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In Singapore, weight management is a topic of increasing importance, especially as more people become aware of the health risks associated with obesity. One medication that has caught the attention of many is Ozempic. Primarily used to manage type 2 diabetes, it is also being used for weight loss. However, it’s not without its controversies. Is Ozempic Singapore’s new weight loss hero or villain? Let’s dive into the issues and concerns surrounding the drug, providing a clear picture of this medication.

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What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a medication primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it has also been found to promote weight loss. It contains the active ingredient semaglutide, a GLP 1 receptor agonist. Ozempic work by mimicking the GLP-1 hormone to regulate blood sugar levels and control appetite. By reducing hunger and increasing feelings of fullness, it can help with weight management.

The Benefits of Ozempic Treatment

Before diving into the controversies, it’s important to understand why Ozempic has become so popular:

Clinically Proven: Ozempic has demonstrated effectiveness in lowering blood sugar levels and promoting weight loss in clinical trials.

Dual Benefit: For individuals with type 2 diabetes, Ozempic offers the added advantage of managing blood sugar levels while promoting weight loss. This is groundbreaking as diabetes medication like insulin are known to promote weight gain.

Convenience: It’s administered once a week, which can be more convenient compared to daily medications.

Controversies Surrounding Ozempic

Despite its benefits, the drug’s use, particularly for weight loss, has sparked several controversies. At Sire, we break it down for you:

Off-Label Use for Weight Loss

Issue: It is approved by the FDA and HSA for managing type 2 diabetes but not specifically for weight loss.

Concern: For Singaporean men looking to shed some kilos, the idea of using Ozempic for weight loss might sound like hitting the jackpot. But hold your horses! Using it off-label means it’s not officially endorsed for this purpose, and this could mean we don’t have all the answers about its safety and effectiveness for weight loss alone. It’s like using your kopitiam uncle’s advice on financial investments – it might work, but it’s a bit of a gamble. We need more local studies and official guidelines before fully trusting it for weight loss.

Side Effects

Issue: Ozempic can cause a range of side effects, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation.

Concern: Bro, imagine trying to navigate your working day constantly feeling queasy. These side effects can be quite a turn-off, especially if you’re using Ozempic just to lose weight. The initial phase can be tough, and for many of us juggling work, family, and maybe even a couple rounds of mahjong, dealing with these side effects can be quite siong. Close monitoring by a healthcare professional is required. You don’t want to end up swapping one problem for another.

Cost and Accessibility

Issue: The cost of of the drug can be prohibitive. As it is a new medication, government healthcare subsidies do not apply at this point of time in Singapore.

Concern: Here in Singapore, where cost of living is already high, the price of Ozempic can burn a hole in your pocket. Not all pharmacies or clinics stock it, so it’s not just about money – it’s also about availability. If you’re trying to lose weight without breaking the bank, this could be a major barrier. For the average Ah Pek or soon-to-be, affordability and accessibility are key concerns, especially when you’ve got other expenses like your HDB mortgage, kids’ education, and daily kopi sessions to consider.

Long-Term Safety

Issue: The long-term safety of using Ozempic specifically for weight loss has not been established.

Concern: Using Ozempic for a few months might seem like a great idea, but what about the long-term? We Singaporeans are planners – just look at how we plan our CPF savings and retirement. Without clear evidence on long-term safety, it feels like a bit of a gamble. What if, down the road, we find out there are negative impacts? It’s important to think about our future health and not just the immediate benefits.

Potential for Misuse

Issue: The popularity of the drug for weight loss could lead to misuse or overprescription.

Concern: Imagine this – you hear from your gym buddy that Ozempic is the secret to his new six-pack. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of it, even those who might not need it medically. This could lead to people using it without proper medical guidance, and that’s a slippery slope. Misuse can cause health problems, and for us here in Singapore, where we take pride in our health care standards, this isn’t something to take lightly.

Impact on Natural Weight Management

Issue: Relying on medication for weight loss might divert attention from sustainable, natural weight management methods.

Concern: We all know that there’s no shortcut to a healthy lifestyle. Relying too much on Ozempic might make some of us slack off on the basics – like eating right and exercising. Nowadays the Health Promotion Board always sends propaganda on TV, “Eat more fruits and veggies”? It’s sound advice. Taking a weight loss drug might seem easier, but it shouldn’t replace good old-fashioned healthy living. Plus, there’s something satisfying about seeing the results of your hard work and discipline.

So… Who Can Use Ozempic?

Ozempic is generally prescribed for adult patients with type 2 diabetes who need additional help managing their blood sugar levels. It is typically prescribed as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control. It is not approved for the primary purpose of weight loss as while many people in clinical trial lost weight, some did gain weight as well.

Before starting Ozempic, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional. They will assess your suitability for the medication, considering factors such as your medical history and any other medications you’re taking.

Ozempic in Singapore: Pros and Cons


Effective: Ozempic has been proven to help with weight loss and blood sugar control.

Convenient: Once-weekly injections are more convenient than daily medications.

Supportive: Helps manage blood sugar and appetite, making it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan if you have diabetes and obesity.


Cost: Ozempic can be expensive, so it’s important to consider whether it’s a financially sustainable option.

Side Effects: Some people may experience common side effect like nausea or constipation, especially during the initial phase.

Accessibility: Ozempic is not yet readily accessible in Singapore, stock availability is an issue currently.

[Updated 20th June, 2024]

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Other Weight Loss Treatment Medications in Singapore

Ozempic’s not your thing? In Singapore, there are currently four HSA-approved prescription medication for weight loss, namely: Saxenda, Phentermine, Orlistat and Contrave.
They are available here.

Ozempic is not available in Singapore yet, but fear not, you can get Saxenda for weight loss here.
We always recommend speaking to a doctor before starting any medication.

Saxenda: Saxenda contains the active ingredient liraglutide, which mimics the same hormone GLP-1 that Ozempic works on. Saxenda is a daily weight loss injection. It helps to regulate your appetite, making you feel fuller sooner, so you eat less and lose weight.

Phentermine: There are currently two brands of phentermine in Singapore: Duromine and Panbesy. It is possibly the oldest weight loss medication, widely prescribed for short-term use. Phentermine works mainly as an appetite suppressant, reducing caloric intake resulting in weight loss.

Orlistat: Orlistat is a weight loss medication that works by blocking the absorption of fat in the gut. It reduces dietary fat absorption by approximately 30%. It is typically taken during or after meals to reduce the fat absorption from the foods you eat.

Contrave: Contrave is a combination of two medications: bupropion and naltrexone. It is uniquely designed to reduce hunger and control cravings. Contrave is ideal if you desire medication to help you stop smoking and lose weight.


Ozempic offers promising benefits for both diabetes management and weight loss. However, it is essential to be aware of the controversies and concerns surrounding its use. By understanding both the advantages and the controversies surrounding Ozempic, you can make an informed decision about whether this medication is suitable for your weight management needs in Singapore.

Remember, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to see if Ozempic is the right option for you. With Sire, you can embark on your weight loss journey with confidence and ease.

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