Ozempic is a brand-name prescription medication that’s used to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It comes as a liquid solution that’s given by injection under the skin (subcutaneous).

Ozempic contains the drug semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

Ozempic can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications. In a clinical study, when used alone, Ozempic reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 1.4 to 1.6 percent after 30 weeks of treatment. It also reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 41 to 44 mg/dL over that time period.

Ozempic is only available as a pen that you can use to self-inject the medication. There are two different Ozempic pens. Both contain 2 mg of the drug semaglutide in 1.5 mL of solution, but the pens are designed to give different doses.

Ozempic is not currently available in an oral pill form. However, are testing whether an oral pill form of Ozempic would be effective.

Ozempic is only available as a brand-name medication. It’s not available in a generic form.

Ozempic contains the drug semaglutide.

As with all medications, the cost of Ozempic can vary. To find current prices for Ozempic in your area, check out GoodRx.com.

The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you would pay without insurance. Your actual cost will depend on your insurance coverage.

Financial assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Ozempic, help is available.

Novo Nordisk, the manufacturer of Ozempic, offers an Ozempic Savings Card that can help you pay less for each prescription refill. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for the card, call 1-877-304-6855 or visit the program website.

Typically, your doctor will start you on a low dosage and adjust it over time to reach the dosage that’s right for you. They’ll ultimately prescribe the smallest dosage that provides the desired effect.

The following information describes dosages that are commonly used or recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to suit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Ozempic comes as a pen that you use to self-inject the medication.

There are two different Ozempic pens. Both contain 2 mg/1.5 mL (1.34 mg/mL) of the drug, but the pens are designed to give different doses. Both pens can be used multiple times. However, the number of times a pen can be used depends on which pen you’re using:

  • One pen delivers 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg per injection. When you first start taking Ozempic, you'll use this pen. Each of these pens can be used four to six times.
  • The other pen delivers 1 mg per injection. You'll use this pen If you need a higher dose to control your blood sugar levels. Each of these pens can only be used twice.

Each Ozempic pen comes with several needles. You’ll use a new needle each time you give yourself an injection.

Ozempic pens should never be shared with other people.

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

When you first start taking Ozempic, you'll take 0.25 mg once weekly for four weeks. After this, you'll take 0.5 mg once weekly for four weeks.

After four weeks, if your blood sugar levels are well-controlled, you’ll continue to take 0.5 mg once weekly. If you need to lower your blood sugar levels even more, your doctor will increase your dosage to 1 mg once weekly.

You should administer your Ozempic injection on the same day each week. However, you can give the injection at any time of day, with or without meals.

If needed, you can change the day you give your injection. If you do, you must have taken your last dose at least 48 hours before the new day you plan to administer the injection.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember, as long as it’s within five days of the date of the missed dose. Then take your next dose on its regular schedule.

But if the date of your next scheduled dose is only one or two days away, don’t take the missed dose. Instead, just take the next dose on its scheduled day.

Will I need to use this drug long-term?

Yes, this drug is typically used long-term to treat type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic can cause mild or serious side effects. The following list contains some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Ozempic. This list does not include all possible side effects.

For more information on the possible side effects of Ozempic, or tips on how to deal with a troubling side effect, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Ozempic can include:

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

These side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Ozempic aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Thyroid cancer. Symptoms can include:
    • a mass or lump in your neck
    • trouble swallowing
    • trouble breathing
    • a hoarse voice
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Symptoms can include:
    • pain in your back and belly
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • unintended weight loss
    • fever
    • swollen belly
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms can include:
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • confusion
    • weakness
    • hunger
    • irritability
    • sweating
    • feeling jittery
    • fast heartbeat
  • Diabetic retinopathy (diabetes-related eye problems). Symptoms can include:
    • blurred vision
    • vision loss
    • seeing dark spots
    • poor night vision
  • Kidney damage. Symptoms can include:
    • reduced urination
    • swelling in your legs or ankles
    • confusion
    • fatigue
    • nausea
  • Severe allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • rash
    • itchy skin
    • flushing (redness and warmth in your face and neck)
    • swelling of your throat, mouth, and tongue
    • trouble breathing

Nausea

Nausea is the most common side effect of Ozempic. In clinical studies, nausea occurred in about 20 percent of people taking Ozempic. Nausea is most likely to occur when you first start taking Ozempic, and when your dosage is increased.

Nausea may decrease or go away with continued use of the drug. If it doesn’t go away or it becomes severe, talk with your doctor.

