Ozempic is a brand-name prescription medicine that is used to:

improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is also combined with exercise and diet
reduce the risk of serious cardiovascular issues in people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes

The drug isn’t used to treat type 1 diabetes , also known as diabetic ketoacidosis . It is usually not prescribed for patients who’ve suffered from pancreatitis. Refer to this section below for more details “Ozempic applications” section below for details.

Ozempic is available as a liquid solution that’s given by subcutaneous injection. It contains the drug semaglutide. It’s part of a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. (GLP-1 antagonists).

Ozempic is a medication that can be taken by alone or in conjunction with other diabetes medications.

Ozempic comes in the form of a pen that you can use to self-inject the medication. The pen is available with four different strengths.

2 milligrams of semaglutide per 1.5 milliliters solution (2 mg/1.5 mL)
2 mg/3 mL
4 mg/3 mL
8 mg/mL

Each pen delivers a different amount of Ozempic.

FDA approval

Ozempic was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December 2017.

Note: Ozempic is not currently available in the form of an oral pill. But, Rybelsus, a similar medication containing the active drug semaglutide, has been FDA-approvedTrusted Source in the form of an oral tablet.

Effectiveness

To find out more about the effectiveness of Ozempic check out the “Ozempic uses” section below.

Ozempic can help reduce appetite. This is why people who suffer from diabetes who use the drug reduce weight.

Ozempic is not FDA-approved to treat weight issues. However, in some cases doctors can prescribe this medication off-label for weight management. Off-label means prescribing an item for a use other than what it’s been approved in the FDA.

Make sure you only take Ozempic in accordance with the prescription of your physician. If you have any concerns about using Ozempic in weight loss consult your physician.

Ozempic is only available in the form of a brand-name medicine. It’s a semaglutide-based drug that isn’t currently available in a generic form.

Similar to all medications, the Ozempic cost may vary. The actual price will depend on the insurance coverage you have.

Drug forms and strengths

Ozempic comes in the form of a pen that you use to inject the medication yourself.

When you first begin taking Ozempic, you might use the 2 mg/1.5 milliliter or 2 mg/3 mL pen. If you need a higher dose of Ozempic in order to control your blood sugar levels, your physician may recommend a stronger dosage.

Each Ozempic pen comes with multiple needles. You’ll use a new needle each time you administer an injection.

Ozempic pens are used multiple times, but you should never share a pen with someone else.

Dosage to treat type 2 diabetes

When you first start taking Ozempic, you’ll take 0.25 mg every week for 4 weeks. Then, you’ll start taking 0.5 mg every week for four weeks.

After 4 weeks, if you’re blood sugar levels are under control, you’ll continue to take 0.5 mg once weekly. If you’re in need of lowering your blood sugar levels more, your doctor may raise your dosage to 2 mg, or even 1 mg, every week. The maximum recommended dose for Ozempic amounts to 2 mg once weekly.

It is best to inject your Ozempic injection on the same day each week. However, you may administer an injection anytime point of the day, either regardless of whether you are eating or not.

If you need to, you may change the day on which you give the injection. If you do, you must have received that last injection at minimum 48 hours before the day you intend to give the injection.

What happens if I don’t remember an dose?

If you don’t take a dose, make sure you take it immediately when you remember, as in the five days from the date that you missed the dose. Then , take the next dose according to its normal schedule.

However, if more than five days have gone by, or if the date of your next scheduled dose only one or two days away, don’t take the missed dose. Instead, just take the next dose on its scheduled day.

Do I need to take this medication for a long time?

Yes, this medication is commonly used long-term to manage type 2 diabetes, and to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Ozempic may cause mild or serious adverse effects. The following list contains some of the most important adverse effects that can occur while taking Ozempic. This list is not exhaustive and does not cover all possible side effects.

For more details on the possible adverse effects of Ozempic or advice on how to handle a troubling side effect speak to your doctor or pharmacist.

