Feb 14, 2024 • 6 min read

Can Ozempic Help With PCOS? Weight Loss & More 

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If you suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), you know firsthand what a challenging condition it is to manage. Symptoms can be difficult to address, including poor glucose control and weight gain, but one medication may be able to help.

Research has found that the popular type 2 diabetes medication Ozempic, may be able to help manage PCOS and potentially improve its associated symptoms.

Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable medication for the management of type 2 diabetes that has recently gained the spotlight for its benefits for weight loss. This semaglutide medication works by mimicking our body’s hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which helps with appetite regulation.

This guide goes over how Ozempic may be able to help with PCOS, including its benefits for weight loss, blood sugar management, and more.

What the research says: Can Ozempic help PCOS?

You may be wondering if medications like those we have been hearing so much about lately could help someone with PCOS lose weight. The answer is yes. Medications used for weight loss in other situations may also benefit those with PCOS and obesity.  

GLP-1 medications, such as semaglutide, have been proven to be effective in helping with glucose control and reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk which is why they are primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes. 

GLP-1 medications may also aid in weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity. Because of these findings, recent studies have begun looking into GLP-1 medications for the treatment and management of PCOS. 

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PCOS is a condition that affects a woman’s ovary function. It can include irregular periods, excessive androgen production, and polycystic ovaries. It’s often associated with insulin resistance, weight gain, PCOS belly, excessive hair growth, acne, and difficulty with fertility. 

One study found that GLP-1 medications exenatide and liraglutide are good options to help treat PCOS when used alone or in combination with metformin, particularly in those who are overweight, have glucose intolerance, CVD, or risk factors for CVD, or who suffer from infertility.

While GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic were not explicitly created to treat PCOS, they may provide benefits similar to those experienced by diabetes patients, including improving insulin sensitivity and reducing body weight.

Can Ozempic help with PCOS weight loss?

A common symptom of PCOS is weight gain which can result in overweight and obesity, both of which are risk factors for a variety of chronic health conditions including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Many struggle with losing weight with PCOS by using diet and lifestyle changes, despite this being the first line of treatment recommended. 

Metformin is a common type 2 diabetes medication that is often prescribed to women who suffer from PCOS to help with insulin resistance. However, it has only shown modest improvements in body weight in obese patients.

GLP-1 medications appear to show better results for weight loss in this population due to their effects on insulin resistance and appetite. While the study above showed liraglutide as a good option for PCOS treatment, many research studies show mixed results for weight loss.

Semaglutide, another type of GLP-1 medication that can be found under the brand names Wegovy and Ozempic, may show higher reductions in weight. Still, the studies on obese PCOS patients are very limited.

One study on 27 obese patients with PCOS taking a 0.5 mg weekly injection of semaglutide had a mean decrease in body weight of 16.7 pounds and a mean BMI loss of 3.1%. Nearly 80% of patients lost at least 5% of their body weight.

GLP-1 medications mimic your body’s natural GLP-1 hormone which regulates your appetite and is believed to be helpful for weight loss for people with type 2 diabetes and PCOS as well as the general population.

Ozempic, a brand of Semaglutide medication, may help manage PCOS symptoms, including weight loss however, more studies need to be done.

PCOS and insulin resistance

Women who suffer from PCOS experience insulin resistance as a common side effect. Insulin resistance occurs during PCOS due to an increased production of insulin which is unable to be used efficiently by the body, causing high blood glucose fluctuations.

Insulin resistance can increase the risk for health conditions like type 2 diabetes. Additionally, those who are overweight or obese are at a higher risk of developing insulin resistance even without PCOS.

Being that a large population of women with PCOS suffer from overweight or obesity, insulin resistance has become one of the most signifying traits of this condition. 

Ozempic was created to help treat type 2 diabetes by improving insulin resistance which is why it may be a helpful medication for those with PCOS as well. 

Other PCOS symptoms that Ozempic may help

While insulin resistance and weight gain are telltale signs of PCOS, this condition comes with a variety of other uncomfortable symptoms that may also be aided by GLP-1 medications like Ozempic. 