Heartburn

Some people who take Ozempic can have heartburn, but this isn’t common. In clinical studies, 1.5 to 1.9 percent of people taking Ozempic had heartburn.

This side effect may decrease or go away with continued use of the drug. If it doesn’t go away or it becomes severe, talk with your doctor.

Headache

Headache is a common side effect of Ozempic. In one clinical study, headache occurred in up to of people taking Ozempic.

This side effect may decrease or go away with continued use of the drug. If it doesn’t go away or it becomes severe, talk with your doctor.

Rash

Rash is not a side effect that has been reported in clinical studies of Ozempic. However, some people may experience redness where the Ozempic injection is given. This may look like a rash. Redness from an injection should go away within a few days.

Thyroid cancer

Ozempic has a boxed warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

In animal studies, Ozempic increased the risk of thyroid tumors. However, it’s not known if Ozempic causes thyroid tumors in humans.

There have been cases of thyroid cancer in people taking liraglutide (Victoza), a medication in the same drug class as Ozempic. However, it’s not clear if these cases were caused by liraglutide or something else.

Because of the potential risk of thyroid cancer, you should not use Ozempic if you, or an immediate family member, has had thyroid cancer in the past, or if you have a rare form of cancer called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.

If you’re taking Ozempic and have symptoms of a thyroid tumor, contact your doctor right away. Symptoms can include:

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

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Ozempic to treat certain conditions. Ozempic may also be used off-label for other conditions. Off-label use is when a drug that’s approved to treat one condition is used to treat a different condition.

Ozempic for type 2 diabetes

Ozempic is FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications. In a clinical study, when used alone, Ozempic reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 1.4 to 1.6 percent after 30 weeks of treatment. It also reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 41 to 44 mg/dL over that time period.

Unapproved uses

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for treating type 1 diabetes and has not been studied in people with this condition. However, in some cases, Ozempic may be used off-label to treat type 1 diabetes.

A medication in the same class as Ozempic, liraglutide (Victoza), has been studied in people with type 1 diabetes. Research has shown that liraglutide might lower insulin needs and decrease body weight, but it doesn’t seem to improve HbA1c.

Some experts say that Ozempic and other medications in the same class should not be used in people with type 1 diabetes. They believe that the risk of side effects from these drugs outweighs the potential benefits when used by people with type 1 diabetes.

Ozempic can decrease appetite. As a result, many people with diabetes who use the drug lose weight.

In one , people with type 2 diabetes who took Ozempic lost 8 to 10 pounds over 30 weeks. In another , treatment with Ozempic resulted in weight loss of about 11 pounds in people who had diabetes and were overweight, over 12 weeks of treatment.

Ozempic was also studied for weight loss in people without diabetes. In one , Ozempic reduced body weight by about 11 to 14 percent in people who were considered obese over one year of treatment.

Although Ozempic is not approved for weight loss, in some cases doctors may prescribe it off-label for that purpose.

Other drugs are available that can help treat type 2 diabetes. Some may be better suited for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Ozempic, talk to your doctor to learn more about other medications that may work well for you.

Examples of medications that could be alternatives to Ozempic include the drugs listed below.

  • glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) receptor agonists such as:
    • dulaglutide (Trulicity)
    • exenatide (Bydureon, Byetta)
    • liraglutide (Victoza)
    • lixisenatide (Adlyxin)
  • sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors such as:
  • metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet), which is a biguanide
    • dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors such as:
      • alogliptin (Nesina)
      • linagliptin (Tradjenta)
      • saxagliptin (Onglyza)
      • sitagliptin (Januvia)
    • thiazolidinediones such as:
      • pioglitazone (Actos)
      • rosiglitazone (Avandia)
    • alpha-glucosidase inhibitors such as:
    • sulfonylureas such as:

    You may wonder how Ozempic compares to other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. Here we look at how Ozempic and Trulicity are alike and different.

    Uses

    Ozempic and Trulicity are both FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

    Ozempic and Trulicity (dulaglutide) are both in the same class of medications, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) agonists. This means they work in the same way to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Drug forms and administration

    Ozempic and Trulicity both come as a liquid solution that’s available in a pen. They’re both self-injected under the skin (subcutaneous) once weekly.