More common side effects

The most frequent side effects that Ozempic may cause include:

nausea*
headache
vomiting
diarrhea
stomach pain
stomach upset
constipation
flatulence (passing gas)

The side effects could disappear in a couple of days or weeks. If they’re severe or aren’t going away, consult to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

The serious side effects of Ozempic aren’t very common, however they could happen. Get your doctor’s attention immediately in case you experience serious adverse effects. Call 911 if your symptoms seem life-threatening or you believe you’re suffering from an medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms may include:

Thyroid cancer. *
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Signs and symptoms may include:
Back pain and stomach
nausea
vomiting
unintended weight loss
febrile
swollen belly
Hyperglycemia (low glucose levels). The symptoms can include:
sleepiness
headache
confusion
Insufficiency
hunger
irritability
sweating
feeling jittery
fast heartbeat
Diabetic retinopathy (diabetes-related eye problems). The symptoms can include:
blurred vision
vision loss
seeing dark spots
poor night vision
Kidney damage. The symptoms can include:
less frequent urination
swelling in your ankles and legs
confusion
fatigue
nausea
Gallbladder disease. Symptoms can be:
gallstones, which can cause stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and fever
cholecystitis (inflammation in the gallbladder)
Allergic reaction. *

For more information about the side effects, check out “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

You may be wondering how often certain side effects are seen with this medication. Here’s an overview of the possible side effects this drug can cause.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction following taking Ozempic. Signs of a mild allergic reaction can include:

skin rash
Itching
flushing

An extreme allergic reaction is rare but possible. Signs of a severe allergic reaction may include:

The swelling is under your skin, most often in your eyelids. your hands, lips or feet
swelling of your mouth, tongue, or your throat
trouble breathing

It isn’t known how frequently allergic reactions could occur among people taking Ozempic in clinical trials. However, serious adverse reactions due in response to Ozempic have been observed.

Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible should you suffer from an allergic reaction to Ozempic. Contact 911 or your area emergency phone number when you’re symptoms are life-threatening or if you suspect you’re suffering from an emergency medical situation.

Nausea

Nausea is the most commonly reported side effect of Ozempic. It’s more likely to occur at the time you first begin taking Ozempic and also when your dosage is increased.

Nausea could decrease or go away with continuous use of Ozempic. If it continues to persist or becomes more severe discuss it with your doctor.

Heartburn

People who take Ozempic may suffer from heartburn, however, this isn’t typical.

This effect can diminish or go away with regular use of the medication. If it continues to persist or it becomes severe, talk with your doctor.
Headache

Headache is a common result of Ozempic. This side effect may decrease or disappear with the use of the drug. If it doesn’t go away or becomes serious discuss it with your doctor.

Thyroid cancer

Ozempic comes with a boxed warningTrusted source from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about possible risk of thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning that the FDA requires.

In studies on animals Ozempic has been linked to increased likelihood of developing thyroid tumors. However, it’s unknown if Ozempic causes thyroid tumors in humans.

There have been reports of thyroid cancer in people taking Liraglutide (Victoza) an anti-cancer drug in the same drug class as Ozempic. However, it’s not clear whether these cases were caused due to liraglutide or a different cause.

Because of the potential risk of developing cancer of the thyroid You should avoid using Ozempic in the event that you or your immediate family members have had any form of cancer known as medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) or a rare endocrine disorder called multiple endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome type 2.

In the event that you’re taking Ozempic, and exhibit symptoms of a tumor in your thyroid, consult your physician immediately. Signs and symptoms can include:

A lump or mass in your neck
trouble with swallowing
trouble breathing
a hoarse voice

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs like Ozempic to treat certain conditions. Ozempic can also be prescribed in conjunction with different conditions. Off-label use occurs when a prescription drug cleared to treat a particular condition is prescribed to treat a different condition.

Ozempics for improving blood sugar levels associated with type 2 diabetes

Ozempic is FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes as well as lifestyle changes in eating habits and exercise. (Ozempic has also been approved to decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems, and this use is described just below.)

Ozempic may be prescribed alone or in combination with other diabetes medicines.

It’s important to note Ozempic isn’t used to treat type 1 ketoacidosis or diabetes. Also, it’s not usually prescribed to patients who have experienced pancreatitis in the past.

Effectiveness for type 2 diabetes

Ozempic has been found to be effective for the treatment of diabetes type 2. For more details on the effectiveness of Ozempic in clinical trials, refer to Ozempic’s prescribing instructions.

Guidelines issued by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) suggest using a GLP-1 antagonist such as Ozempic for adults suffering from type 2 diabetes that also suffer from one or more of the following conditions:

CVD is a form of cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a higher risk of developing CVD
kidney disease
heart failure

These guidelines also suggest using another medication for treating type 2 diabetes, like a GLP-1 agonist like Ozempic as an alternative for treating people with type 2 diabetes who find that metformin doesn’t adequately lower their blood sugar.

