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Semaglutide: How much does it cost?

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in weight loss medications, Wegovy.

How much does Semaglutide Cost? | Juniper

You've heard all about the weight loss medication Wegovy and did some digging on its active ingredient, semaglutide. There's a lot of buzz flying around and it all sounds too good to be true. The good news is that it's all backed by science.

But with all that information out there, it can be hard to find out who it's for and how to get it.

Dive into our guide below and get all the facts so you can make the best choice for you.

What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a weight loss drug that is taken as a weekly dose and can help with weight management, alongside lifestyle changes to your exercise regime and diet. But what exactly is it, and how does it help you lose weight?

Semaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide 1 agonist or GLP-1 for short. This is a naturally occurring hormone that can help boost basal insulin, reduce the amount of sugar produced in the liver, and reduce your appetite. All of these things work together to create an effective weight-loss medication.

Mimicking the glucagon-like peptide 1 that naturally occurs in the lower gastrointestinal tract (a.k.a. your gut), this ingredient helps you feel full when eating and lets your brain know it's time to stop.

It was initially developed to help treat diabetic ketoacidosis when the body doesn't produce enough insulin, and control blood sugar levels. Semaglutide is now more widely used for weight loss, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Ozempic, which contains the active ingredient semaglutide, is licensed for the treatment of diabetes in the UK, while Wegovy is used for weight management.

This medication can also be taken orally in the form of semaglutide tablets like Rybelsus, although this is usually only advised for patients who can't use injections for a variety of reasons. The reason that the tablet form isn't as regularly used or recommended is that subcutaneous GLP-1 is more effective [1].

It might sound complicated but simply put, it means that semaglutide injections have higher rates of success.

Is semaglutide effective for weight loss?

Many clinical trials have been conducted that have proven the efficacy of semaglutide as a weight loss management tool. But how effective can it be, and for who?

One study took a look at the extent of total body weight lost with consistent use of semaglutide over time and showed that at 68 weeks of consistent semaglutide use [2]:

  • 69.1% of participants had lost more than 10% of their total body weight
  • 50.5% of participants had lost more than 15% of their total body weight
  • Overall, 1 in 3 participants lost at least 20% of their total body weight
  • The average total body weight loss was 14.9%

And most importantly, while clinical trials and studies show just how effective semaglutide is for losing weight, using this medication also helps improve health-related quality of life in many other ways too [3].

With stats like that, you're probably wondering if you are eligible for this weight loss medication. Let's dive into how accessible semaglutide is in the UK, and what requirements you'd need to meet before you can get a prescription.

Can you buy semaglutide in the UK?

Semaglutide is the active ingredient in a number of medications including Ozempic, Wegovy, and Rybelsus (oral semaglutide) and its application and prescription are becoming increasingly common. And, you can buy it in the UK.

While Ozempic is licensed for diabetes treatment in the UK, you can access semaglutide medications like Wegovy for weight loss in the UK but you do need a prescription and clearance from a medical professional before you get started.

We offer semaglutide as part of Juniper's Weight Reset Programme. Alongside the clinically proven medication, we offer a holistic programme that is tailored to help you meet your goals. Our team of clinicians offer 1:1 health tracking as well as lifestyle and health coaching. Plus, you're given access to Juniper's private community of women who are on the same journey as you while also receiving the medication.

While medically defined obese patients will typically be eligible for a medication like Wegovy, you may also be eligible if you have a BMI (body mass index) over 30, 27.5, or 24.5 depending on your family background. Some healthcare professionals might also require a patient to be currently experiencing at least one weight-related health condition, such as high blood pressure or cholesterol.

Depending on which platform you go through, you may be able to complete the eligibility process online. In some cases, you may be requested to complete an in-person consultation.

Do I need a prescription for semaglutide?

Semaglutide prescriptions can only be offered by healthcare professionals, like our clinicians at Juniper. If you're interested in semaglutide and whether this medication may be helpful for you, consider completing our text-based quiz.

While semaglutide has been proven to be effective for weight loss, it also needs to be paired with a well-rounded approach for sustainable weight loss. We recommend finding a platform that will help you lose weight, adjust your mindset to behavioural changes, and provide holistic support and coaching to keep you on track for the long term.

Can I get semaglutide on the NHS?

Yes, semaglutide is available on the NHS. At the moment it's only available for patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The National Institute for Health and Care and Excellence (NICE) has recommended the use of semaglutide alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity to adults who have at least 1 weight-related comorbidity and a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35kg/m2.

To access Wegovy through the NHS, you will need a referral to an NHS specialist weight management service and complete the wait times to see if you are eligible. Because it's a licensed treatment, if you have type 2 diabetes mellitus, you can claim semaglutide on NHS for a 2-year period. If you're currently self-funding but have type 2 diabetes, this might be something you want to look into.

The most common side effects of semaglutide

Before you jump in it's important to ask if there are possible side effects to any new drug you're thinking about taking. Your clinician should discuss the treatment options available to you, and any side effects that come with medication.

While there are a few notable possible side effects like nausea, dizziness, diarrhoea, and stomach discomfort, these can be mitigated with regular check-ins with your trusted healthcare provider.

To help avoid any unwanted side effects, it's important to remember that while semaglutide does decrease appetite, keeping up your hydration and including a balanced nutrient diet in your weight loss plan is key and can help reduce any side effects.

And while there may be a list of things to expect when starting any new prescription, it's important to take some time to consider both the pros and the cons. For example, semaglutide has been proven to decrease the risk of cardiovascular events such as stroke or heart attack [5].

Ready to get started? Right from your starting dose, you are committing to a healthier, happier you. And you can expect to see benefits in all aspects of your life, not just the scales. With semaglutide as just one tool in a holistic weight loss plan, you'll be ready to tackle anything.

With Juniper's Weight Reset Programme, our healthcare team will guide you through the process of gaining a prescription for semaglutide if you are eligible, which can be shipped right to your door, as well as providing a supportive environment and access to a wide range of healthcare practitioners to help you on this journey.

Begin your journey with a text-based consultation with a UK-based professional today.