Ozempic is an FDA-approved prescription drug made by Novo Nordisk A/S. It is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes to prevent your blood sugar from rising after eating, by slowing the rate of digestion and increasing the release of insulin in your body. Ozempic is also used to lower the risk of a heart attack in type 2 diabetics. It causes your pancreas to secrete more insulin, helping to lower your blood sugar and reduce your risk of major cardiovascular events, like heart attacks and strokes, if you have cardiovascular disease (heart disease). Ozempic is used alongside dietary and lifestyle changes. Ozempic is not used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.
The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide. It is classed as a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1 receptor agonist). Semaglutide reduces blood glucose by stimulating insulin secretion. Unlike many other treatments for type 2 diabetes, semaglutide is not a type of insulin. It is a human hormone that acts on different parts of your body. Semaglutide encourages your pancreas to produce more insulin, helping to lower your blood sugar after you’ve eaten. It also appears to increase the growth of the cells in your pancreas that produce insulin (beta-cells).
Ozempic is a diabetes medication that is likely to have been prescribed because the combination of improving diet, increasing exercise, bodyweight reduction, and metformin medication has not achieved adequate blood sugar control for you. Some of the advantages of taking Ozempic are suppression of hunger and modest weight loss, which are desirable for diabetics.
Just like other drugs, Ozempic can cause adverse reactions. The more common side effects of Ozempic tend to be diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and possible increased diabetic retinopathy complications. It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional for medical advice about possible side effects that trouble you or are persistent.
Ozempic forms and strengths
Ozempic is available in injection form in the following doses: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, and 1 mg dose per injection.
Ozempic dosage chart
Type 2 diabetes mellitus
0.25 mg weekly
0.5 - 1 mg weekly
1 mg weekly
Cardiovascular risk reduction in those with diabetes and cardiovascular disease
0.25 mg weekly
0.5 - 1 mg weekly
1 mg weekly
Ozempic dosage for Type 2 diabetes mellitus
The recommended starting dose for Ozempic is 0.25 mg once a week for four weeks. The dose may be increased to a 0.5 mg dose once a week. After a minimum of four weeks, a dose adjustment may be made to a 1 mg dose once a week for glycemic control.
Ozempic dosage for cardiovascular risk reduction in diabetes
The recommended dosage is the same as for Type 2 diabetes mellitus above.
Ozempic dosage for children
Ozempic is not recommended for use in children.
Ozempic dosage restrictions
You do not need to restrict your dosage if you have renal or hepatic impairment. You are advised however to discuss any medical conditions or concerns you may have with your doctor so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
How to take Ozempic
The semaglutide injection is injected under the skin (subcutaneous) usually once every 7 days using a prefilled pen. The injection sites are the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. Use a different injection site each time you give yourself a dose and use a new Novofine needle and syringe each time. Replace the pen cap on the Ozempic pen after each use.
Your dose will be based on your medical condition and your response to treatment. The Ozempic injection can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You are advised to read the full medication guide provided to you with your Ozempic.
Ozempic dosage FAQs
How long will it take Ozempic to work?
You will see some effects of Ozempic as early as the first week of use, with more effects seen by weeks four and five. It may take up to 8 weeks for the full effects of Ozempic to be seen.
How long will Ozempic work?
Ozempic will have maximum effects on your body for up to 1 week, but will still remain in your system and continue to have some effect for up to 5 weeks.
What happens if I miss a dose of Ozempic?
A missed dose of Ozempic should be taken within 5 days of when you should have taken it. If it has been more than 5 days, do not take the missed dose. Take your next dose as you normally would as part of your weekly dosing schedule.
What are the common side effects of Ozempic?
The most common side effects of Ozempic may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, and reactions at the injection site. Hypersensitivity reactions to Ozempic are rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including rash, itching, swelling of the face, tongue, or throat, severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.
How do I stop taking Ozempic?
You should not experience any adverse reactions or withdrawal symptoms when stopping Ozempic. However, you are always advised to speak to your healthcare provider for medical advice about your treatment so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
What is the maximum dosage for Ozempic?
The maximum recommended dosage for Ozempic is 1 mg injected once a week. Other brands and dosage forms of the active ingredient semaglutide will have different maximum dosages.
Can I overdose on Ozempic?
Yes, you can. Being sick and having low blood sugar levels are signs of an overdose. Speak to your healthcare provider if you think you have taken an overdose or if you have any other side effects or concerns about taking Ozempic.
What drug interactions are there with Ozempic?
Ozempic is contraindicated with certain other medications. These include:
Other antidiabetic medications, such as metformin, sulfonylureas, or insulin. This can increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms include sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, headache, or tingling hands and/or feet
Medications that have a potential risk of adverse renal effects
Ozempic can slow gastric emptying. This can affect other medicines you may be taking by mouth
Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
What happens when you mix Ozempic and alcohol?
Alcohol can affect your blood glucose levels and can also cause pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). GLP-1 receptor agonists such as semaglutide can also cause pancreatitis. Taking Ozempic and alcohol together may potentially increase your risk of this complication.
You are advised to speak to your healthcare provider regarding your alcohol intake if you are using Ozempic to treat Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Is it safe to take Ozempic during pregnancy?
Ozempic should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Based on clinical trials in rodents the FDA has issued a black box warning for Ozempic of an increased risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. It is not known if Ozempic causes medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in humans, but you should be aware of thyroid tumor signs, such as increased neck mass, hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, or problems breathing.
You should not use Ozempic if you have a personal or family history of thyroid tumors or thyroid cancer or if you have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.
The content on this website is intended for information purposes only. It does not constitute medical advice. The information on this website should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always speak to your doctor regarding the risks and benefits of any treatment.