changes.  

When you first start taking Ozempic®, you’ll be put on a lower dose (0.25 mg semaglutide) as your body adjusts to it. After four weeks, the dose is generally increased to 0.5 mg, and then it can be increased again to 1 mg after another four weeks if your doctor thinks it’s appropriate. Ramping up the dose generally strengthens the drug’s effect.

This is the standard dosing schedule for semaglutide drugs. With Ozempic®, the maximum dose for weight loss is 1 mg, but higher doses are available in other drugs such as Wegovy. For those, you would follow the above schedule initially then keep increasing the dose every four weeks as necessary.  

It’s often said that losing 5% of your body weight is the point where you start to see notable health benefits, like improved cholesterol and blood pressure. Most people will lose at least 5% of their body weight when taking semaglutide for over a year, alongside healthy lifestyle changes.

Clinical trials suggest that, on average, a weight reduction of 5% happens between weeks 6-12 of using semaglutide. But remember, this is the average result for a big group of people: factors like your starting BMI, whether you have any underlying health conditions, and the extent to which you make changes to your diet and exercise habits can all influence how much you lose.

If your journey looks a little different to the numbers below, don’t panic—it doesn’t necessarily mean that the medication isn’t working or that you won’t reach your health goals. Even when taking Ozempic® to help, weight loss takes time, so trust in the process.  

After taking Ozempic® for one month

This is when you may start to notice that you’re losing weight. You will have just finished your course of 0.25 mg semaglutide, and your dose will be increased to 0.5 mg.  

Two of the STEP trials, which are large clinical trials that looked at how semaglutide could help with obesity, showed that average weight loss after four weeks of taking semaglutide at 0.25 mg alongside lifestyle change was around 2% of body weight. Losing even this amount has been shown to have health benefits, like a reduced risk of heart problems.

In these trials, people also ate a reduced-calorie diet (eating 500 calories less than the estimated amount they were burning) and did 150 minutes of physical activity per week, such as walking.  

After taking Ozempic® for six weeks

By this point, you’ll have started the 0.5 mg dose and will likely be seeing some changes.  

In the same two trials mentioned above, between weeks four and eight at 0.5 mg there was an average weight reduction of around 2%, meaning that by week eight the total loss was about 4%. Again, in both these trials, people made changes to their diet and exercise habits while taking the drug.

Evidence suggests that people will see the most benefit from semaglutide if they take it for over a year, so at the six-week mark you’re really still at the start of your journey.

After taking Ozempic® for three months

Most people will be seeing results by now. After three months, the maximum dose of semaglutide you’d be on is 1.0 mg.  

In a study of 175 people with a mean BMI of 41.3, the average weight loss in people who didn’t have type 2 diabetes was 6.3% body weight after taking semaglutide for 12 weeks. This aligns with results from the STEP 1 and STEP 5 trials, which found an average loss of 6% body weight after 12 weeks of semaglutide use.  

These three studies all followed the standard semaglutide dosing schedule: starting at 0.25 mg and climbing to 1 mg, increasing every four weeks.  

Plus, another study showed that after about three months of taking semaglutide, people reported better control of eating and fewer cravings.  

After taking Ozempic® for a year

According to clinical studies, weight loss hits its peak roughly a year after starting semaglutide.

In the STEP 5 trial, which used a maximum dose of 2.4 mg, mean weight loss was around 14-16% by week 52 while weight was kept off for the entire study period of two years. By 104 weeks (two years), people who were taking semaglutide alongside lifestyle changes had lost an average of 15.2% body weight.  

This is similar to results from the STEP 1 and STEP 3 trials, which reported a 14.9% and 16% reduction in body weight respectively after 68 weeks. In STEP 1, about a third of participants lost over 20% of their body weight by week 68. In both trials, the maximum dose was 2.4 mg semaglutide, although some people in STEP 3 who couldn’t tolerate that took 1.7 mg instead.  

What if I don’t lose weight on Ozempic®?

Not seeing the changes you were hoping for can be really disheartening. But if you aren’t losing weight while taking Ozempic®, there may be a few reasons why:

You’re reached a plateau

Most people reach a plateau at some point in their weight loss journey. This is when your weight stops changing.  

Many factors are thought to be at play here: one theory is that your body has a “set point” of weight it sees as normal and if you drop below it, the body and brain kick into survival mode and send signals to try and get the weight back up. Another is that because your body’s energy needs would drop as you lose weight, your metabolism would slow down—making it harder to burn calories and shift weight.  

In the STEP 1, STEP 3, and STEP 5 trials, weight loss was shown to level out at around the 60–68-week mark of using semaglutide. This doesn’t mean that the medication isn’t working, just that the body is reacting to the drop in weight.  

The plateau can also be an important time where your body starts to adjust to your new weight, so you should try and maintain your healthy habits during this time. It can last anywhere from a few weeks to months, but it’s possible for some people to move past their plateau and continue their journey.  

You haven’t found the right lifestyle changes

Ozempic® is supposed to be taken alongside changes to diet and lifestyle, and the evidence we have so far indicates that it’s effective when used in this way. If you just take the drug but don’t make changes you can stick to, it may not work as well.  

Diet-wise, you need to be eating fewer calories than you use—this is known as a calorie deficit. Tuli’s weight loss programme combines medication with weekly advice from a dietician, to help you make healthy, lasting changes on this front.  

You also need to be exercising regularly. In some of the trials mentioned above, people moved their bodies for the recommended 150 minutes per week. Some health organisations suggest moving even more: The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 200 minutes a week to lose weight and keep it off. Check in with your doctor if you aren’t sure what’s best.  

All these lifestyle factors work together with Ozempic® to help improve your metabolism, boost your overall health, and support weight loss.  

It’s still early days

Weight loss isn’t a linear journey, and it can take a bit of time to see results from taking Ozempic®. You probably won’t see drastic drops within a few weeks, for example.

Tuli’s weight loss programme supports you to lose weight gradually and sustainably, and to make changes that keep the weight off even after you stop taking the medication.

You may need a higher dose

Higher doses of semaglutide can have a greater effect on weight loss. However, lower doses are still effective and reduce the risk of side effects, so your doctor will advise on what’s best for you.  

Is Ozempic® right for me?

If you’ve got a BMI of 30 or more—or higher than 27 if you come from certain ethnic backgrounds—and have at least one health problem that’s related to your weight, you may benefit from taking Ozempic®.  

But you shouldn’t take Ozempic® if you have type 1 diabetes, are breastfeeding or are pregnant. Plus, if you have a history of problems with your pancreas or kidneys, or thyroid cancer, you should tell your doctor before you take Ozempic.  

There have also been recent reports of suicidal and self-harming thoughts in people taking drugs like Ozempic®, which are currently being reviewed by the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). If you start experiencing any suicidal and self-harming thoughts, please consult a clinician urgently.    

When being used for weight loss in people who don’t have type 2 diabetes, Ozempic® is only available in the UK via private prescription. Our partner healthcare providers can issue you a prescription via our weight loss programme. Check if you’re eligible for the programme right now by filling out this short form—it takes less than five minutes.  

Our programme is designed to help you lose weight gradually and to make changes that last so you keep it off. It combines repeat prescriptions for weight loss medication with weekly advice from a dietician and regular check-ins, so we can support you and share in your success.  

Take the first step by checking your eligibility—we’ll be in touch to sort the rest.