    Side effects and risks

    Ozempic and Trulicity have similar effects in the body and therefore cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

    Ozempic and TrulicityOzempicTrulicity
    More common side effects• nausea

    • vomiting

    • diarrhea

    • gas

    • stomach pain

    • stomach upset

    • headache

    • constipation

    • fatigue

    • decreased appetite
    Serious side effectsthyroid cancer*

    • pancreatitis

    • low blood sugar

    • kidney damage

    • severe allergic reactions

    • diabetes-related eye problems (diabetic retinopathy)

    • severe gastrointestinal disease, including gastroparesis

    *Ozempic and Trulicity both have a boxed warning from the FDA for thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

    Effectiveness

    The only condition both Ozempic and Trulicity are FDA-approved to treat is type 2 diabetes.

    The effectiveness of these drugs in treating this condition has been compared in one clinical study.

    In the , Ozempic reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) more than Trulicity after 40 weeks of treatment. Ozempic reduced HbA1c by 1.5 to 1.8 percent, compared to 1.1 to 1.4 percent with Trulicity.

    Ozempic also reduced body weight more than Trulicity. Ozempic reduced weight by about 10 to 14 pounds, while Trulicity decreased weight by about 5 to 7 pounds.

    Costs

    Ozempic and Trulicity are both brand-name medications. They’re not available in generic forms, which typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

    Ozempic usually costs more than Trulicity. The exact amount you pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan.

    Victoza is another medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. Here we look at how Ozempic and Victoza are alike and different.

    Uses

    Ozempic and Victoza are both FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

    Victoza is also FDA-approved to reduce the risk of heart problems such as heart attack and stroke in people who have type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

    Ozempic and Victoza (liraglutide) are both in the same class of medications, which is called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) agonists. This means they work in the same way to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Drug forms and administration

    Ozempic comes as a liquid solution that’s available in a pen. It’s self-injected under the skin (subcutaneous) once weekly.

    Victoza also comes as a liquid solution that’s available in a pen. And it’s also self-injected under the skin, but it must be taken once daily.

    Side effects and risks

    Ozempic and Victoza have similar effects in the body and therefore cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

    Ozempic and VictozaOzempicVictoza
    More common side effects• nausea

    • diarrhea

    • vomiting

    • stomach upset

    • constipation

    • headache

    • stomach pain

    • gas

    • respiratory tract infection

    • sore throat

    • back pain

    • decreased appetite

    Serious side effectsthyroid cancer*

    • pancreatitis

    • low blood sugar

    • kidney damage

    • severe allergic reactions

    • diabetes-related eye problems (diabetic retinopathy)

    • gallbladder disease

    *Ozempic and Victoza both have a boxed warning from the FDA for this side effect. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

    Effectiveness

    Ozempic and Victoza haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies, but both are effective for treating type 2 diabetes.

    In a clinical study, Ozempic reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 1.4 to 1.6 percent after 30 weeks of treatment. It also reduced fasting blood sugar levels by 41 to 44 mg/dL over that period of time.

    Ozempic also reduces body weight in people with type 2 diabetes. In one , people taking Ozempic lost 8 to 10 pounds over 30 weeks. In another , people lost about 11 pounds over 12 weeks of treatment.

    In clinical studies of Victoza, HbA1c was reduced by about 0.8 to 1.1 over 52 weeks of treatment. The people studied also lost about 4.6 to 5.5 pounds.

    One benefit of Victoza is that it’s also FDA-approved to reduce the risk of heart problems in people with type 2 diabetes. In clinical studies, Victoza reduced the risk of heart problems such as heart attack or stroke by about 13 percent.

    Costs

    Ozempic and Victoza are both brand-name medications. They’re not available in generic forms, which typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

    Victoza usually costs more than Ozempic, although the reverse may be true in some cases, depending on the dosage used. The exact amount you pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan.

    Saxenda is another drug you may have heard of. Here we look at how Ozempic and Saxenda are alike and different.

    Uses

    Ozempic is FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It may also be used off-label to reduce weight in people who are overweight or obese.

    Saxenda is FDA-approved to reduce body weight in people who are overweight or obese.

    Liraglutide, the drug contained in Saxenda, is also contained in the medication Victoza, which is FDA-approved to treat type 2 diabetes. However, Saxenda is not used to treat type 2 diabetes. Although Victoza and Saxenda both contain liraglutide, they provide the drug in different doses.

    Ozempic and Saxenda are both in the same class of medications, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) agonists. This means they work in the same way in the body.

    Drug forms and administration

    Ozempic comes as a liquid solution that’s available in a pen. It’s self-injected under the skin (subcutaneous) once weekly.

