6 Real Women on Ozempic: The Good, The Bad and How They Pay for It

Because we all want to know

Multi-media collage of woman's body, tape measurer, newspaper clippings.
Digital art by Paula Boudes

As much as it’s been the summer of fun-loving Barbie looks, joy-inducing Eras mobs and empowered Beyoncé crowds, it’s also the summer of “How did she do it?” “It” being “slim down,” “get abs,” or “fit into those jeans”? The answer, shared in whispers and text threads, is likely Ozempic, the injectable drug originally meant to treat Type 2 diabetes, that’s taken the media and market by storm for one particular side effect: its ability to help users drop pounds.

Brought to the masses’ attention as a “Hollywood secret,” Ozempic and its counterparts (aka, GLP-1 agonists and closely related drugs that release insulin to make you feel full) have become synonymous to some as A-lister weight-loss cop outs. To others, the drugs are symptoms of a disturbing cultural obsession with thinness and the decaying future of healthcare.

But to a lot of us, we just…want to know more. How do you get it? How much does it cost? Are the side effects that bad? The buzzing questions come from the fact that there is an air of mystery and taboo around these drugs and the people taking them for weight loss. What we know is that Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, so it’s tricky to get insurance to cover it for off-label use (when a physician prescribes a drug to treat a condition different from its approved use). Wegovy, on the other hand, is approved for weight loss, and those with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 are typically eligible for it—still, how much you pay largely depends on your insurance policy.

It’s kinda all over the place. So we figured the best way to the bottom of our questions was to chat with women who’ve taken Ozempic and similar injectables (Wegovy and Mounjaro) to learn how they really did it—from how they pay for it to what their long-term plans are.

1. The One Who’s Happier Than She’s Been in Months

Who: The 42-year-old director in New York, NY
Drug: Ozempic
Time On: 5 months
Weight Change: - 25 lbs.
How Much It Costs: When insurance covered it, $25 per six weeks. Now, it’s not covered, so it’s $1,000 per six weeks. However, I’ve started spacing mine out, taking it every 12-ish days instead of every seven. (I basically made this strategy up on my own without my doctor.)
Why You're On It: I gained a lot of weight during a serious bout with depression. Loads of therapy, antidepressants and Xanax helped me begin to function again, but I could NOT get a handle on losing the weight on top of everything else. I had a friend on Ozempic, and I mentioned this to my psychologist, who said they had other patients who were taking it and saying positive things about it. I spoke with my general practitioner, and they agreed and prescribed it.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: It's a rolling prescription, there really hasn't been any required appointments.
Negative Side Effects: I swear I have body aches more, even though that doesn't seem to be a "thing"?
Positive Side Effects: My mental health—which I've spent so much time and money trying to regulate and improve it—has changed. One of my doctors said talking to me is like talking to a different person now, AND I AGREE. Hate on Ozempic all you want, but it has made me feel like myself again.
Appetite Changes: I still have an appetite, but I have control over it. I don't care about eating something as much as I care about how shitty I know it will make me feel about myself the next day. It's like a glimpse into how people who haven't had food issues their whole lives have been living all along. Also, I drink less alcohol without even thinking about it.
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: I've made a point not to up my dosage and don't plan on being on it forever. I'm choosing healthier meals to take full advantage of the decreased appetite. I'm also exercising again, motivated by how happy I am that I've lost weight and want to keep losing more and continue to feel better and better.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I get the stigma. It's like how “needing a therapist” was thought of as a weakness for decades. And I get the controversy of not knowing the long-term effects of any drug. But given how I feel today vs. how I felt six months ago—I don't care. Make me a statistic, at least I'm living better in the meantime.

