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Expected weight loss on semaglutide: Results from clinical studies

What the research says about weight loss using semaglutide, like Ozempic and Wegovy.

Weight Loss on Semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) | Juniper

Thanks to a number of scientific studies, we know that semaglutide is an effective medication for medical weight loss.

You may recognise semaglutide as the active ingredient used in the medications Ozempic, which is used to treat diabetes, and Wegovy, which is used to treat obesity.

For those who have struggled with their weight for years, semaglutide can help people achieve impressive weight loss outcomes and improve their health in the long term.

If you've been wondering if semaglutide could help you on your weight loss journey, you might be wondering how much weight you can expect to lose. Well, we've collated everything you need to know about semaglutide and what the research tells us about expected weight loss when using this medication.

What is Ozempic and Wegovy?

Ozempic is a simple, weekly injection that contains the weight loss drug semaglutide, which can help you lose weight. It's a pharmaceutical drug initially developed to help people with diabetes control and lower blood sugar levels [1].

Wegovy also contains the active ingredient, semaglutide, but is licensed specifically for weight management in the UK, whereas Ozempic is licensed for the treatment of diabetes.

A second difference between the two medications is that Wegovy has the additional benefit of higher doses than Ozempic, which aids even greater weight loss results.

The Juniper Weight Reset Programme uses Wegovy — check your eligibility here.

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How does semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) work?

Semaglutide mimics a natural hormone in your body called GLP-1 [2]. This hormone is produced by your digestive system in response to eating food and it acts on both the brain and the digestive system to regulate how full you feel after a meal.

It also slows down the emptying of your stomach into the rest of your digestive system.

GLP-1 regulates insulin secretion in response to eating meals so that your blood sugar is better controlled — even lowering blood sugar levels and reducing your appetite by signalling your brain that you've eaten a meal.

The injectable medication acts just like this natural hormone to make you feel fuller for longer and reduces your cravings for more food. Enhancing the way your body regulates blood sugar levels and the storage of fat can help patients lose weight.

Can Ozempic be used for weight loss?

In the UK, Ozempic is licensed for the treatment of diabetes, while Wegovy is licensed specifically for weight loss. We know that semaglutide, like Wegovy, is the most effective drug available for patients with obesity to lose weight in the UK right now [3][1][4].

In fact, the results from recent research trials have been incredibly exciting. Semaglutide was tested in 6 key trials (SUSTAIN 1) which involved 7,215 patients. 4,107 patients were treated with semaglutide and the others were in a placebo group with no active drug — or sometimes taking another diabetes treatment.

Treatment with semaglutide demonstrated meaningful weight loss for up to 2 years compared to a placebo or other diabetes treatments. Results were similar across different ages, genders, races and ethnicities.

In these trials, after 1 year of treatment, up to 63% of patients lost 5% or more of their body weight and up to 27% of patients lost 10% or more of their body weight.

In one particular trial, conducted over 2 years, using 1mg of semaglutide with lifestyle interventions — such as diet changes and exercise — was compared with patients who only had lifestyle interventions [7]. Patients lost an average of 4.9kg with semaglutide compared to losing only 0.5kg without the drug.

The STEP-1 drug trial looked at higher doses of semaglutide (up to 2.4mg — Ozempic contains up to 1mg, while Wegovy goes up to 2.4mg) [1].

More than 85% of participants taking semaglutide lost 5% of their body weight, nearly 70% achieved a 10% weight loss, 50% achieved a 15% weight loss, and just under a third achieved a 20% weight loss.

It's important to note that semaglutide is a pharmaceutical drug and while it's beneficial to help you start your weight loss journey, lifestyle intervention — including sustainable and healthy lifestyle changes — is needed to ensure the weight stays off once you stop taking the drug.

The Juniper Weight Reset Programme prescribes Wegovy — check your eligibility here. Juniper's healthcare professionals are here to support you every step of the way and make the results of the medication even better.

How semaglutide (Ozempic and Wegovy) helps lower blood sugar levels

We know that semaglutide works to help your body regulate its food, sugar and fat metabolism, but there are other health benefits that were also discovered during the drug trials.

