Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription brand-name medication. It’s approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.

Ozempic is also used to lower the risk for major cardiovascular problems in adults who have both type 2 diabetes and heart disease. (“Cardiovascular” refers to the heart and blood vessels. The problems include heart attack, stroke, and in some cases, death from heart disease.)

If you and your doctor agree that Ozempic is working well for your condition, you’ll likely take the drug long-term.

Here are some fast facts on Ozempic:

Like other drugs, Ozempic can cause side effects. Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects of Ozempic shots. For a general overview of Ozempic, see this article.

Ozempic can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took Ozempic in clinical studies:

Mild side effects can occur while taking Ozempic. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Ozempic’s medication guide.

Mild side effects that have been reported with Ozempic include:

* To learn more information about this side effect, see “Side effect specifics” below.

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days or weeks. But if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks and reviews side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking Ozempic and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

Ozempic may cause serious side effects, but they aren’t common. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to Ozempic’s medication guide.

If you develop serious side effects while taking Ozempic, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported include:

* Ozempic has a boxed warning for this side effect. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
† To learn more about this side effect, see the “Side effect specifics” section below.

Ozempic treatment can make you feel less hungry. For some people with diabetes, this means they could lose weight while taking the drug.

It’s important to note that Ozempic isn’t currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat weight loss. But doctors may prescribe this medication off-label for weight loss. (Off-label drug use is the use of an FDA-approved drug for a purpose other than what it’s approved for.)

If you have additional questions about Ozempic and weight loss, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Learn more about some of the side effects that Ozempic may cause.

Gas and burping

Gas and burping were reported in people taking Ozempic in clinical studies. But these side effects weren’t common.

Gas occurred more often in people taking a 1-milligram (mg) dose of Ozempic than in people who took a 0.5-mg dose. Burping was more common in people taking a 0.5-mg dose of Ozempic than in people taking a 1-mg dose.

Gas and burping are caused by tiny amounts of air that gather in your digestive system. Normally, air builds up as you digest food. Your body eventually has to release the air, and passing gas or burping are ways to get rid of it. Ozempic may cause these side effects because the drug slows down the rate at which your stomach digests food.

What you can do

If you experience gas or burping, it’ll most likely be mild. It may go away with time as you continue taking Ozempic.

But if you have gas or burping that’s bothersome to you, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend an over-the-counter medication, such as simethicone (Gas-X), to treat these side effects. They may also recommend tips such as eating slowly or avoiding foods that cause gas. But if you experience gas or burping that won’t go away or affects your daily life, your doctor may recommend a different drug other than Ozempic.

Dizziness

Dizziness can occur while taking Ozempic. This side effect was very rare in people taking the drug in clinical studies.

Dizziness can also be a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If Ozempic is taken with certain other diabetes drugs, such as insulin, it can cause low blood sugar as a side effect.

What you can do

If you experience dizziness while taking Ozempic, check your blood sugar to see if it’s low. Your doctor can provide you with instructions on how to raise your blood sugar. You can also see this article about how to treat low blood sugar.

If you have dizziness that isn’t related to low blood sugar while taking Ozempic, talk with your doctor. They may suggest trying a different medication to treat your condition.

Nausea

It’s possible to have nausea when taking Ozempic. Nausea was the most common side effect reported by people taking the drug in clinical studies. For most people, the nausea was mild and temporary.

You’re more likely to have nausea when you first start Ozempic treatment or after your doctor increases your dose. For most people, this side effect goes away within a few days or weeks.

What you can do

If you have nausea from Ozempic that doesn’t go away or affects your everyday life, talk with your doctor. They may suggest taking medications to treat nausea or avoiding certain foods that may cause it. They may also recommend trying a different medication to improve your blood sugar.

Thyroid cancer

Ozempic has a boxed warning for thyroid cancer. This is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Animal studies showed that Ozempic increased the risk for thyroid tumors in animals. (A tumor is a mass of cancerous tissue.) But animal studies don’t always predict what will happen in humans. It isn’t known if Ozempic causes thyroid tumors in humans.

What you can do

You shouldn’t take Ozempic if you or an immediate family member has or has ever had:

While you take Ozempic, talk with your doctor right away if you notice symptoms of a thyroid tumor. These can include a lump or mass in your neck and a hoarse voice. Symptoms can also include trouble breathing and trouble swallowing.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, Ozempic can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Allergic reactions weren’t reported during clinical studies of the drug. But serious allergic reactions have been reported in people who’ve taken Ozempic since it’s been on the market.

