Generic Name: semaglutide (SEM a GLOO tide)
Brand Name: Ozempic (0.25 mg or 0.5 mg dose), Ozempic (1 mg dose)
Medically reviewed on January 10, 2018
What is semaglutide?
Semaglutide is similar to a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and helps control blood sugar, insulin levels, and digestion.
Semaglutide is used together with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Semaglutide is usually given after other diabetes medicines have been tried without success. Semaglutide is not for treating type 1 diabetes.
Semaglutide may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use semaglutide if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands), a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer, insulin-dependent diabetes, or diabetic ketoacidosis.
In animal studies, semaglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses.
Call your doctor at once if you have signs of a thyroid tumor, such as swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, or shortness of breath.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use semaglutide if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands);
a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (a type of thyroid cancer); or
diabetic ketoacidosis (call your doctor for treatment).
To make sure semaglutide is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:
problems with your pancreas;
stomach problems causing slow digestion;
kidney disease; or
eye problems caused by diabetes (retinopathy).
In animal studies, semaglutide caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people using regular doses. Ask your doctor about your risk.
It is not known whether semaglutide will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Semaglutide can have long-lasting effects on your body. Avoid getting pregnant for at least 2 months after you stop using this medicine.
It is not known whether semaglutide passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
Semaglutide is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
How should I use semaglutide?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose. Do not use this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Read all patient information, medication guides, and instruction sheets provided to you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions.
Semaglutide is injected under the skin. You will be shown how to use injections at home. Do not self-inject this medicine if you do not understand how to give the injection and properly dispose of used needles and syringes.
Semaglutide is usually given once per week at any time of the day, with or without a meal. If you want to change your weekly injection day, wait at least 2 days after your most recent injection before giving another one.
Your care provider will show you the best places on your body to inject semaglutide. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.
Do not use the medicine if it has changed colors or looks cloudy, or if it has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can happen to everyone who has diabetes. Symptoms include headache, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky. To quickly treat low blood sugar, always keep a fast-acting source of sugar with you such as fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda.
Your doctor can prescribe a glucagon emergency injection kit to use in case you have severe hypoglycemia and cannot eat or drink. Be sure your family and close friends know how to give you this injection in an emergency.
Also watch for signs of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) such as increased thirst or urination, blurred vision, headache, and tiredness.
Blood sugar levels can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.
Semaglutide is only part of a complete treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, weight control, regular blood sugar testing, and special medical care. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.
Storing unopened injection pens: Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze semaglutide, and throw away the medication if it has become frozen. Do not use an unopened injection pen if the expiration date on the label has passed.
Storing after your first use: You may keep an "in-use" injection pen in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Protect the pen from heat and sunlight. Remove the needle before storing an injection pen, and keep the cap on the pen when not in use. Throw the injection pen away 56 days after the first use.
Use a disposable needle only once. Follow any state or local laws about throwing away used needles and syringes. Use a puncture-proof "sharps" disposal container (ask your pharmacist where to get one and how to throw it away). Keep this container out of the reach of children and pets.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember. If you are more than 5 days late, skip the missed dose and use the next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while using semaglutide?
Never share an injection pen with another person, even if the needle has been changed. Sharing this device can allow infections or disease to pass from one person to another.
Semaglutide side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, itching; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
signs of a thyroid tumor--swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, feeling short of breath;
low blood sugar--headache, confusion, blurred vision, trouble speaking, hunger, sweating, irritability, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, fast heart rate, and feeling anxious or shaky; or
kidney problems--little or no urination; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath.
Common side effects may include:
nausea (especially when you start using semaglutide), vomiting, stomach pain;
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Semaglutide dosing information
Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:
Initial dose: 0.25 mg subcutaneously once a week for 4 weeks
-After 4 weeks, the dose should be increased to 0.5 mg subcutaneously once a week
Maintenance dose: If additional glycemic control is needed after 4 weeks of 0.5 mg once a week, may increase dose to 1 mg subcutaneously once a week
Maximum dose: 1 mg once a week
-The initial dose of 0.25 mg per week is not effective for glycemic control.
-This drug is not recommended as a first-line therapy due to the uncertain relevance of rodent C-cell tumor finding.
Use: As an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.
What other drugs will affect semaglutide?
Semaglutide can slow your digestion, and it may take longer for your body to absorb any medicines you take by mouth.
Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with semaglutide, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 1.01.
More about semaglutide
- Semaglutide Side Effects
- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Drug Interactions
- En Español
- 9 Reviews
- Drug class: incretin mimetics
Other brands: Ozempic