Ozempic is a brand-name prescription medication that’s used to:

This drug is not used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis and typically isn’t prescribed for people who’ve had pancreatitis. See the “Ozempic uses” section below for details.

Ozempic comes as a liquid solution that’s given by subcutaneous injection. It contains the drug semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists).

Ozempic may be taken by itself or in combination with other diabetes medications.

Ozempic comes as a pen that you can use to self-inject the medication. The pen comes in three strengths:

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

Each pen delivers a different dose of Ozempic.

FDA approval

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

Note: Ozempic is not currently available in an oral pill form. However, Rybelsus, a similar medication containing the active drug semaglutide, has been FDA-approved in an oral tablet form. To find out how Ozempic and Rybelsus compare, see this in-depth article.

Effectiveness

To learn about Ozempic’s effectiveness, see the “Ozempic uses” section below.

Ozempic is only available as a brand-name medication. It contains the drug semaglutide, which is not currently available in a generic form.

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.

An Ozempic Savings Card is available, which can help you pay less for each prescription refill. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for the card, call 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.

You can also read this article for more information about Ozempic’s dosage.

Drug forms and strengths

Ozempic comes as a pen that you use to self-inject the medication. The strengths and doses dispensed by each pen are described in the following table:

StrengthDose delivered per injectionNumber of doses the pen can inject
2 mg/1.5 mL (2 milligrams of semaglutide in 1.5 milliliters of solution), which may also be written as 1.34 mg/mL0.25 mg or 0.5 mgfour to eight doses
4 mg/3 mL (1.34 mg/mL)1 mgfour doses
8 mg/3 mL (2.68 mg/mL)2 mgfour doses

When you first start taking Ozempic, you might use the 2 mg/1.5 mL pen. If you need a higher dose of Ozempic to help manage your blood sugar levels, your doctor might prescribe a higher strength.

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

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

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

When you first start taking Ozempic, you’ll take 0.25 mg once weekly for 4 weeks. After this, you’ll take 0.5 mg once weekly for 4 weeks.

After 4 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 may increase your dosage to 1 or 2 mg once weekly. The maximum recommended dosage of Ozempic is 2 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 more than 5 days have passed, or if the date of your next scheduled dose is only 1 or 2 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 help manage type 2 diabetes and to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems.

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. You can also read this article for details about Ozempic’s potential side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of Ozempic can include:

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 with your doctor or pharmacist.

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

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.*
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). Symptoms can include:
    • pain in your back and belly
    • nausea
    • 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
  • Gallbladder disease. Symptoms can include:
    • gallstones, which can cause pain in your belly, nausea, vomiting, and fever
  • Allergic reaction.*

* For more information on this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

You may wonder how often certain side effects occur with this drug. Here’s some detail on some of the side effects this drug may cause.

Allergic reaction

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

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing

It’s not known how often allergic reactions may have occurred in people taking Ozempic in clinical trials. However, serious allergic reactions to Ozempic have been reported.

Call your doctor right away if you have a severe allergic reaction to Ozempic. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Nausea

Nausea is the most common side effect of Ozempic. To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical trials, see Ozempic’s prescribing information. 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 Ozempic. 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. To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical trials, see Ozempic’s prescribing information.

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. To find out how often this side effect occurred in clinical studies, see Ozempic’s prescribing information.

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.

Thyroid cancer

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

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 have ever had a form of cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), or a rare endocrine condition 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 prescribed to treat a different condition.

Ozempic for improving blood sugar levels with type 2 diabetes

Ozempic is FDA-approved to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes, along with lifestyle improvements in diet and exercise. (Ozempic is also approved to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems, and this use is described just below.)

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

It’s important to note that Ozempic is not used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. And it’s not typically prescribed for people who have had pancreatitis in the past.

Effectiveness for type 2 diabetes

Ozempic has been found to be effective for treating type 2 diabetes. For information on how Ozempic performed in clinical studies, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Guidelines by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend using a GLP-1 agonist, such as Ozempic, in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have one of the following conditions:

  • cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a high risk of developing CVD
  • kidney disease
  • heart failure

These same guidelines also recommend using another medication, such as a GLP-1 agonist like Ozempic, as an option for treating people with type 2 diabetes in whom metformin doesn’t adequately lower their blood sugar.

Ozempic for lowering risk of cardiovascular problems

Ozempic is FDA-approved to help lower the risk of serious cardiovascular problems in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. These risks include stroke, heart attack, and death due to cardiovascular disease.

(Ozempic is also approved to help improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. This use is described just above.)

It’s important to note that Ozempic is not used for type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. And it’s not typically prescribed for people who have had pancreatitis in the past.

Effectiveness for heart problems

In clinical trials, Ozempic was found to be effective for lowering the risk of cardiovascular problems in certain adults. See Ozempic’s prescribing information for details on the drug’s effectiveness in clinical trials.

Guidelines by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend using a GLP-1 agonist, such as Ozempic, in adults with type 2 diabetes who are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Off-label use

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.

Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight management. However, in some cases, doctors may prescribe this drug off-label for weight management. Off-label drug use means prescribing a drug for a purpose other than what it’s been approved for by the FDA.

Be sure to only use Ozempic as prescribed by your doctor. If you have questions about using Ozempic for weight management, talk with your doctor.

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

Examples of medications that could be alternatives to Ozempic for type 2 diabetes include the drugs listed below.

Alternatives for improving blood sugar levels and lowering risk of cardiovascular problems

In addition, the following drugs are alternative options for improving blood sugar levels:

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. You can also see this detailed article that discusses the two medications.