Below are some PCOS symptoms that Ozempic may help with: 

  • Excessive insulin production/insulin resistance. GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic can improve insulin resistance and excessive production by increasing glucose-dependent insulin release and inhibiting glucagon release (which increases blood sugar levels). GLP-1 medications also decrease glucose release from the liver.
  • High blood pressure. Some studies have found a positive correlation between GLP-1 medications and improvements in blood pressure and CVD risk outside of glycemic control and weight loss.
  • High cholesterol. GLP-1 medications may be beneficial for serum lipid concentrations, including improving LDL and total cholesterol levels as well as triglycerides. 
  • Infertility. When combined with Metformin, GLP-1 medications may help to improve menstrual regularity and infertility and provide better pregnancy outcomes, but the mechanism behind this is not well known and may be a result of weight loss.
  • Acne and hirsutism. According to a review, several small studies have found that GLP-1 medications may help to reduce androgen levels which are responsible for increased acne breakouts and hirsutism (male-pattern hair growth).
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Can you get prescribed Ozempic for PCOS? Insurance coverage & cost

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for the treatment of PCOS despite the potential benefits it may have on this population. Insurance coverage for Ozempic requires a type 2 diabetes diagnosis as this is what Ozempic is FDA-approved to treat.

Some physicians may prescribe Ozempic to those who suffer from PCOS off-label however, insurance coverage is unlikely unless a type 2 diabetes diagnosis is also present. 

If you want an Ozempic prescription to manage PCOS symptoms, you can ask your physician to request prior authorization for the off-label use of Ozempic, but insurance coverage is not guaranteed.

In most cases, obtaining Ozempic for the specific treatment of PCOS with no other underlying conditions will likely require out-of-pocket payment which will vary based on the dose and the number of pens. The average starting cost for Ozempic out-of-pocket is $915 per injection pen which is usually a month’s worth of doses.

Alternative GLP-1 medications that may provide benefit to those with PCOS include Victoza (liraglutide), Wegovy, and Saxenda. While the insurance coverage requirements on these are the same, their out-of-pocket cost and potential prior authorization approval may vary.

>> Read more: PCOS weight loss medications

Why you should consider working with a PCOS dietitian

Whether you successfully obtain Ozempic for your PCOS symptoms or not, your lifestyle choices will significantly impact your ability to manage your symptoms. In fact, a good PCOS diet is the first line of treatment recommended for PCOS management.

This is where working with a specialized PCOS dietitian can be incredibly valuable. A PCOS dietitian is a nutrition professional who has extensive experience in treating individuals with PCOS through diet and lifestyle changes as well as Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT). 

Many symptoms of PCOS, including weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormonal alterations, can be improved through dietary intervention including supplements that can help with PCOS weight loss. While PCOS is a chronic condition that cannot be cured, it can be managed with proper recommendations from a health professional.

PCOS can be a complicated condition and, while many of us believe we know what we need to do to live a healthy lifestyle, we often encounter barriers. A PCOS dietitian can help you break down these specific barriers and guide you in meeting your goals. 

If you are struggling to manage your PCOS symptoms, don’t go through it alone. Utilize the experts available to get your life back in a way that is healthy, sustainable, and specific to your needs.

When you request an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians here at Zaya Care, we’ll check your insurance so you know exactly how much you’ll have to pay, if anything at all.

It’s worth noting that 90% of Zaya Care patients pay $0 for nutrition care with a registered dietitian.

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Meghan is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist from San Jose, California. She received her undergraduate degree from San Diego State University in 2015. Following an unexpected cross-country trip that landed her in Florida, she completed her didactic training through AdventHealth Orlando. Meghan has extensive experience in multiple aspects of dietetics including critical care, motivational interviewing, writing, and research. She is passionate about health and wellness and has dedicated her free time to breaking down complicated nutrition topics and disseminating them to the public through the arena of writing.