Symptoms of allergic reactions can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • flushing (temporary warmth, redness, or deepening of skin color)
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your lips, eyelids, feet, or hands
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking Ozempic. But if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Ozempic may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

How long do Ozempic side effects last?

Most people who develop side effects from taking Ozempic have only mild, short-term symptoms. Side effects of Ozempic should go away on their own after a few days or weeks.

In rare cases, Ozempic can cause some side effects that may not go away. But these can be managed. They include:

Before you start treatment with Ozempic, talk with your doctor or pharmacist about potential side effects of the drug and how long they may last.

* Ozempic has a boxed warning for this side effect. A boxed warning is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Is hair loss a side effect of Ozempic?

No, hair loss wasn’t reported as a side effect by people taking Ozempic in clinical studies.

But hair loss and hair thinning may occur in people who have diabetes and consistently high blood sugar levels.

If you have questions about hair loss, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Can Ozempic cause a headache?

Headache on its own wasn’t reported as a side effect by people taking Ozempic in clinical studies.

But headache can be a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Ozempic can cause hypoglycemia in people who take the drug with certain other diabetes medications, including insulin.

If you experience headache while taking Ozempic, check your blood sugar to see if it’s low. Your doctor can provide you with instructions on how to raise your blood sugar. You can also see this article about how to treat low blood sugar.

If you have additional questions about headache and Ozempic, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Below are precautions to keep in mind before you start treatment with Ozempic.

Boxed warning: Thyroid cancer

Ozempic has a boxed warning for thyroid cancer. This is a serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). For details, see the “Side effect specifics” section above.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take Ozempic. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Pancreas problems, including pancreatitis. Ozempic can cause pancreatitis, but this side effect is rare. If you have or had pancreatitis or other pancreas problems, you may be at higher risk for this side effect than usual. Be sure to tell your doctor about pancreatitis or other pancreas problems before you take Ozempic. They can help determine whether the drug is right for you.

Kidney problems. Some people taking Ozempic have reported kidney problems, such as kidney failure, as a rare side effect. But it isn’t known whether Ozempic or another factor caused kidney problems. This is because these reports happened after the drug was approved and not during clinical studies. Before you start taking Ozempic, talk with your doctor about any kidney problems you have. They may recommend a different medication that may be safer for you.

Diabetic retinopathy. Ozempic may cause diabetic retinopathy or make this condition worse if you already have it. Before you take Ozempic, be sure your doctor is aware of whether you have diabetic retinopathy. If you do, they may monitor you more closely than usual.

Allergic reaction. You shouldn’t take Ozempic if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to Ozempic or any of its ingredients. Your doctor may recommend other treatments that may be better options for you.

Alcohol use with Ozempic

Alcohol and Ozempic don’t interact with each other.

But drinking alcohol may make it harder to manage your blood sugar. Alcohol affects your body in ways that can make your blood sugar too high or too low after consuming it. If you drink alcohol, talk with your doctor about how much, if any, is safe for you to consume while taking Ozempic.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Ozempic

Below is some information on pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking Ozempic.

Pregnancy. It isn’t known if it’s safe to take Ozempic while pregnant. The drug’s manufacturer recommends that you stop taking the medication 2 months before becoming pregnant. Your doctor can advise you on the best way to treat diabetes while pregnant. They can also advise you on the risks and benefits of taking Ozempic while pregnant.

Breastfeeding. It isn’t known if Ozempic passes into breast milk. If you have questions about taking Ozempic while breastfeeding, talk with your doctor. They can discuss Ozempic’s risks and benefits with you.

Keep in mind that you should also talk with your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Ozempic.

If you experience side effects with Ozempic, they’ll usually be mild. Most mild side effects will go away in a few days or weeks and won’t require medical attention.

But you should talk with your doctor if you experience serious side effects. They could require medical attention.

Keep in mind that you should also talk with your doctor if you become pregnant while taking Ozempic.

For more information on mild and serious side effects, and pregnancy, see the related sections above.

If you’d like to learn more about Ozempic, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

Other resources

Besides talking with your doctor, you can do some research on your own. These articles might help:

  • More information on Ozempic. For details on other aspects of Ozempic, refer to this article.
  • Dosage details. For information on Ozempic’s dosage, see this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how Ozempic compares with other drugs, read the comparison articles on these medications: Rybelsus, Trulicity, and Victoza.
  • A look at type 2 diabetes. For details on type 2 diabetes, see our diabetes hub. You can also check out our list of diabetes articles.

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.