Uses

Ozempic and Trulicity are both FDA-approved to:

Ozempic and Trulicity (dulaglutide) are both in the same class of medications, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 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 subcutaneously once per week.

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
• gallbladder disease
• 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 about possible risk of 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 Trulicity have both been found to be effective for treating type 2 diabetes. The drugs were directly compared in one clinical study. The study found semaglutide, the active drug in Ozempic, to be more effective than dulaglutide, the active drug in Trulicity.

For information on how each drug performed in other clinical studies, see the prescribing information for Ozempic and Trulicity.

Guidelines by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend using a GLP-1 agonist, such as Ozempic or Trulicity, in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have one of the following conditions:

  • cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a high risk of developing CVD
  • kidney disease
  • heart failure

These same guidelines also recommend using another medication, such as a GLP-1 agonist like Ozempic or Trulicity, as an option for treating people with type 2 diabetes in whom metformin doesn’t adequately lower their blood sugar.

The ADA doesn’t recommend any GLP-1 agonist over another. If your doctor decides to prescribe you a GLP-1 agonist, you’ll work together to determine the best one for you.

Costs

The cost of either Ozempic or Trulicity may vary depending on your treatment plan. To compare prices for these drugs, check out GoodRx.com. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

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:

Victoza can also be used in children ages 10 years and older with type 2 diabetes to help improve blood sugar levels.

Ozempic and Victoza (liraglutide) are both in the same class of medications, which are called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 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 subcutaneously once per week.

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
• gallbladder disease
• severe allergic reactions
• diabetes-related eye problems (diabetic retinopathy)no unique serious side effects

* Ozempic and Victoza both have a boxed warning from the FDA about possible risk of 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 Victoza haven’t been directly compared in clinical studies, but both have been found effective for treating type 2 diabetes. For information on how each drug performed in clinical studies, see the prescribing information for Ozempic and Victoza.

Guidelines by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommend using a GLP-1 agonist, such as Ozempic or Victoza, in adults with type 2 diabetes who also have one of the following conditions:

  • cardiovascular disease (CVD) or a high risk of developing CVD
  • kidney disease
  • heart failure

These same guidelines also recommend using another medication, such as a GLP-1 agonist like Ozempic or Victoza, as an option for treating people with type 2 diabetes in whom metformin doesn’t adequately lower their blood sugar.

The ADA doesn’t recommend any GLP-1 agonist over another. If your doctor decides to prescribe you a GLP-1 agonist, you’ll work together to determine the best one for you.

Costs

The cost of either Ozempic or Victoza may vary depending on your treatment plan. To compare prices for these drugs, check out GoodRx.com. The actual price you’ll pay for either drug will depend on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Ozempic can be prescribed by itself or 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:

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

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

How to inject

Ozempic comes as a pen that is self-injected subcutaneously. There are several steps involved in giving yourself the injection. For fully detailed instructions on how to use an Ozempic pen, you can see the drug’s website. 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, 1, or 2).

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.

Note: After using an Ozempic pen, you can keep using it for up to 56 days. After 56 days, the medication expires, and you should dispose of 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 yourself Ozempic injections. If you change the day, make sure to wait at least 2 days between each 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 with your doctor.

Taking Ozempic with food

Ozempic can be injected with or without food.

Taking Ozempic with insulin

Your healthcare professional 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 with 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 increase your risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). Your doctor may prescribe a lower dose of insulin or drugs that increase insulin levels while you’re also using Ozempic. Examples of these drugs include:
  • Certain drugs taken by mouth. Ozempic might make your body less able to absorb certain medications that are taken by mouth. If you take oral medications, take them at least 1 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 works to help improve blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes, along with diet and exercise. It also works to lower the risk of serious cardiovascular problems in adults with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Ozempic does this by reducing the amount of glucose (sugar) in your blood.

How insulin affects blood sugar and cardiovascular risk

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.

Over time, high blood glucose levels can also increase your risk of cardiovascular problems, including a heart attack or stroke.

What Ozempic does

Ozempic belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists). Its mechanism of action (how a drug works) in people with diabetes is 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. Over time, keeping your blood glucose levels at a consistently healthy level can also help reduce your risk of serious cardiovascular problems.

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 only be 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). Ozempic’s use for treating this condition hasn’t been studied.

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 receptor agonists (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 oral tablet form of semaglutide (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 receptor agonists (GLP-1 agonists). It works in people with diabetes by increasing the amount of insulin your body makes when blood sugar levels are high.

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

Overdose symptoms

Symptoms of an overdose of Ozempic can include severe nausea, vomiting, or hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

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 its 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 about the possible risk of thyroid cancer. 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 or breathing, and a hoarse voice.

Other warnings

Before taking Ozempic, talk with your doctor about your health history. Ozempic may not be right for you, depending on whether you have certain medical conditions or other factors. These factors include:

  • Allergic reaction to Ozempic or other 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 your 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.
  • Using insulin or insulin-increasing drugs with Ozempic. Taking Ozempic along with insulin or medications that increase your body’s production of insulin can increase your risk of hypoglycemia, including severe hypoglycemia. Be sure to talk with your doctor about all the medications you take before starting Ozempic treatment. (See the “Ozempic interactions” section above for some examples.) If you notice signs of hypoglycemia after using Ozempic (including drowsiness, headache, weakness, and hunger), talk with your doctor. They may recommend a lower dosage of insulin or the insulin-increasing drug.
  • Gallbladder disease. Taking Ozempic may increase your risk of acute (short-term) gallbladder disease, which could include gallstones or redness and swelling of your gallbladder. If you show any signs of gallbladder disease, your doctor will recommend a gallbladder exam.

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.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today 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 another 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.