Helps your pancreas release more insulin

Semaglutide sends signals to your pancreas making it more responsive to increases in your blood sugar levels.

This means that when you eat a meal and your blood sugar increases as a result, your pancreas responds more quickly and releases more insulin to lower and improve blood sugar levels to their optimum state.

Semaglutide doesn't usually cause low blood sugar because it only triggers insulin when your blood sugar increases.

As a result, trials have shown that most patients' long-term blood sugar control was significantly improved, which may help reduce the likelihood of developing diabetes or complications from diabetes later in life.

Helps prevent your liver from storing too much sugar and fat

When your blood sugar stays high for longer than necessary, it causes your liver to turn it into glycogen and store this form of sugar in the liver and muscles. This can then be released when your blood sugar falls too low or in response to vigorous exercise.

However, it can also cause your liver to store this excess energy in your body as fat. Both semaglutide, together with lifestyle changes such as increased exercise, act to improve blood sugar levels which reduces this from happening.

Slows down food leaving your stomach

The medication sends signals to your stomach that encourage it to empty into other parts of your digestive system more slowly. This means that as your digestive system breaks down your food into sugars, it powers the cells in your body more smoothly and slowly too.

You get a slow and smooth increase in your blood sugar, rather than large peaks and troughs.

Overall, this improves blood glucose control and likely also reduces the chances of developing diabetes and the health consequences of complications on your body's organs.

Reduces the risk of cardiovascular events

Semaglutide has also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, particularly in those already at higher risk with type 2 diabetes.

The SUSTAIN-6 trial specifically looked at how the medication affects major cardiovascular events, such as strokes and heart attacks [7].

Treating people with type 2 diabetes who already had a high risk of heart attack and stroke with semaglutide resulted in significantly lower rates of death and non-fatal events than those who received the placebo.

How long does it take to lose weight?

Everyone is different and will start the Juniper Weight Reset Programme at their own stage of their weight loss journey.

Once you begin using semaglutide, some people can find it takes several weeks to see any weight loss, yet others may see some weight loss within a week or 2. While it can be difficult, try to remain patient — change looks different for everyone.

The Juniper Weight Reset Programme is designed around consistent, sustained gradual healthy weight loss over time, rather than fad diet plans that can often give you early rapid weight loss, but at the expense of reaching your long-term weight loss goals.

How much weight will I lose with semaglutide?

About a third of people who take semaglutide for weight loss will lose 10% or more of their body weight. Most people should expect to lose at least 5% of their starting body weight when using the medication for weight loss.

We know that people lose weight differently, but those who see the highest weight reductions are those who are supported by healthcare professionals — making the lifestyle changes required for sustainable change much easier.

This includes addressing diet, exercise and using behavioural sciences to adapt your food habits.

How to use semaglutide for weight loss

You'll start on the lowest dose, 0.25mg, and then gradually increase. For Ozempic, the dose increases to 1mg after 8 weeks. For Wegovy, the dose can increase to 2.4mg over 16 weeks.

This helps your body adjust to the medication in the first few weeks and reduces the severity of common side effects, such as nausea.

Ozempic and Wegovy both come in a pre-filled injection that looks like a pen, along with single-use needles. It takes just 2 minutes to use and is accompanied by full instructions on how and where to inject [5].

Simply put a new needle onto your pen, select your dose and then hold the pen firmly against the skin of your tummy, upper thigh, or upper arm while you hold down the injector button.

Finally, pop the used needle into the secure sharps container that we provide to you as part of the Juniper Weight Reset Programme (which prescribes semaglutide), — that's it!

Wegovy dosing information

When you begin your weight loss journey with Wegovy, you'll need to slowly build up your use of the medication over a series of weeks.

Wegovy pens are available in 5 different dosages: 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1.0mg, 1.7mg, and 2.4mg.

Wegovy starting dose

Wegovy treatment for weight loss starts at 0.25mg, which is administered once per week. You stay at that low dose for at least the first 4 weeks of treatment while your body adjusts to the medication.

Wegovy maintenance dose

Your prescriber at Juniper will usually titrate your dose upwards every 4 weeks as your body gets used to the treatment. During this time, you'll keep in touch with your prescriber at Juniper to determine when is best to increase your dosage.

