Medication Search: Ozempic
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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?
Semaglutide belongs to a group of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It is used alone or with other medications to improve blood glucose (sugar) levels for people with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes medications such as semaglutide are used when diet, exercise, weight reduction and medications such as metformin, glyburide, or insulin have not been found to lower blood sugar well enough on their own. It works by helping your body make more insulin and control blood glucose levels.
This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.
Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.
Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.
What form(s) does this medication come in?
Each 1 mL of clear, colourless solution contains 1.34 mg of semaglutide. Nonmedicianl ingredients: disodium phosphate dihydrate, propylene glycol, phenol, and water for injections.
There are 2 forms of the pre-filled, multi-dose, disposable pen. One pen delivers doses of 0.25 mg and 0.5 mg semaglutide, while the other pen delivers 1 mg doses only.
Each pen contains 2 mg of semaglutide.
How should I use this medication?
The recommended adult starting dose of semaglutide is 0.25 mg once a week. Semaglutide is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) on your stomach area (abdomen), upper thigh, or upper arm, exactly as instructed by your doctor or diabetes educator. It can be injected at any time of the day, without regard to meals. After four weeks, your dose will increase to 0.5 mg once a week. If needed, your doctor may increase the dose again in four weeks to 1mg once a week. Do not change your dose unless your doctor has told you to do so.
If you are also using insulin, each medication should be injected separately.
Your doctor or diabetes instructor will show you how to use this medication properly. If you are not sure how to use it or have questions about how to use it, contact your doctor. Before using this medication, thoroughly read the patient information provided and ask your doctor if you have any questions. If a caregiver will be giving you the injections, your doctor should instruct them on how to give the injection.
Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.
It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you miss a dose, and it is less than 5 days since the missed dose, inject your dose as soon as possible. If it less than 48 hours until your next scheduled dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not inject a double dose or increase your dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Semaglutide should be clear and colourless. Do not use semaglutide if you notice particles or anything unusual in the appearance of the solution.
After the first use of the pen, this medication can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 56 days (8 weeks). Always store this medication without a needle attached to prevent contamination, infection, and leakage. To protect this medication from light, always keep the pen cap on when you are not using it.
Store this medication in the refrigerator, do not allow it to freeze, and keep it out of the reach of children.
Do not dispose of medications in wastewater (e.g. down the sink or in the toilet) or in household garbage. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medications that are no longer needed or have expired.
Who should NOT take this medication?
Do not take this medication if you:
- are allergic to semaglutide or any ingredients of the medication
- are pregnant
- are breast-feeding
- have a personal or family history of thyroid cancer
- have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (a disease where people have tumours in more than one gland in their body)
What side effects are possible with this medication?
Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.
The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.
The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.
Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.
- change in the taste of food or drink
- decreased appetite
- gas or burping
- mild abdominal pain or bloating
- redness, itching, or swelling at the injection site
- weight loss
Although most of the side effects listed below don’t happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- signs of low blood glucose (e.g., anxiety, blurred vision, confusion, difficulty concentrating, difficulty speaking, dizziness, drowsiness, fast heartbeat, feeling jittery, headache, hunger, irritability, nausea, nervousness, numbness or tingling of the lips or tongue, sweating, tiredness, trembling, weakness)
- symptoms of gallstones (e.g., intermittent, severe, dull pain in the upper right part of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, intolerance of fatty or greasy foods)
- symptoms of irregular heartbeat (e.g., chest pain, dizziness, rapid, pounding heartbeat, shortness of breath)
- vision changes caused by diabetic retinopathy (e.g., blurred or changing vision, floaters, changes in colour vision)
Stop taking the medication and seek immediate medical attention if any of the following occur:
- severe hypoglycemia (e.g., disorientation, loss of consciousness, seizures)
- signs of pancreatitis (e.g., abdominal pain on the upper left side, back pain, nausea, fever, chills, rapid heartbeat, swollen abdomen)
- symptoms of a serious allergic reaction (e.g., swelling of the face or throat, difficulty breathing, wheezing, or itchy skin rash)
Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.
Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?
Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.
Diabetes identification: It is important to either wear a bracelet (or necklace) or carry a card indicating you have diabetes and are taking medication to manage your blood glucose levels.
Heart problems: This medication may increase heart rate and may affect how electrical impulses travel through the heart muscle. If you have heart disease or an abnormal heart rhythm (e.g., heart block or fast heart rate), discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Kidney function: Semaglutide may cause decreased kidney function, kidney failure or worsening chronic kidney failure. If you have reduced kidney function or kidney disease, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Low blood glucose (hypoglycemia): People who use semaglutide and are also taking a sulfonylurea (e.g., glyburide, gliclazide) or insulin to control high blood sugar are more at risk of experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If you experience symptoms of hypoglycemia such as a cold sweat, nervousness or shakiness, fast heartbeat, headache, hunger, confusion, lightheadedness, weakness, and numbness or tingling of the tongue or lips, contact your doctor. Your doctor may need to adjust the dose of your medication(s).
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas): Semaglutide can cause pancreatitis. If you experience symptoms of pancreatitis such as severe and persistent abdominal pain that may move to the back with or without vomiting, contact your doctor immediately. If you have previously had pancreatitis, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.
Risk of thyroid cancer: In rare cases, people have developed thyroid cancer while using medications similar to semaglutide. People with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer or people who have multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (a disease where people have tumours in more than one gland in their body) should not use this medication. If you develop difficulty swallowing or breathing, hoarseness or notice a mass developing in your neck, contact your doctor as soon as possible.
Pregnancy: Semaglutide should not be used during pregnancy. If you become pregnant while using this medication, contact your doctor immediately. Women who may become pregnant should use effective birth control while using semaglutide and for at least 2 months after stopping the medication.
Breast-feeding: It is not known if semaglutide passes into breast milk. If you are a breast-feeding mother and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.
Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.
What other drugs could interact with this medication?
There may be an interaction between semaglutide and any of the following:
- acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
- androgens (e.g., testosterone)
- anti-malarial medications (e.g., hydroxychloroquine)
- antipsychotics (e.g., aripiprazole, chlorpromazine, clozapine, olanzapine, quetiapine, risperidone)
- inhaled corticosteroids (e.g., budesonide, ciclesonide, fluticasone)
- oral corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone)
- diuretics (water pills; e.g., furosemide, hydrochlorothiazide, triamterene)
- estrogens (e.g., conjugated estrogen, estradiol, ethinyl estradiol)
- HIV protease inhibitors (e.g., atazanavir, indinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir)
- monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs; e.g., moclobemide, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, tranylcypromine)
- other diabetes medications (e.g., acarbose, canagliflozin, glyburide, insulin, linagliptin, metformin, rosiglitazone)
- progestins (e.g., dienogest, levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, norethindrone)
- protein kinase inhibitors (e.g., bortezomib, ceritinib, dabrafenib, nilotinib, sunitinib)
- quinolone antibiotics (e.g., ciprofloxacin, norfloxacin, ofloxacin)
- selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs; e.g., citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline)
- sulfonamide antibiotics (‘sulfas’; e.g., sulfisoxazole, sulfamethoxazole)
If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:
- stop taking one of the medications,
- change one of the medications to another,
- change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
- leave everything as is.
An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.
Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.
All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2022. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/drug/getdrug/Ozempic