Ozempic®: Uses, Side Effects, and More

  • Ozempic® (also known by its generic name semaglutide) is a brand-name prescription medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes by helping manage blood sugar levels when combined with diet and exercise.
  • The medication is administered through a weekly injection under the skin, which a healthcare provider can teach a patient to self-administer using a pen injector.
  • It has also been approved for reducing the risk of major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks, strokes, or death, in adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease.
  • Common side effects of Ozempic® include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation.

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Ozempic® Medication

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Ozempic® is available in the form of a solution that is packaged in disposable pens that are prefilled with the medication
Ozempic® is a prescription medication that is used to treat type 2 diabetes in adults. It is given as a once-weekly injection and has been approved by the FDA for use in controlling blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic® has also been shown to reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes and heart and blood vessel disease. While clinical trials have demonstrated that the active ingredient in Ozempic® (semaglutide) may be useful for weight loss, Ozempic® is currently not an FDA-approved weight loss drug.

Ozempic® belongs to a class of medications known as incretin mimetics and acts as a glucagon-like peptide (GLP-1) receptor agonist, activating the GLP-1 receptor which is the target for native GLP-1. GLP-1 is a hormone that has multiple effects on glucose, mediated by GLP-1 receptors. Ozempic® should be used in combination with a diet and exercise program and is not intended to replace insulin for people with diabetes who require insulin treatment. It is not suitable for the treatment of type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis (a serious condition that may occur if high blood sugar is not treated promptly).

What does Ozempic® cost with Sunrise?

Our subscription fee is for access to online medical consultations, insurance advocacy, and other plan benefits. If appropriate, a licensed physician will prescribe a prescription treatment as part of your personalized treatment plan. If you have insurance, your co-pay will not be more than $25. Sunrise will give you an itemized receipt for out-of-network reimbursement. The medications prescribed are are HSA and FSA-eligible.

How Sunrise works with Ozempic®

Our board-certified physician will review your information and speak with you to create a customized treatment plan. Based on your medical history, our physician may prescribe medications that specifically address your biological needs while also reducing your out-of-pocket expenses. We commonly prescribe 7 or more FDA-approved weight loss medications, including Wegovy®, Ozempic®, Mounjaro™, and Contrave™. You can pick up your medications at a local pharmacy or have them delivered directly to your home.

What is Ozempic’s dosage?

The recommended starting dose of Ozempic® is a 0.25 mg injection once weekly for 4 weeks. This is only a starting dose and is not intended for long-term use in controlling blood sugar levels. After 4 weeks, the dosage is increased to 0.5 mg once weekly for at least 4 weeks. If additional blood sugar control is needed after 4 weeks, your doctor may decide to increase the dosage.

It is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions for using Ozempic® and to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels to ensure that the medication is working effectively. The dosage of Ozempic® that is appropriate for you will depend on your individual circumstances, such as your blood sugar levels and other factors. It is important to discuss your treatment plan with your healthcare provider and follow their instructions for using the medication.

How is Ozempic® taken?

Ozempic® is available in the form of a solution that is packaged in disposable pens that are prefilled with the medication. You may be trained to self-administer the injections, which can be given under the skin in the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm. It is important to rotate the injection site and use a new needle for each injection to avoid infections. Here are some tips to help you feel comfortable and confident while managing your injections:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water
  • Gather all necessary supplies, including the Ozempic® pen
  • Use a new needle each time you use the pen
  • Check the pen to make sure the medication is clear and colorless
  • Verify the correct dose on the pen before giving the injection
  • Keep track of your doses and ensure you have a full dose remaining after each injection
  • Do not share your pen with others
  • Record the expiration date of your Ozempic® pens (they expire 56 days after opening)

For more detailed instructions on how to use Ozempic®, you can refer to the manufacturer's website or ask your doctor or pharmacist to show you. It is important to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider to ensure the safe and effective use of this medication.

What are Ozempic’s side effects?

Like all medications, Ozempic® can cause side effects. Some people may experience no side effects, while others may experience one or more side effects. The most common side effects of Ozempic® include:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting

In addition, Ozempic may cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) in some people. Symptoms of low blood sugar may include:

  • Hunger
  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat

It is important to monitor your blood sugar levels regularly and to inform your healthcare provider if you experience any of these symptoms. They may need to adjust your medication or make other changes to your treatment plan.

Other potential side effects of Ozempic® include allergic reactions, pancreatitis, kidney problems, and increased risk of pancreatic cancer. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking Ozempic®, it is important to contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation and guidance.

How does Ozempic® work?

Ozempic® is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists, also known as incretin mimetics. These drugs work by activating GLP-1 receptors, which stimulate the pancreas to release insulin when needed. This helps to lower blood sugar levels and A1C (a measure of long-term blood sugar control). Ozempic® also helps to reduce the amount of sugar released by the liver and slows down the movement of food through the stomach, which can help to prevent sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.

What should be considered before taking Ozempic®?

Before taking Ozempic®, it is important to discuss your medical history and current medications with your healthcare provider. There are certain medical conditions and other factors that may affect the use of Ozempic® or increase the risk of side effects.

For example, you should inform your healthcare provider if you:

  • Have or have had pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Have or have had kidney problems
  • Have or have had a history of pancreatic cancer
    Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding
  • Are taking any other medications, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements

Your healthcare provider will evaluate your individual situation and determine if Ozempic® is the appropriate treatment for you. It is important to follow your healthcare provider's instructions for using the medication and to report any unusual symptoms or side effects to them.

How do I store Ozempic®?

When you receive your Ozempic pen from the pharmacy, it should be stored in the refrigerator (between 36°F to 46°F / 2°C to 8°C) until you are ready to use it for the first time. After the first use, you can store the pen at room temperature (between 59ºF to 86ºF / 15ºC to 30ºC) for up to 56 days, or you can keep it in the refrigerator for the same amount of time. It is important not to freeze the pen or use it if it has been frozen. Keep the cap on the pen when it is not in use.

The Ozempic®º pen you are using should be discarded after 56 days, regardless of whether it has been stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, and even if it still contains some of the medication. Be sure to mark the disposal date on your calendar to help you keep track.

It is important to store Ozempic® pens away from heat and light, and to avoid storing them directly next to the cooling element in the refrigerator. Keep Ozempic® out of reach of children and do not leave it in a car where it may become too hot. Follow the storage instructions provided by your healthcare provider or the manufacturer to ensure the safe and effective use of this medication.