2. The One Who Still Works Out 5 Days a Week

Who: The 39-year-old Data Analyst in San Francisco, CA
Drug: Ozempic, Wegovy
Time On: 5 months (I started Ozempic in February 2023 and then my insurance changed its policy on Ozempic, so I have been on Wegovy since April.)
Weight Change: - 45 pounds
How Much It Costs:  $1,185 per month, but my copay is $25 with insurance. (My plan covers weight loss medications based on BMI and a history of trying other methods of weight loss.)
Why You're On It: Weight loss.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: Anytime I have a dose increase I meet with my doctor after about four weeks to discuss side effects, how I’m feeling or any changes.
Negative Side Effects: Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, sulfur burps
Positive Side Effects: Weight loss, appetite suppression. Also, I used to have cravings for things like diet soda and wanting a glass of wine after a stressful day at the office or whatever, and both of those have completely gone away, I don’t even think about them. Oh and no more food noise! (Aka intrusive or obsessive thoughts about food.) 
Appetite Changes: I’m not hungry pretty much ever, so I need to track my calories to make sure that I am hitting the minimum calories for the day.
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: Long-term, I want to stay at the lowest dosage that I possibly can in order to maintain my results.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I think there’s a lot of misinformation out there, or at least information that gets blown out of proportion—like side effects. Yes, they’re real and they suck, but I think some people have them very badly while others (like me) experience them occasionally. I also think the biggest misconception is that you’ll just inject yourself and get skinny, and it doesn’t work like that. The injections are there to help with appetite suppression. I’m still working out five times a week taking a SoulCycle class or a Pilates class, moving a lot and eating healthy.

3. The One Who’s Dealing with a Backorder

Who: The 32-year-old Project Manager in Melbourne, FL
Drug: Wegovy
Time On: I was only able to take it for one month; it's been backordered since June.
Weight Change: - 10 pounds
How Much It Costs: $1,400/month (and then I had a $400 discount card). If my bloodwork showed I was pre-diabetic, I would have been prescribed Ozempic, and insurance would have covered some of the cost. Because my glucose levels were normal, but my BMI was 33, I qualified for Wegovy, which is for weight loss, but no insurance coverage.
Why You're On It: I've struggled with being overweight for most of my life. I lost 30 pounds naturally last year through strict dieting (calorie counting) and exercise. I wanted a push to lose the remaining 40 pounds to get to my goal weight.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: None so far.
Negative Side Effects: None, honestly.
Positive Side Effects: I lost weight!
Appetite Changes: It cuts your appetite immediately. I would only be able to eat maybe half of each meal before I felt incredibly full. By week three, I was basically only eating because I knew I was supposed to be.
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: If it becomes available again, I'll start it again and stay on it until I reach my goal, then wean off of it.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I think it's absurd, and the people who are hating on it are jealous they're not on it lol. Or they're self-righteous and suffered to reach their goal bodies and think everyone else should suffer too. People are erroneously claiming that "selfish/vain" people are taking Ozempic from diabetic patients, and it's just straight up false. Trust me, I tried to get Ozempic. It would have saved me a ton of money.

4. The One Who’s Relishing the New-Found Peace of Mind and Control

Who: The 39-year-old Executive Creative Director in New York, NY
Drug: Wegovy
Time On: 9 months
Weight Change: - 15 pounds. I lost weight in the first two months and have stayed there. So not BAD, but not anywhere as much as I was hoping given the hype and the current condition of Mindy Kaling.
How Much It Costs: With my insurance coverage, I was able to switch to 90-day supply. So I pay $150 for a 90-day supply, or $30/month through Express Scripts. 
Why You're On It: When I went to my annual check-up last October my doctor asked me if I was interested in learning more about weight management injectables based on my weight and BMI. I had not heard of them, and it seemed REALLY extreme to me to inject a medication to lose weight. But I had steadily gained weight after stopping breastfeeding with my second child, and I was feeling very hopeless. The approaches I used to lose weight (from the previous 25 years of my life) were not working.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: I think I have seen her twice since she prescribed it? She also made me sign up to meet with a nutritionist. I hated him. Then I found another nutritionist—I hated her too. There should really be a rule that someone cannot be a nutritionist if they have never been overweight a day in their life. The last thing I want to do in my life is have a 30-minute Zoom session with a naturally thin 25 year-old. 
Negative Side Effects: I can’t really handle alcohol. Every time I drink or eat something sugary I get a massive migraine or I throw up. Or both. So I rarely drink now. I also feel sick if I have fried food. I sometimes get burpy a day or so after a new dose, but it's not really something I notice anymore.
Positive Side Effects: It IS NOT a miracle drug. But it does make me feel like I have a fighting chance. It turns off the part of your brain that is constantly screaming “I want that! Don’t eat that! I want that! Don’t eat that!” which is such a wonderful way to live. I feel a lot better in my body and I feel like I have more control.
Appetite Changes: I became a one piece of pizza person. Could you imagine? Eating one slice of pizza and then your brain goes “That’s enough now.” I can have one breakfast taco and feel completely satisfied. I can have three French fries, and I get that signal from my body that says I am finished. I feel like I have a skinny person's brain now. It's such a beautiful thing. Hunger is not gone gone, but it is chill now. I notice I need food now if I start to feel lightheaded or get a headache.
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: Take it forever and hope I don’t get cancer. I love being on it. The thought of not being on it feels very scary to me. I don’t want to go back to my old relationship with food.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I get very annoyed when I see skinny people in the media talking about how it's not necessary and we should all just try mindful eating. You can fuck right off with that. Society wants us to be skinny, pays us more if we are skinny, and then judges us for using a tool that gives us a fighting chance to fit into standard sizing clothing. It’s fucked. I’ve been trying to lose weight since I was 11 years old. My 23andMe told me I am “genetically disposed to weigh more than average.” Thinking about my weight has been at the front of my mind for most of my life. Having a medication that helps that all be a little quieter is really nice. I guess I also hope the media coverage drives more research so I can worry less about it giving me cancer?

