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Ozempic

Generic Name: semaglutide (SEM a GLOO tide)
Brand Name: Ozempic

Medically reviewed by Judith Stewart, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 28, 2020.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is similar to a hormone that occurs naturally in the body and helps control blood sugar, insulin levels, and digestion.

Ozempic is a pre-filled, disposable, single-patient-use injection pen used, together with diet and exercise, to improve blood sugar control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Ozempic is usually given after other diabetes medicines have been tried without success.

Ozempic is also used to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke or death in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus with known heart disease.

This medicine is not for treating type 1 diabetes.

Important Information

You should not use Ozempic 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.

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 an Ozempic pen if you are allergic to semaglutide, 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).

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • a stomach or intestinal disorder;

  • pancreatitis;

  • kidney disease; or

  • eye problems caused by diabetes (retinopathy).

In animal studies, Ozempic 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.

Ozempic may harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This medicine can have long-lasting effects on your body. Avoid getting pregnant for at least 2 months after you stop using Ozempic.

You should not breastfeed while using Ozempic.

Ozempic is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I use Ozempic?

Use Ozempic injection pens exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Your doctor may occasionally change your dose..

Ozempic injection is injected under the skin. A healthcare provider may teach you how to properly use the medication by yourself.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with Ozempic. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you don't understand all instructions.

Prepare an injection only when you are ready to give it. Do not use if the medicine looks cloudy or has particles in it. Call your pharmacist for new medicine.

Ozempic 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 healthcare provider will show you where on your body to inject Ozempic. Use a different place each time you give an injection. Do not inject into the same place two times in a row.

You may have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and feel very hungry, dizzy, irritable, confused, anxious, or shaky. To quickly treat hypoglycemia, eat or drink a fast-acting source of sugar (fruit juice, hard candy, crackers, raisins, or non-diet soda).

Your doctor may prescribe a glucagon injection kit in case you have severe hypoglycemia. Be sure your family or 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.

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.

Call your doctor if you have ongoing vomiting or diarrhea, or if you are sweating more than usual. You can easily become dehydrated while taking Ozempic. This can lead to kidney failure.

Ozempic 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 Ozempic injection pens: Store in the refrigerator. Do not freeze Ozempic, 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.

Ozempic dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Diabetes Type 2:

Subcutaneous Injection:
Initial dose: 0.25 mg subcutaneously once a week for 4 weeks, then 0.5 mg subcutaneously once a week
-If additional glycemic control is needed after at least 4 weeks at 0.5 mg/week, may increase dose to 1 mg subcutaneously once a week
Maintenance dose: 0.5 to 1 mg subcutaneously once a week
Maximum dose: 1 mg/week

-This drug is not recommended as a first-line therapy due to the uncertain relevance of rodent C-cell tumor findings to humans.
-This drug has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis; other antidiabetic therapies should be considered in these patients.

Use: As an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and to reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and established cardiovascular disease.

What happens if I miss a dose?

For Ozempic: Use the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if you are more than 5 days late for the dose. Do not use two doses within 5 days of each other.

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 Ozempic?

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.

Ozempic side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Ozempic: hives, itching; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • vision changes;

  • signs of a thyroid tumor - swelling or a lump in your neck, trouble swallowing, a hoarse voice, feeling short of breath;

  • symptoms of pancreatitis - severe pain in your upper stomach spreading to your back, nausea with or without vomiting, fast heart rate;

  • low blood sugar - headache, hunger, weakness, sweating, confusion, irritability, dizziness, fast heart rate, or feeling jittery; or

  • kidney problems - little or no urination; painful or difficult urination; swelling in your feet or ankles; feeling tired or short of breath.

Common Ozempic side effects may include:

  • nausea (especially when you start using Ozempic);

  • vomiting, stomach pain, loss of appetite;

  • diarrhea; or

  • constipation.

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.

What other drugs will affect Ozempic?

Ozempic 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

  • oral diabetes medicine.

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 drug interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Ozempic only for the indication prescribed.

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

Popular FAQ

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

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