Healthcare professionals have a saying about prescribing medicine: start low, go slow. It means starting someone on a low dose of a drug and gradually increasing it as their body adjusts to the treatment. And it’s what happens when you take Ozempic, a medication taken weekly to help with weight loss.  

You will start out on a low dose (i.e., that’s low in strength) that will be progressively dialled up depending on how your body responds. The plan is to get to the maintenance dose, which is the strength that allows the drug to have the effect we want it to. This is the dose you’ll stay on.  

But the maintenance dose can differ from person to person—and sometimes, it can be increased or dropped down. Here’s what you need to know about Ozempic dosing.

What is the starting dose for Ozempic?

When you first start taking Ozempic, you’ll be given a 0.25 mg dose that you’ll stay on for four weeks.  

This is known as a nontherapeutic dose: it aims to help your body get used to the drug rather than maximising its impact. Ozempic will still work at this low dose—weight loss has been reported after four weeks of taking it—but its effects generally won’t be as strong.  

Bear in mind that Ozempic is recommended for use alongside changes to diet and exercise, so these first four weeks are also a chance to build healthy habits you’ll stick to.  

When should my Ozempic dose be increased?

You’ll be bumped up to a 0.5 mg dose after four weeks of taking Ozempic and will stay on that dose for at least four weeks more.  

At the eight-week mark of using Ozempic, you’ll either stay on 0.5 mg as your maintenance dose or go up to 1 mg if your healthcare provider feels it would be helpful. When deciding whether to increase your dose, they’ll weigh up the potential benefits of doing so versus the risk of side effects—which is generally higher for stronger doses of a drug.  

Ideally, you want the drug to be working as intended and for any side effects you get to be tolerable. So, if you’re seeing adequate weight loss when using 0.5 mg Ozempic and have been feeling fine throughout, there may not be a need to go up to 1 mg. But if you aren’t really seeing results from the 0.5 mg, upping the dose may be recommended.  

On the other hand, if you’re getting troublesome side effects from the 1 mg dose then you may be told to drop back down.  

It’s recommended that you take Ozempic for a maximum of two years. Throughout that time, your dose may change, but here’s what a typical schedule might look like:

Dose                            Schedule

0.25mg           4 weeks, taken weekly

0.5mg             4 weeks, taken weekly

1.0 mg            96 weeks, taken weekly  

Can I increase the Ozempic dose faster?

We’re afraid not. After you’ve gone through your initial eight weeks, it’s up to your prescriber which dose is best for you.

The recommended schedule for those eight weeks, where you start on 0.25 mg and then move up to 0.5 mg, is designed to help your body get used to the drug and minimise the risk of side effects. This is how semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, has been used in clinical research—where it has been shown to work well in supporting weight loss with mild-moderate side effects, which usually go away on their own.  

Besides, a stronger dose isn’t always better. If you’re seeing results when taking a lower dose of a drug, then the drug is working: you may not need to go for a higher strength and risk getting side effects.  

And remember: losing weight in a way you can sustain takes time. Semaglutide is an effective drug for weight loss when taken alongside changes to diet and exercise, but it can take over a year for you to see the most benefit from it. Working towards your health goals isn’t a race—even if you’re moving slowly, you’re still moving forward.  

What is the maximum dose of Ozempic?

When it’s being used for weight loss in people without type 2 diabetes, the highest available dose of Ozempic is 1.0 mg, taken weekly. This will only be prescribed to you if your healthcare provider feels the benefits outweigh the risks.  

What is the best dose of Ozempic for weight loss?

It’s tough to say which dose of Ozempic will be best for someone, because until they take it, we don’t know exactly how it will affect them.  

Finding the right dose is about striking the balance between the risks and benefits for each person individually. While higher doses of semaglutide have been linked to greater weight loss, they can also lead to more side effects.  

Whichever dose you’re prescribed, the drug will still have an effect. The doses of semaglutide used in Ozempic have been shown to work well—in one study, people taking doses of 1 mg and below lost an average of 5.1% body weight after three months and 9.2% after six months.  

Tuli’s partner healthcare providers can give you guidance on which dose is best through our weight loss programme. On the programme, you’ll receive a repeat four-week prescription for weight loss medication like Ozempic, and the dose is reviewed with each new cycle.  

Our programme is designed to bring on gradual and sustainable weight loss, so you’ll also get weekly advice from a dietician to help you make lasting lifestyle changes. Plus, we’ll check in with you regularly to support you on your journey.  

While Ozempic is recommended as a way to support weight loss, it’s licensed as a drug for type 2 diabetes. That means that in the UK, if you don’t have type 2 diabetes then you can only get Ozempic via private prescription.  

Check your eligibility for our weight loss programme by filling out this form—it takes less than five minutes.