Ozempic for lowering risks of developing cardiovascular issues

Ozempic is FDA-approved to help lower the risk of cardiovascular issues for adults suffering from cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. These include stroke, heart attack, and death due to cardiovascular disease.

(Ozempic is also approved to improve blood sugar levels of adults with kind 2 diabetes. The use of this drug is discussed in the previous paragraph.)

It’s important that you know that Ozempic is not used for type one diabetes or ketoacidosis in diabetics. Also, it’s not usually prescribed for patients who’ve had pancreatitis in the past.

Heart problems can be treated effectively

In clinical studies, Ozempic was found to be effective in reducing the risk of heart problems for certain adults. Check out Ozempic’s prescribing guidelines to learn more about the effectiveness of the drug in clinical trials.

Guidelines by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend the use of a GLP-1 receptor like Ozempic, in adults with type 2 diabetes who are at greater risk of cardiovascular disease.
Off-label use

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for the treatment of Type 1 Diabetes, and has not been tested for those suffering from this condition. However, in certain instances Ozempic can be utilized off-label to treat type 1 diabetes.

A drug that is in that same group as Ozempic, liraglutide (Victoza) is being investigated in people suffering from kind 1 diabetes. The results of research have revealed that liraglutide could reduce the need for insulin and reduce body weight, but it does not appear to increase HbA1c.

Some experts say that Ozempic and other medications in the same class are not suitable for those suffering from the condition known as type 1. They believe the danger of side effects that can be triggered by these drugs outweighs the potential benefits for those who suffer from type 1 diabetes.

There are other medications available to combat type 2 diabetes and reduce the risk of having serious cardiovascular problems. Certain drugs may be more appropriate to you over others. If you’re in the market for alternatives to Ozempic, talk with your doctor to learn more about other drugs that might work well for you.

A few examples of drugs that could substitute Ozempic for type 2 diabetes include the medications listed below.

Alternatives for improving blood sugar levels and lowering chance of having cardiovascular problems

glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists) for example:
dulaglutide (Trulicity)
exenatide (Bydureon, Byetta)
liraglutide (Victoza)
lixisenatide (Adlyxin)
sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors include:
canagliflozin (Invokana)
dapagliflozin (Farxiga)
empagliflozin (Jardiance)
ertugliflozin (Steglatro)
metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet), which is a majoruanide
dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors such as:
alogliptin (Nesina)
linagliptin (Tradjenta)
saxagliptin (Onglyza)
sitagliptin (Januvia)
Thiazolidinediones include:
pioglitazone (Actos)
rosiglitazone (Avandia)

Additionally, the following drugs are alternatives to improving your blood sugar level:

Alpha-glucosidase inhibitors like:
acarbose
miglitol (Glyset)
Sulfonylureas, for example:
chlorpropamide
glimepiride (Amaryl)
glipizide (Glucotrol)
glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase Prestabs)

It is possible to ask what Ozempic compares to other medicines that are used for similar purposes. We will look at the ways that Ozempic, and Trulicity are similar and distinct. Also, check out this detailed article that discusses the two medicines.

Uses

Ozempic and Trulicity are both FDA-approved to:

blood sugar levels for adults with Type 2 Diabetes, in conjunction with diet and exercise
cardiovascular problems in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Ozempic in addition to Trulicity (dulaglutide) and Trulicity (dulaglutide) are in the same class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor antagonists (GLP-1 antagonists). They function in the same manner to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Forms of drugs and their administration

Ozempic and Trulicity both come in liquid solutions that are available in a pen. They’re both administered subcutaneously, once per week.

Costs

The price of Ozempic or Victoza will vary based on the treatment plan you’re using. The price you pay for either drug will depend on the insurance plan you have along with your location as well as the pharmacy you use.

It is possible to ask how Wegovy compares with Ozempic. Both contain the same active drug semaglutide. However, they have different approved uses.

Wegovy has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term weight management along with exercise and a low-calorie diet.

Ozempic does not have FDA approval to treat weight issues. However, in certain instances, doctors may prescribe this medication off-label for weight management. Off-label means prescribing a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved from the FDA.

