Although Ozempic is widely known as a miracle weight loss drug, it actually is not an approved treatment for obesity or weight loss in Canada.
Ozempic will only covered by private health insurance plans when prescribed for managing blood sugar levels for those with type 2 diabetes. Those using it for weight loss will have to pay out-of-pocket.
According to CATDH, there are currently no obesity or weight loss medications on the Canadian market that will be reimbursed by the provincial or federal government.
“This is bad news for Canadians living with obesity, who currently have to pay out of pocket for obesity medications (unless they are among the less than 10% of Canadians who have access to obesity medications through their private insurance),” CADTH reports.
The Health Insider team looked into different weight loss medications in North America to help you know which one is right for you.
Cost of Ozempic
One injector of Ozempic contains costs $300 according to Felix, a medication management company.
Dosage varies depending on need, so each injector contains between four to six doses of the medication.
Since weight loss is not the intended use of Ozempic, there are no studies on how long to use it for this treatment. Studies tend to range from 30-56 weeks of use, but it’s important to stick to a plan made with your doctor.
Many people online have shared their experience of the Ozempic weight loss plateau. Studies show that by week 60, you’re unlikely to lose more weight.
Discuss with your doctor how much weight you would like to lose and create a schedule before your first dose. Consult with them throughout to ensure the plan stays safe and effective.
When prescribed for type 2 diabetes, the drug is eligible for reimbursement. Check with your insurance provider before starting any new medications to ensure it is covered.
Popular Medications for Weight Loss in North America
Obesity Canada has a pharmacotherapy decision tool on their website, helping Canadians know the next step in their journey.
They list the medications available in Canada:
Talk with your doctor about dosage and length of treatment as it varies from patient to patient.
Liraglutide comes in two brands: Victorza and Saxenda. Mayo Clinic explains, “It is used when diet and exercise alone do not result in good blood sugar control. It is also used to help reduce the risk of heart and blood vessel problems, including heart attacks and strokes in patients with type 2 diabetes and established heart or blood vessel disease.”
Naltrexone/Bupropion is branded under the name Contrave. According to a study from NIH, Contrave works by sending signals in the brain that “promote satiety, reduce food intake, and enhance energy expenditure.”
Semaglutide is sold under three different brand names: Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus. Medline Plus describes how the drug works. “It works by helping the pancreas to release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high… Semaglutide also works by slowing the movement of food through the stomach.” This makes you feel full quicker and for a longer period of time.
Coverage in Canada
Discuss possible side effects with your healthcare provider to ensure the best experience. Not every drug works for every person and it may take some experimenting, with medical guidance of course, to find the right one for you.
Take charge of your health by advocating for your needs and read The Health Insider’s article about why you should have your own medical records.