Wegovy is not yet available in the UK

Whilst we wait for Wegovy to be available in the UK, it is possible to buy Ozempic, which contains the same compound as Wegovy. Ozempic is also a weekly injection, and while the dose between the two medications differs, Ozempic is also effective for weight loss.[1]

Our UK-based pharmacy prescribes Ozempic pens for weight loss alongside our behaviour change programme and unlimited WhatsApp support. The best way to take Ozempic is in combination with a behavioural treatment, and we provide you with both!

Habitual GLP-1 plans include:

  • Prescription Ozempic pen, delivered every 4 weeks to your door
  • Unlimited 1-on-1 support with our Care Team via WhatsApp
  • An optional peer support group, also on WhatsApp
  • Weekly behaviour change content and exercises to help you make lasting changes

More information about Wegovy and Ozempic

What is semaglutide?

Semaglutide is a medication that was originally used to help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugars. It belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.

Semaglutide works by mimicking the action of a hormone called GLP-1, which is produced in the gut after eating. GLP-1 helps to stimulate insulin secretion from the pancreas and reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver.

Semaglutide is usually taken once a week by injection under the skin (subcutaneously), although it is also available in tablet form (called Rybelsus). It has been shown to improve glycemic control, reduce body weight, and lower the risk of cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes. It has also been shown to have benefits for people with obesity who do not have diabetes.

It is important to note that semaglutide should be used in combination with diet and exercise to achieve optimal results.

What is the difference between Ozempic and Wegovy?

Ozempic and Wegovy are both injectable medications that contain semaglutide, but they differ in their dosages and indications.

Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable medication that contains semaglutide 0.25mg, 0.5mg, or 1mg. It is used to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes and to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in people with established cardiovascular disease. It is also commonly prescribed off-label for use in combination with diet and exercise to help adults with obesity achieve weight loss.

Wegovy, on the other hand, is a higher-dose formulation of semaglutide, which is given once a week as an injection under the skin. It contains a maximum of 2.4mg of semaglutide and is indicated for chronic weight management in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 kg/m² or greater, or a BMI of 27 kg/m² or greater with at least one weight-related comorbidity, such as hypertension, type 2 diabetes, or dyslipidemia.

In summary, Ozempic and Wegovy are both formulations of semaglutide, but they differ in their dosages and indications. There is a bit of crossover between them, however, because many patients who are unable to access Wegovy (such as those in the UK, because Wegovy is not yet available) will get a private prescription for Ozempic, even though they do not have type 2 diabetes.

Can I sign up for Ozempic and switch to Wegovy once it's available?

Yes! As Wegovy and Ozempic contain the same compound, it is possible to start on Ozempic and then switch to Wegovy without restarting the dose escalation. Patients on Ozempic and Wegovy both start on 0.25mg for the first 4 weeks, then 0.5mg for the second four weeks and 1mg for the third four weeks. The following doses of Wegovy are 1.7mg and 2.4mg.

The benefit to signing up to Ozempic and then switching is that the dose escalation to reach 1mg already takes 2 months, so you can get a head start and then switch once Wegovy becomes available.

When will Wegovy be available in the UK?

It is expected that Wegovy will be available privately from spring of 2023, however a date has not yet been confirmed. The NHS is expected to start offering Wegovy to some patients within 3 months of the UK launch.

Will Wegovy be available from the NHS?

Some patients will be be able to access Wegovy on the NHS, however the availability will be very limited. The NHS has said that about 35,000 patients per year will be able to access specialist weight management programmes which include a Wegovy prescription, and this will only be for patients with a BMI of 30 or greater, with certain weight-related conditions.

What are the side effects of Wegovy?

As with all medications, it's important to be aware of the potential side effects before starting on a newmedication.

The most commonly reported side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Constipation
  • Indigestion
  • Reflux or heartburn
  • Stomach pain and bloating of the stomach

If your side effects are unmanageable, it's important to alert your prescriber and potentially stop treatment. Whilst Ozempic is generally regarded as being very safe, everyone reacts differently.

The side effects of Ozempic tend to be greater alongside dosage increases (i.e. when you take your first dose of a new concentration) and subside within a few days. If you are experiencing unexpected or unmanageable side effects, please contact your GP so that they can determine the best plan of action.

Who can use Ozempic for weight loss?

Ozempic can be used for weight loss by anyone with a BMI of 30 or over, or 27 or over with certain weight-related conditions such as PCOS or high blood pressure (apart from those listed below). The first step to getting started with Habitual is our medical consultation, which will check that you're eligible for treatment. After that, a UK-based prescriber will double check everything to make sure you're safe before writing your prescription.

Who should not take Ozempic for weight loss?

Ozempic is not suitable for:

  • women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • those with type 1 diabetes
  • those who have previously discontinued GLP-1 treatment due to side effects

To check your eligibility, please go ahead and complete our online consultation here.

Is Ozempic approved for weight loss in the UK?

Ozempic is injectable semaglutide that is intended for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, however it has become relatively common practice to prescribe Ozempic off-label for weight loss, since the weight loss version of Ozempic (called Wegovy) is not yet available in the UK. NICE has issued draft guidance for the licensing of Wegovy, however at present Wegovy is not available in the UK, so many patients without type 2 diabetes have been taking Ozempic for weight loss.

It's important to understand is that “off-label” prescribing is a relatively common and accepted practice amongst prescribers. Off label simply means that the prescriber wants their patient to use it in a different way than that stated in its licence. The licence for Ozempic states that it should be prescribed for type 2 diabetes, however as it contains the exact same compound as Wegovy, which has been studied for weight loss, it's become common for patients to take off-label Ozempic for weight loss.

For how long can you take Ozempic or Wegovy?

While the NHS will only allow patients to access Wegovy for up to two years, there is no limit on how long you can take Wegovy as a private patient.


[1] “Once-weekly semaglutide in adults with overweight or obesity” (2021) New England Journal of Medicine, 385(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1056/nejmc2106918.
[2] Wilding, J.P. et al. (2022) “Weight regain and cardiometabolic effects after withdrawal of semaglutide: The            step 1 trial extension,” Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, 24(8), pp. 1553–1564. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/dom.14725.