    Saxenda is also available in a pen. It’s also self-injected under the skin, but must be taken once daily.

    Side effects and risks

    Ozempic and Saxenda have similar effects in the body and therefore cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

    Ozempic and SaxendaOzempicSaxenda
    More common side effects• nausea

    • vomiting

    • diarrhea

    • stomach pain

    • stomach upset

    • constipation

    • headache

    • gas

    (few unique common side effects)

    • bloating

    • dry mouth

    • decreased appetite

    • dizziness

    • fatigue

    • urinary tract infection

    • heartburn

    • stomach infection (gastroenteritis)

    Serious side effectsthyroid cancer*

    • pancreatitis

    • low blood sugar

    • kidney damage

    • severe allergic reactions

    • diabetes-related eye problems (diabetic retinopathy)

    • gallbladder disease

    • increased heart rate

    • depression

    • thoughts of suicide

    *Ozempic and Saxenda both have a boxed warning from the FDA for thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

    Effectiveness

    Ozempic and Saxenda have different FDA-approved uses, but they can both be used to reduce body weight in people who are overweight or obese.

    In one , Ozempic reduced body weight by about 11 to 14 percent over one year of treatment, compared to about 8 percent in people taking Saxenda.

    Costs

    Ozempic and Saxenda are both brand-name medications. They’re not available in generic forms, which typically cost less than brand-name drugs.

    Saxenda usually costs much more than Ozempic. The exact amount you pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan.

    Here we look at how Ozempic and the medication Bydureon are alike and different.

    Uses

    Ozempic and Bydureon are both FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

    Ozempic and Bydureon (extended-release exenatide) are both in the same class of medications, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) agonists. This means they work in the same way to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

    Drug forms and administration

    Ozempic comes as a liquid solution that’s available in a pen. It’s self-injected under the skin (subcutaneous) once weekly.

    Bydureon also comes as a liquid suspension that’s available in a self-injectable syringe or pen. It’s also given by injection under the skin once weekly.

    Side effects and risks

    Ozempic and Bydureon have similar effects in the body and therefore cause very similar side effects. Below are examples of these side effects.

    Ozempic and BydureonOzempicBydureon
    More common side effects• nausea

    • vomiting

    • diarrhea

    • constipation

    • stomach upset

    • headache

    • injection site reactions such as redness, itchiness, or a lump under the skin**

    • stomach pain

    • gas

    • fatigue

    • decreased appetite

    • heartburn

    Serious side effectsthyroid cancer*

    • low blood sugar

    • pancreatitis

    • kidney damage

    • severe allergic reaction

    • diabetes-related eye problems (diabetic retinopathy)

    • severe injection site reactions

    *Ozempic and Bydureon both have a boxed warning from the FDA for thyroid cancer. A boxed warning is the strongest warning the FDA requires. It alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

    **Both Bydureon and Ozempic can cause injection-site reactions, but this side effect is much more common with Bydureon than with Ozempic.

    Effectiveness

    The only condition both Bydureon and Ozempic are used to treat is type 2 diabetes.

    In a clinical study comparing these medications, Ozempic reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) by 1.5 percent after 56 weeks of treatment. Bydureon, on the other hand, reduced it by 0.9 percent during the same time period.

    Ozempic also reduced body weight more than Bydureon did. After 56 weeks of treatment, people who took Ozempic lost around 12 pounds, while those who took Bydureon lost around 4 pounds.

    Costs

    Ozempic and Bydureon are both brand-name medications. They’re not available in generic forms, which typically cost less than brand-name forms.

    Ozempic usually costs more than Bydureon. The exact amount you pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan.

    Ozempic can be used alone or combined with other medications to improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. In diabetes treatment, two or more medications may often be used together when one medication doesn’t improve blood sugar levels enough.

    Examples of diabetes drugs that may be used with Ozempic include:

    You should take Ozempic exactly as directed by your healthcare provider.

    How to inject

    Ozempic comes as a pen that is self-injected under your skin (subcutaneous). There are several steps involved in giving yourself the injection. To see a demonstration of how to use the Ozempic pen, you can watch a video from the manufacturer. Here are the basic steps:

    Step 1. Get your pen ready.

    • First, wash your hands.
    • Pull off the pen cap. Set aside.
    • Check the pen window to make sure the solution is clear and colorless. (If it isn’t, don’t use that pen.)
    • Put a new needle on the pen. (A new needle should be used each time you use the pen.)
    • Pull off the outer needle cap. Then, pull off the inner needle cap. Both caps can be discarded in the trash.

