Debunking the myths about semaglutide

Did you know that semaglutide is both a diabetes and weight loss medicine?

You might recognise semaglutide by the brand name Ozempic when it’s used to regulate insulin in type 2 diabetics. More recently, the pharmaceutical manufacturer Novo Nordisk has unveiled semaglutide as a weight loss game changer known as Wegovy.

Semaglutide affects your blood sugar levels, suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller for longer. Many news outlets report that high-profile celebrities use semaglutide to lose weight; however, it’s not suitable for everyone and it isn’t easily accessible, either. You have to be clinically overweight and have a certain BMI to be eligible.


Just like this, there are other myths circulating the internet that are harming semaglutide’s reputation. That’s why we’re debunking some of the common myths and misconceptions about semaglutide so you can get to know this wonder-drug a little better.

  1. 1. Semaglutide is only for diabetes

Since 2017, semaglutide has been a one-hit-wonder, being used solely by diabetics to help lower their blood sugar. However, it’s prescribed off-label for weight loss, too, by offering a different dosage.

In February 2022, semaglutide finally received recognition for its weight loss success. NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) issued guidance recommending semaglutide to be officially prescribed for overweight adults.

  1. 2. Semaglutide makes you sick every day

One of the common side effects of semaglutide is nausea and vomiting, but that isn’t to say everyone who takes semaglutide will experience it. If you are sick while taking semaglutide, the good news is that it typically won’t last, and should subside once your body adjusts to the medicine.

In the meantime, there are ways to manage nausea symptoms by:

  • Eating bland, low-fat foods
  • Eating foods that contain water, like soups
  • Eating slower
  • Not lying down after eating
  • Getting some fresh air

If you find that your symptoms persist, you should contact your doctor or Chemist4U pharmacist for advice on how you can reduce feelings of nausea. Alternatively, you might find that anti-sickness medicines like promethazine can help.

  1. 3. You’ll lose weight without dieting or exercising

While semaglutide helps you to lose weight, it isn’t a miracle drug – you’ll still have to put the work in! Think of it like a helping hand, there to support and steer you in the right direction on your weight loss journey.

Wegovy works by affecting your hormones rather than reducing the amount of fat your body absorbs from food, like orlistat. This is fine if you’re sticking to a strict, low-calorie diet, but if you eat too much fat, the side effects can be unpleasant.

Thankfully, Wegovy works differently by working to reduce your appetite. This helps you to stick to a healthier, low-calorie diet and make good, long-lasting habits to continue when you've stopped treatment to maintain your weight.

  1. 4. You won’t want to eat at all

Semaglutide helps you to lose weight by suppressing your appetite and making you feel fuller for longer. Compared to your usual eating habits, it can feel like you’re not hungry at all – even your once favourite, drool-worthy foods can trigger revulsion!

Ultimately, you will feel hunger, but it will be different. Semaglutide helps to reduce those all-consuming cravings and alter your food preferences, inclining you to reach for healthier options.

Sticking to your old eating habits (like overeating or not reducing your calorie intake) while taking semaglutide can increase your chances of side effects, like vomiting and diarrhoea.

  1. 5. You need to take it long term

Yes, semaglutide is a long-term weight loss treatment, but you won’t need to take it forever. This is because obesity is considered a chronic condition, thus, it makes sense to take it for a prolonged period of time. In fact, many people are able to lose 5% of their body weight within 12 weeks.

Semaglutide is well tolerated when taken on a long-term basis, but your prescriber will work with you to determine how long you should continue taking it depending on how much weight you’ve lost.

  1. 6. You’ll gain the weight back after finishing Wegovy

As we said earlier, semaglutide is an effective drug, but it isn’t a miracle one. Experiencing weight gain after Wegovy can happen if you don’t follow the same diet and lifestyle changes you adopted while you were taking it.

When you stop semaglutide, your appetite and levels of fullness are likely to return. So, if you want to avoid possible weight regain, frequent exercise and a healthy diet are a must.

  1. 7. You’ll get “Ozempic face”

When you lose a drastic amount of weight, it’s not just your body that will change; your face can, too. For some, this can cause the facial skin to sag, just as excess, sagging skin would remain around the stomach, for example.

This doesn’t happen to everyone who takes semaglutide, and it’s not the semaglutide itself that causes what’s colloquially known as ‘ozempic face’. It’s the quick and drastic weight loss that causes the skin to appear sagged and aged.

While taking Wegovy, we usually advise that you should be aiming to lose around 1-2 pounds a week consistently over the course of your treatment. This type of slow and steady weight loss should help to give your skin the chance to adjust.

Whether or not you decide to take semaglutide isn’t something that should be done lightly. Weight loss medicines like semaglutide aren’t suitable for everyone’s body and lifestyle – they come with potential side effects and you may have to take it long-term.

That’s why it’s important to decipher the truth from the myths, understand exactly how it works inside the body to encourage weight loss, the side effects, and of course, the funding. If you’re eager to discover more information about Wegovy, you can find our collection of helpful weight loss guides here.

Alternatively, if you want to buy Wegovy you can sign up to our mailing list and be one of the first to know when it's available to purchase in the UK.

Alexandra Moses - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 01 February 2023
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