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Ozempic

Pronunciation: oh-ZEM-pick
Generic name: semaglutide injection
Dosage form: subcutaneous injection (0.25mg dose pen; 0.5mg dose pen; 1.0mg dose pen; 2.0 mg dose pen)
Drug class: Incretin Mimetics (GLP-1 Agonists)

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Jul 20, 2024.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is used for type 2 diabetes to improve blood sugar levels and lower the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death for adults with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Ozempic for weight loss has been shown to be effective in clinical trials. Ozempic is given as a once-weekly injection under the skin of the belly, the thigh, or the upper arm using an autoinjector (pen).

Ozempic works by helping the pancreas release more insulin, decreasing the amount of sugar your liver makes, and slowing the rate food passes through your body, making you feel full longer. This helps to lower blood sugar levels and lowers the risk of a major cardiovascular event.

Ozempic is a GLP-1 agonist that works the same way as a natural hormone made in our gut called GLP-1. GLP-1 controls insulin release and gut emptying and regulates appetite and food intake. Ozempic works by binding to GLP-1 receptors, which results in lower blood sugar and A1C levels and may also reduce appetite to help with weight loss.

Ozempic is FDA-approved to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and to lower the risk of major cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes. It should be used together with diet and exercise.

Ozempic (semaglutide) should not be used for type 1 diabetes mellitus.

Ozempic for weight loss

Ozempic for weight loss has shown to be successful with patients losing weight in clinical trials. The amount of weight lost with Ozempic 0.5mg was 2.6 kg more than the placebo group, and the amount of weight loss with Ozempic 1mg was 3.5 kg more than the placebo group after the 30-week trial. Ozempic is currently not an FDA-approved weight loss medicine. 

Ozempic side effects

Common Ozempic side effects

Common Ozempic side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, upset stomach, heartburn, burping, gas, bloating, loss of appetite, runny nose or sore throat, stomach flu symptoms or headache, dizziness, tiredness and low blood sugar (in people with type 2 diabetes). 

Serious Ozempic side effects.

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction, such as hives, itching, dizziness, fast heartbeats, difficult breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

Related: 4 key Ozempic side effects to watch out for

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.

Warnings

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.

You should not use this medicine if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (tumors in your glands), or a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer.

Postmarketing data has shown an association between Ozempic use and ileus (stomach paralysis). Because these reports are voluntary it is not possible to estimate the frequency of these effects. Talk to a healthcare provider if you develop symptoms such as bloating, stomach cramps or pain, nausea or vomiting, constipation or diarrhea, or loss of appetite.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to semaglutide or any other ingredients in this medicine, or if you have:

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

This medicine caused thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer in animal studies. It is not known whether these effects would occur in people. Ask your doctor about your risk.

Pregnancy

Tell your healthcare professional if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if Ozempic will harm your unborn baby. Stop using this medicine at least 2 months before you plan to get pregnant. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to control your blood sugar if you plan to become pregnant or while you are pregnant. Controlling diabetes is very important during pregnancy, as is gaining the right amount of weight. Even if you are overweight, losing weight during pregnancy could harm the unborn baby.

Breastfeeding

Tell your healthcare provider if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if Ozempic passes into your breast milk. You should talk with your healthcare provider about the best way to feed your baby while using this medicine.

How should I use Ozempic?

Use this medicine exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. It is usually started at a low dose that is gradually increased every 4 weeks to 30 days. Follow your doctor's dosing instructions very carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist if you need help.

Ozempic Instructions

Ozempic is injected under the skin (subcutaneous injection), usually once per week at any time of the day, with or without food. It should be used on the same day each week.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Call your pharmacist if the medicine looks cloudy, has changed colors, or has particles in it.

Your healthcare provider will show you where to inject this medicine. It is usually injected into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

If you choose a different weekly injection day, start your new schedule after at least 2 days have passed since the last injection you gave.

Do not use different brands of semaglutide (Wegovy or Rybelsus) at the same time.

Blood sugar can be affected by stress, illness, surgery, exercise, alcohol use, or skipping meals.

Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can make you feel very hungry, dizzy, irritable, or shaky. To quickly treat hypoglycemia, eat or drink hard candy, crackers, raisins, fruit juice, or non-diet soda. Your doctor may prescribe glucagon injections in case of severe hypoglycemia.

Tell your doctor if you have frequent symptoms of high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), such as increased thirst or urination. Ask your doctor before changing your dose or medication schedule.

Your treatment may also include diet, exercise, weight control, medical tests, and special medical care.

You may get dehydrated during prolonged illness. Call your doctor if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, or if you eat or drink less than usual.

The Ozempic injection pen contains more than one dose. After your first use, store the pen with the needle removed in a refrigerator or at room temperature. Protect from heat and light. Keep the cap on when not in use. Throw the pen away 56 days after the first use, or if less than 0.25 mg is shown on the dose counter.