5. The One Whose Stress Was Taking Over Her Life

Who: The 44-year-old Writer in Chicago, IL
Drug: Wegovy
Time On: One year
Weight Change: - 50 pounds. (Would like to lose 30 more).
How Much It Costs: $24/month with insurance. I’m on Blue Cross Blue Shield Illinois. I live in fear that they will revoke coverage, which I see happening to others taking Wegovy in a Facebook support group I'm in.
Why You're On It: My weight skyrocketed after having twins and during the pandemic that immediately followed. I have always struggled with addictive eating/overeating, and I was feeling powerless and hopeless to stop it. Once when I smiled at my son while putting him to bed, he said, "You look so pretty when you smile, but you never do. You're always sad." I was feeling desperate, and knew I needed something, anything, to set me on a better path. I found a new GP, and during my first checkup she told me about Wegovy and said she had lost 70 pounds on it herself. She prescribed it for me, and I immediately began to lose weight.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: I check in with her via email when I need prescription refills, and I have an annual checkup with her this week.
Negative Side Effects: None that outweigh the benefits. Felt a little nauseous in the beginning.
Positive Side Effects: I'm happier, my blood pressure is back to normal, I'm working out a ton because I feel better moving my body, I'm more patient with my kids and husband, and much more confident at work and in life.
Appetite Changes:  For the first six months my appetite was very reduced. I was able to easily eat small portions and focus on veggies, salads and almost exclusively healthy foods. I'm a bit worried that I've been hearing more of the "food noise,” and that maybe the effects of the drug are wearing off.
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: Keep taking it indefinitely, or as long as insurance will cover.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I don't appreciate the stigma I see in reader comments: "Get some self-control. Just lose the weight on your own." For me, the health benefits of losing this much weight feel super worth it. I don't think I could have done it on my own, and I actually had thoughts that I would have a heart attack and die, leaving my children behind. It was serious.

6. The One Who Misses Cooking

Who: The 45-year-old Museum Board Member in Suffolk County, NY
Drug: Mounjaro
Time On: 2.5 months
Weight Change: ~20 pounds
How Much It Costs: My insurance covers Mounjaro, but not because I'm diabetic. I have no idea how my doctor's office was able to get it covered, but they did.
Why You're On It: Because I am 45 years old and that shit ain't coming off by regular means.
Follow Up with Prescribing Doctor: I have a follow-up appointment at the three-month mark.
Negative Side Effects: Random bouts of violently explosive diarrhea and a general disinterest in food and food-related activities.
Positive Side Effects: Aside from the weight loss, I’ve had less bloating, gas and heartburn. It’s also helped curb my alcohol consumption. My chronic back pain is less now that I have lost some weight.
Appetite Changes: For the most part, I feel full much faster with less food. I also just generally have less interest in food. Like I could take it or leave it. It's a little bit of a bummer to be so disinterested in food, since I loved food, cooking and making meals for friends and family. Now I wish I could just put some crackers on a plate for my husband and kids for meals and call it a day (I don't).
Long-Term Plans with the Drug: My doctor said she only envisioned me being on it for about three months since I didn't have a significant amount of weight to lose. We'll see what she says at my follow-up appointment. She gave me no information about what would happen when I go off of it. I'm trying not to think about it.
Reaction to the Media Coverage: I don't like that people feel ashamed about it—everyone should do what makes them happy and F all the haters. I don't go up to people and introduce myself by saying "Hi, I'm Rhonda and I'm on Ozempic," but if someone says I look great, I'll tell them candidly why that is.

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