    Step 2. Check the Ozempic flow.

    This should be done before the first injection you do with each new pen. If you have already done this step for previous injections with the pen you’re currently using, you can skip to step 3.

    • Hold the pen with the needle pointing up.
    • Turn the dose counter until it shows the flow check symbol. (It looks like two dots and a line.)
    • Press and hold the dose button until the dose counter shows 0. A drop of Ozempic should appear at the needle tip.
    • If you don't see a drop, repeat the process, up to six times. If you don’t see a drop after six tries, replace the needle and try again.
    • If no drop ever appears, don't use the pen. Discard it in your sharps container. (You can get a sharps container at your local pharmacy.)

    Step 3. Select your dose.

    • Turn the dose selector until you see your dose (either 0.25, 0.5, or 1).

    Step 4. Inject the dose.

    • Wipe your skin at the injection site with an alcohol swab.
    • Insert the needle into your skin and hold in place.
    • Press down and hold the dose button until the dose counter shows 0.
    • After the dose counter shows 0, count slowly to six before you remove the needle from your skin. This ensures you get the full dose.

    Step 5. Discard the needle.

    • Remove the needle from the pen.
    • Place the used needle in a sharps container.
    • Put the pen cap back onto the pen.

    Where to inject

    Ozempic can be injected into your abdomen (belly), thigh, or upper arm. The same area can be used each time you inject Ozempic, but you should change the spot where you inject within that area.

    Timing

    Ozempic can be taken at any time of day. The injection should be given on the same day each week. If needed, you can change the day you give the injection. If you change the day, the last injection must have been given at least two days before the new day you plan to give the injection.

    Ideally you should take the drug at roughly the same time each day, even if you change the day. If you’re concerned about changing the time of your injection, talk to your doctor.

    Taking Ozempic with food

    Ozempic can be injected with or without food.

    Taking Ozempic with insulin

    Your healthcare provider may prescribe Ozempic to be used with insulin. Ozempic and insulin can be given at the same time of day. They can also be injected into the same part of the body, such as the belly. However, they shouldn’t be injected into the same spot.

    Avoid drinking too much alcohol while taking Ozempic. Alcohol can change your blood sugar levels and increase your risk of low blood sugar.

    If you drink alcohol, talk to your doctor about how much is safe for you.

    Ozempic can interact with several other medications. It can also interact with certain supplements.

    Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some can interfere with how well a drug works, while others can cause increased side effects.

    Ozempic and other medications

    Below is a list of medications that can interact with Ozempic. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Ozempic.

    Before taking Ozempic, be sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

    If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

    Drugs that increase insulin

    Taking Ozempic with drugs that increase insulin levels in your body can cause hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar levels). If you take Ozempic with these drugs, your doctor may need to lower your dosage of one or both drugs.

    Examples of these drugs include:

    Drugs that are taken by mouth

    Ozempic might decrease how well your body absorbs certain medications that are taken by mouth. If you take oral medications, take them at least one hour before you inject Ozempic.

    Ozempic and herbs and supplements

    Taking certain herbs or supplements with Ozempic might increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Examples of these include:

    Ozempic helps improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It does this by reducing the amount of glucose in your blood.

    How insulin affects blood sugar

    Normally, when you eat food, your body releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps transport glucose (sugar) from your bloodstream into the cells of your body. The cells then turn the glucose into energy.

    People with type 2 diabetes usually have insulin resistance. This means their body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should. Over time, people with type 2 diabetes may also stop producing enough insulin.

    When your body doesn’t respond to insulin the way it should, or if it doesn’t produce enough insulin, this causes problems.

    The cells of your body may not get the glucose they need to work correctly. Also, you may get too much glucose in your blood. This is called hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). Having too much glucose in your blood can damage your body and organs, including your eyes, heart, nerves, and kidneys.

    What Ozempic does

    Ozempic belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. It works in people with diabetes by increasing the amount of insulin your body makes when blood sugar levels are high. This increased insulin carries more glucose into your cells, causing your blood sugar levels to go down.

    Ozempic also decreases blood sugar levels in other ways. For instance, it blocks a chemical in your body that causes your liver to make glucose. It also makes food move out of your stomach more slowly. This means your body absorbs glucose more slowly, which prevents your blood sugar levels from getting too high.

    How long does it take to work?