Do not reuse a needle. Place it in a puncture-proof "sharps" container and dispose of it following state or local laws. Keep out of the reach of children and pets.

Store unopened injection pens in the original carton in a refrigerator, protected from light. Do not use past the expiration date. Throw away an injection pen that has been frozen.

What does Ozempic cost?

The cost of prescription drugs varies depending on your insurance plan and which pharmacy you use. Refer to our Ozempic price guide page for more information about the Ozempic cost.

You may also be eligible for an Ozempic coupon or savings card. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you qualify.

Ozempic Dosing Information

Ozempic is available as 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1mg and 2mg dose pens. 

Other brands of semaglutide

Ozempic contains the active ingredient semaglutide, other products that contains semaglutide are: 

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use Ozempic as soon as you can and then go back to your regular schedule. If you are more than 5 days late for the injection, skip the missed dose and return to your regular schedule.

Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) may occur if you do not take enough or skip a dose of your antidiabetic medicine, overeat or do not follow your meal plan, have a fever or infection, or do not exercise as much as usual.

Do not use two doses of this medicine at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose may cause severe nausea, vomiting, or low blood sugar.

What should I avoid while using Ozempic?

Never share an injection pen, even if you changed the needle. Sharing this device can pass infection or disease from person to person.

What other drugs will affect Ozempic?

This medicine 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 other medicines, especially insulin or other diabetes medicines, such as dulaglutide, exenatide, liraglutide, Byetta, Trulicity, Victoza, and others. There is an increased risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when Ozempic is used in combination with insulin or other diabetes medications such as glyburide, glipizide, glimepiride, or gliclazide. The dose of these other agents may need to be reduced to lower the risk of hypoglycemia.

Other drugs may affect this medicine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all other medicines you use.

Storage

Ozempic Package Insert 

Review the Ozempic Package Insert for more detailed information about this medicine. Discuss any medical questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider. This is not all the information you need to know about this medicine for safe and effective use, and it does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment.

What are the ingredients in Ozempic?

Active Ingredient: semaglutide

Inactive Ingredients: disodium phosphate dihydrate, propylene glycol, phenol and water for injection.

Manufacturer

Ozempic is manufactured by Novo Nordisk A/S, DK-2880 Bagsvaerd, Denmark.

Popular FAQ

The most common side effects with Ozempic include stomach problems, like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and constipation. These tend to be mild-to-moderate and usually clear up in a few weeks in most people. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) is also a common side effect (when used with certain other diabetes treatments) and it can be serious. Continue reading

Mounjaro and Ozempic are prescription medicines used alongside diet and exercise to help control blood sugar (glucose) levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is also approved to lower the risk of a major cardiovascular event (like a heart attack or stroke) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Mounjaro has not yet received this indication, although studies are ongoing.

In a large, 2024 retrospective study in adults with overweight or obesity and treated for type 2 diabetes, Mounjaro led to at least a 5% weight loss within one year in 81.8% of adults compared to 66.5% of those using Ozempic. Continue reading

Ozempic, Mounjaro, Wegovy and Zepbound can all lead to long-term weight loss, but only Wegovy and Zepbound are approved by the FDA for this use. In studies, Zepbound has led to a 21% weight loss in adults using the highest dose, while Wegovy has led to about a 15% weight loss. Continue reading

Your blood glucose (sugar) levels should start to fully decline within the first week after you start using Ozempic (semaglutide) at your regular dose. However, the full effect can take 8 weeks or longer, as this is a long-acting medication that is injected only once per week. Continue reading

Ozempic is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults, while Wegovy is used for weight loss and chronic weight management in adults and children 12 years of age and older with overweight or obesity. In these populations, both agents are approved reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart-related death in people with cardiovascular (heart, blood vessel) disease.

Ozempic and Wegovy are the two brand names that Novo Nordisk uses to market injectable semaglutide. Ozempic and Wegovy come in different strengths to treat the different conditions. Continue reading

Both tirzepatide and semaglutide are prescription medicines used with diet and exercise to treat people with type 2 diabetes or to help people lose and maintain weight loss. Semaglutide has also been approved for cardiovascular risk reduction. They are marketed as Ozempic, Wegovy and Rybelsus (semaglutide) and as Mounjaro or Zepbound (tirzepatide). Continue reading

Ozempic pens come in 3 sizes. Each pen holds 4 maintenance doses of either 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg of medicine given once weekly and will last for one month. Continue reading

If you stop using Ozempic injection for type 2 diabetes or weight loss, much of the weight you have lost will most likely return within a few months to one year after you stop treatment, your blood sugar levels will rise and you may lose any positive benefit for heart health. Continue reading

The Ozempic brand of semaglutide is not approved for weight loss but may help you lose weight if you are using it to treat type 2 diabetes. If you do not have type 2 diabetes, the Wegovy brand of semaglutide is specifically approved for weight loss, along with diet and exercise. Continue reading

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.