Ozempic has been approved by FDA to

Control blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Along with exercise and diet
lower the risk of serious heart problems among adults suffering from heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic and Wegovy each come as pen which you take the medication by self-injecting it. They can cause a variety of the same side consequences, and both come with a boxed warningTrusted Source about the risk of developing thyroid cancer. Check out for details in the “Ozempic negative side effects” section above for more details.

A pharmacist or your doctor can provide more information about the ways these drugs differ.

Ozempic can be prescribed by itself or with other medications to increase blood sugar levels for people who suffer from kind 2 diabetes. When it comes to treatment for diabetes the use of two or more drugs could be combined when one medication doesn’t improve blood sugar levels sufficiently.

The most common diabetes drugs that could be used together with Ozempic include:

canagliflozin (Invokana)
dapagliflozin (Farxiga)
glimepiride (Amaryl)
glipizide (Glucotrol)
glyburide (Diabeta, Glynase Prestabs)

insulin glargine (Lantus, Toujeo)
metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet)
pioglitazone (Actos)

Keep in mind that Ozempic may be prescribed in conjunction with a diet and exercise plan that’s healthy for you. Be sure to follow your diabetes treatment plan as advised by your doctor.

It is recommended to take Ozempic exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

How do I inject

Ozempic comes in the form of an injection pen that can be self-injected subcutaneously. There are several steps when you inject yourself. For more detailed instructions regarding how to use an Ozempic pen, see the drug’s website. These are the steps to follow:

Step 1. Get your pen ready.

First, wash your hands.
Pull off the pen cap. Set aside.
Examine the pen’s window to ensure that the solution is clear and colorless. (If it isn’t, don’t use that pen.)
Put a new needle on the pen. (A needle that is new should be used each time you make use of the pen.)
Take off the needle’s outer cap. Then, take off the inner needle cap. Both caps can be recycled in the garbage.

Step 2. Review to make sure you are following the Ozempic flow.

It should be done prior to the first injection you do with each pen. If you’ve already completed this step before for injections with the pen you’re currently using, you can skip to step 3.

Hold the pen with the needle pointed upwards.
Turn the dose counter until it displays an flow-check symbol. (It appears to be two dots and a straight line.)
Hold and press the dose button until the dose counter shows 0. An Ozempic drop should appear at the point of the needle.
If you don’t see a drop, repeat the process up to six times. If you’re still not seeing an improvement after six attempts, replace the needle and attempt again.
If there isn’t a drop then don’t make use of the pen. Throw it away in the sharps container. (You can get a sharps container at your nearby pharmacy.)

Step 3. Select your dose.

Use the dose selector until you’ve seen your dose (either 0.25, 0.5, 1, or 2.).

Step 4. Dose the medication.

Apply a clean cloth to the site of injection using an alcohol-based swab.
Insert the needle into the skin, and then hold it the needle in place.
Press and hold your dose button until the counter displays 0.
If the counter for the dose shows zero, count slowly until six before taking this needle. This ensures you get the complete dose.

5. Remove the needle.

Remove the needle from the pen.
Put the needle that you have used in Sharps container.
Put the pen cap back on the pen.

Be aware that once you have used the Ozempic pen, it may use it for at least 56 days. After 56 days, the drug expires and it is time to eliminate the pen.

Where can I inject

Ozempic may be injected into the abdomen (belly) the thigh or upper arm. The same spot is used every time you inject Ozempic but you need to change the area you inject within the area.

Timing

Ozempic can be taken at any time of daytime. The injection should be given at the exact time every week. If required, you can change the day you give yourself Ozempic shots. If you change the day be sure to rest at least 2 days between each injection.

Ideally, take the medication around the same time every day, regardless of whether you switch the day. If you’re concerned about altering the timing of your injection, talk with your physician.

Then, you can take Ozempic with food

Ozempic may be injected with or without food.

Utilizing Ozempic with insulin

A healthcare professional from your doctor could prescribe Ozempic to use in conjunction in conjunction with insulin. Ozempic and insulin can be administered at the same time of day. They may also be injected into the same spot on the body, such as the abdomen. But it is not recommended to inject them into the same location.

Beware of drinking too much alcohol when taking Ozempic. Drinking alcohol can alter blood sugar levels and increase the chance of having low blood sugar.

If you drink, consult with your doctor about the amount that is safe for you.

Ozempic can interact with a variety of other medications. It may also interact with specific supplements.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, certain interactions can cause problems with how a drug works in some cases, while others can trigger increased negative side consequences.