    Ozempic begins to work right after you inject it. But when you’re first starting to take Ozempic, it takes several weeks for its full effects to build up.

    This means that you won’t have the full effects of Ozempic until about four to five weeks after your first injection. After this time, you’ll have a steady amount of Ozempic in your body all the time to help manage your blood sugar levels.

    There are limited studies on Ozempic’s effects on human pregnancies. Animal studies show possible harm to a fetus. However, studies in animals don’t always predict how a drug might affect humans.

    Ozempic should be only used if the potential benefit outweighs the potential risks.

    If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of using Ozempic during pregnancy.

    It isn’t known if Ozempic passes into breast milk. Before using Ozempic while breastfeeding, discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

    Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Ozempic.

    Is Ozempic used to treat PCOS?

    Ozempic is not FDA-approved for treating polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). It hasn’t been studied in women with this condition.

    However, some other drugs in the same class of medications as Ozempic are being studied for this use. This class of drugs is called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists.

    Is Ozempic available as a pill?

    Currently, Ozempic is only available as a pen that you use to self-inject the medication. However, an (the drug contained in Ozempic) is in development.

    Is Ozempic an insulin?

    No, Ozempic is not an insulin. Ozempic belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists. It works in people with diabetes by increasing the amount of insulin your body makes when blood sugar levels are high.

    When was Ozempic approved?

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

    Taking too much of this medication can increase your risk of serious side effects.

    Overdose symptoms

    Symptoms of an overdose of Ozempic can include:

    What to do in case of overdose

    If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or seek guidance from the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or through their online tool. But if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

    FDA warning: Thyroid cancer

    This drug has a boxed warning. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A boxed warning alerts doctors and patients about drug effects that may be dangerous.

    • In animals, Ozempic can increase the risk of thyroid tumors. It’s not known if Ozempic has this effect in humans. You should not use Ozempic if you or an immediate family member has had thyroid cancer in the past, or if you have a rare form of cancer called multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2.
    • If you’re taking Ozempic and have symptoms of a thyroid tumor, contact your doctor right away. Symptoms can include:
      • a mass or lump in your neck
      • trouble swallowing
      • trouble breathing
      • a hoarse voice

    Other warnings

    Before taking Ozempic, talk with your doctor about your health history. Ozempic may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions. These conditions include:

    • Allergic reactions to GLP-1 agonists. If you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to other medications in the same drug class as Ozempic (GLP-1 agonists), you may be more likely to have a severe allergic reaction to Ozempic. Talk with doctor before taking Ozempic if you’ve had a severe reaction in the past to one of these drugs.
    • Diabetes-related eye disease. If you’ve had diabetic retinopathy in the past, Ozempic may worsen this condition. Diabetic retinopathy is eye damage related to diabetes.
    • Kidney disease. If you have kidney disease, Ozempic may worsen your condition. If your condition worsens, you may need to stop taking Ozempic. If you have severe kidney disease, you may not be able to use Ozempic.

    Each Ozempic package has an expiration date listed on the label. Do not use Ozempic if the date is beyond the expiration date listed on the label.

    Ozempic should be stored in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F until you’re ready to use it. Ozempic should never be frozen. If Ozempic freezes, it can no longer be used.

    After the first use, the Ozempic pen can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. However, it can only be used for up to 56 days after the first injection. After this time, the pen should be discarded.

    The Ozempic pen needle should be removed after each injection. The Ozempic pen should not be stored with the needle attached.

    The following information is provided for clinicians and other healthcare professionals.

    Mechanism of action

    Ozempic is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It reduces blood glucose levels by increasing pancreatic insulin secretion in response to glucose levels. Ozempic also lowers blood glucose levels by decreasing glucagon secretion and slowing gastric emptying.

    Pharmacokinetics and metabolism

    The absolute bioavailability of Ozempic is 89 percent. The peak concentration occurs in one to three days after a dose. Steady-state levels usually occur within four to five weeks of once-weekly subcutaneous administration.

    The elimination half-life is about one week. Ozempic and metabolites are primarily eliminated via the urine and stool.

    Contraindications

    Ozempic is contraindicated in people with a:

    • personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma
    • personal history of multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2
    • history of serious hypersensitivity reaction to semaglutide

    Storage

    Ozempic should be refrigerated at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C) until the time of use. Ozempic should not be frozen. If Ozempic freezes, it can no longer be used. After the first use, the Ozempic pen can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. It can only be used for up to 56 days after the first injection.

    Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.