In This Article
In This Article
Ozempic has possible side effects some people may not be able to tolerate. They can be mild, like nausea or vomiting, and usually go away after a few weeks into the medication.
But you can also experience severe side effects that need immediate medical attention. For instance, a severe allergic reaction where you experience difficulty breathing is possible. Other side effects can be pancreatitis, vision changes, kidney problems, and hypoglycemia.
Your doctor will ask for your complete medical and health history to ensure they give you the proper dosage. Following the prescribed dosage strictly can help manage the side effects of Ozempic.
Ozempic is a semaglutide medication administered via subcutaneous injection. It is a treatment option for people with type 2 diabetes.1
“The drug is also used to reduce the incidence of heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes who have a known heart disease,” says our in-house medical expert, Dr. Rizza Mira.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for treating diabetes in 2017.2
Semaglutide helps your pancreas produce the right amount of insulin when you have high blood sugar.3
Insulin is a hormone that helps move sugar from your blood into body tissues. When there’s sugar or glucose in your bloodstream, your cells can either absorb them for energy or the liver can store them for later use.4
Semaglutide injections can also reduce your appetite, causing weight loss. It does so by slowing down the food’s movement through the stomach.5
Doctors typically use Ozempic as part of a diabetes treatment plan. They usually advise you to have it administered once a week to help with blood sugar management.
It is a type of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist—a class of medications that mimic the GLP-1 hormone in your body. GLP-1 agonists help lower your blood sugar levels after each meal.6
The GLP-1 hormone stimulates insulin production, so your cells can absorb glucose. It also slows down glucagon secretion.7
Glucagon is a hormone produced by the pancreas that increases blood glucose levels.
When used with diet and exercise, Ozempic helps adults with type 2 diabetes to:
Our in-house medical expert, Dr. Rizza Mira, mentions that while Ozempic is a generally safe medication, it can still have some side effects that range from mild to severe.
The mild side effects of Ozempic primarily affect your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, although it may also bring other discomforts. You may experience any of the following:
Some severe side effects to consider before starting Ozempic include:
Ozempic comes with a boxed warning from FDA for thyroid tumors including cancer. A study shows semaglutide causes thyroid-c cells tumors in rodents.8
However, it’s unknown whether Ozempic has the same effect on humans.
It’s important to let your doctor know if you have a lump in your neck, hoarseness, problem swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be tell-tale signs of thyroid cancer.
Discuss with your physician if you have a personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC)—a type of thyroid cancer.
You must also inform your healthcare provider if there’s a history of Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2) in your family.
MEN 2 is a condition that affects the endocrine glands and can cause tumors in your thyroid, parathyroid, and adrenal glands.9
Remember to disclose your complete health and medical history with your doctor before starting Ozempic treatment. It’ll help them decide whether the drug is right for you.
Ozempic may cause or worsen existing conditions like
Diabetic retinopathy occurs when uncontrolled blood sugar leads to damage to your retina. Tell your doctor immediately if there are changes in your eyesight, like blurred vision.10
Like any other medication, Ozempic can trigger allergies in some people. These are mostly mild and only happen as your body gets used to the treatment.
A mild allergic reaction may include signs like skin rash, itchiness, and flushing or the sudden warmth and redness of the skin.
The FDA reports only 5% of Ozempic users experience side effects or reactions.11
Adverse reactions can happen if you are allergic to semaglutide or any ingredients of Ozempic.
Make sure to inform your doctor if you’ve reacted to any GLP-1 agonist drugs in the past. It may mean that you’ll also react to Ozempic.
However, serious allergic reactions to Ozempic may include extreme swelling under your skin. It usually happens in your lips, eyelids, hands, and feet.
You may also feel that your mouth, tongue, and throat are inflamed, making it hard for you to breathe. Call for help immediately if this is the case to avoid anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. It causes a sudden drop in your blood pressure and a narrowing of your airways.
“Severe and persistent vomiting and diarrhea are also signs of anaphylaxis to watch out for,” says Dr. Mira.
Yes. The side effects of Ozempic can worsen with certain foods and drinks like alcohol.
Depending on your medical history and health goals, your healthcare provider may recommend specific foods you must limit.
Some of the foods that can worsen the side effects of Ozempic include:
High-fat foods already cause gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and nausea. Consuming them while on Ozempic may aggravate these mild side effects.
“Gastrointestinal symptoms are the most commonly observed side effects of Ozempic,” says Dr. Mira.
Sugary foods increase the risk of gastrointestinal side effects like nausea. Besides, consuming them may not support your weight loss goals.
Consuming too many alcoholic beverages can cause fluctuations in your blood sugar level. Drinking alcohol while on Ozempic may lead to too low blood sugar, or may cause Ozempic to be ineffective.
As your body adjusts to the treatment, you may experience side effects. The most common are nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation.
Your doctor may suggest changes in your habits to help prevent the usual aftereffects of Ozempic.
Ozempic affects the amount of food your body can tolerate. Smaller meal portions help minimize nausea and vomiting, especially low-fat foods.
Avoid high-fat foods to lessen bloating, gas, or nausea. Low-fat foods are easier to digest and move through your stomach faster.
Ozempic makes you feel less hungry, helping with weight loss. Eating fewer calories, however, may affect your energy levels. It can make you feel more tired than usual.
Fatigue is another common side effect of Ozempic. Talk to a healthcare professional about changing your diet to help your body adjust to the treatment.
Dietary changes may also help prevent gallbladder problems from occurring while on Ozempic.
Most of the side effects of Ozempic get better quickly. However, you need to contact your doctor if you experience symptoms that don’t improve within a few weeks.
Let your healthcare provider know as well if you experience symptoms of any of the severe side effects of Ozempic, like:
It’s essential to inform your doctor of any other existing medical condition you have, especially if it concerns your kidney or pancreas.
You must also inform them of your medications besides Ozempic to prevent possible drug interactions. These include prescription drugs, vitamins, herbal supplements, diabetes drugs such as insulin, and others.
Your doctor needs to consider several factors before they can change your dosage or continue you on Ozempic.