After 4 weeks of using a 0.25mg pen every week, you'll usually increase to a 0.5mg dose. Your dosage may then increase further over the coming weeks, up to 2.4mg.

With Juniper, you can decide at any time to stay on the same dosage or reduce your dosage.

Who shouldn't use semaglutide for weight loss?

Most people can take semaglutide for weight loss safely, but there are some medicines and medical conditions that might make it unsuitable for you due to increased safety risks [5].

Some of the reasons you shouldn't use semaglutide for weight loss (or we may need to give you special advice) are:

  • An allergy to any of the ingredients;
  • Diabetes and taking insulin or certain other medicines;
  • Kidney problems;
  • Certain digestive system problems;
  • History of an eating disorder;
  • Pregnancy, breastfeeding or trying to have a baby.

This isn't a complete list, as underlying health conditions may impact your eligibility, so when you have a consultation with a Juniper prescriber, we'll make sure that semaglutide is suitable for your individual circumstances before prescribing it.

Ozempic for diabetes

Ozempic was approved and launched in 2019 for the treatment of diabetes for some patients where other medicines did not control their blood sugar well enough [6].

This followed many years of laboratory tests and human clinical trials to prove it's safe and effective.

Ozempic works to treat diabetes by increasing insulin secretion to control blood sugar levels, with the added benefit of weight loss — which also helps many patients with diabetes control their blood sugar better.

What are other weight loss medications?

There are some other weight loss medications available that provide an option to treat people living with obesity prior to the extreme option of bariatric surgery.

All of these should be appropriately considered for your individual circumstances and prescribed by a qualified healthcare professional.


Rybelsus is a tablet form of semaglutide — the active ingredient in Wegovy and Ozempic, that needs to be taken daily, rather than a weekly injection.

It is not currently licensed for the treatment of weight loss in the UK. Whilst it has been shown to be effective for weight loss, trials showed that it was around 30-40% less effective for weight loss than Wegovy [8].


Metformin is a drug that has been used to treat diabetes for many years and helps your body produce and use insulin more effectively.

It has been shown to have some positive effects on body weight in some clinical trials, however, the results and side effects can be very variable and unpredictable.

This means Metformin is unlikely to be a good choice for a safe and effective weight loss treatment.


Trulicity contains dulaglutide and is injected weekly, like Ozempic and Wegovy. It works in a very similar way to semaglutide and has broadly similar results for weight loss in some drug trials, though there's less data available for weight loss than there is for semaglutide.

It's currently licensed in the UK for the treatment of diabetes, but not for weight loss.


Saxenda contains liraglutide, which works in the same way as semaglutide but requires an injection every day because the drug is much shorter-acting.

Saxenda is licensed for weight loss in the UK, but clinical trial results for weight loss show that Saxenda is slightly less effective than Wegovy and Ozempic [4].


Orlistat is a drug that blocks certain enzymes in your gut which normally work to break down fats from the food you eat and enable this to enter your bloodstream.

Blocking these enzymes means you absorb fewer calories from the fats you eat, and this results in weight loss.

Orlistat is significantly less effective than semaglutide and people often have some annoying digestive system side-effects — including severe to mild digestion discomfort issues, which can result in patients stopping treatment before getting significant weight loss results.

Other diabetes medications that may cause weight loss

Some other diabetes medicines, such as those that increase the amount of sugar removed from your body by your kidneys in urine (e.g. canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, empagliflozin) have been shown to cause small reductions in body weight.

However, the weight loss results are too small to consider this particularly effective.

Before taking semaglutide

Before you use semaglutide, always read the leaflet from the manufacturer that comes inside the pack before you take your first dose.

Our programme combines medication with personalised health coaching and lifestyle changes to help you lose weight and keep it off in the long term. The leaflet comes with full instructions and pictures on how to use the pen properly, how to store and dispose of your pens and what side effects to look out for.

If you need some more help or reassurance with using semaglutide for the first time, our support team is also here to help guide you. And, always consult a specialised semaglutide weight loss prescriber, such as our Juniper team, before using a medication like Wegovy.

We will ask you for the right information to assess whether semaglutide is safe and likely to be effective for you as an individual.