If you’ve recently been prescribed Ozempic, you likely have a lot of questions about this brand-name drug. Among them may be: Can I enjoy alcoholic beverages while taking Ozempic?
The simplest answer is yes. But a lot depends on you—your medical history, your alcohol consumption habits, how your body tolerates Ozempic and alcohol, and a whole host of other factors.
Before consuming alcohol while taking Ozempic, it’s vital to understand how Ozempic works in your body and the ways in which alcohol may impact its efficacy. In this post, we’ll provide a detailed overview of the relationship between Ozempic and alcohol with the intent of helping you make informed health decisions.
As always, bear in mind that, while accurate and well-researched, the information provided by Bisonpharmacy.com is not intended to constitute medical advice. For specific questions and concerns, it’s always important to speak directly with your healthcare provider.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a brand-name prescription drug that’s approved by the FDA for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in adults as well as related cardiovascular disease. It’s classed as a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist, meaning that it imitates a natural gut hormone and binds to GLP-1 receptors in the body. Ozempic helps regulate blood sugar levels by stimulating the natural pancreatic release of insulin, preventing the liver from releasing excess sugar into the bloodstream, and slowing down digestion as a whole.
In general, Ozempic is injected subcutaneously once per week. It comes in pre-filled, single patient-use pens and is injected into the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen. Patients typically begin taking Ozempic at a low dosage and increase to a therapeutic dosage over a period of weeks or months to increase the body’s tolerance to the medication and reduce side effects. The optimal dosage will be determined by your doctor.
Like any prescription medication, Ozempic does come with the risk of side effects. The most common side effects are mild and include gastrointestinal issues, headaches, and dizziness. More serious side effects can include severe allergic reactions, pancreatitis, vision problems, kidney problems, and more. Ozempic is also associated with an increased risk of the development of thyroid tumors and thyroid cancer.
Ozempic and Alcohol
The FDA has not produced any specific disclaimers or warnings about the consumption of alcohol while taking Ozempic. In fact, many patients who take Ozempic do safely enjoy alcoholic drinks.
That being said, just because there are no direct negative interactions between Ozempic and alcohol does not mean that alcohol consumption is safe for every patient under all circumstances. In fact, there are many circumstances under which Ozempic and alcohol should not be mixed. A lot depends on the medical and personal history of the patient in question as well as the type, quantity, and frequency of the alcohol being consumed.
In general, patients who are having good success regulating their blood sugar levels with Ozempic are usually able to safely consume alcohol in moderation. But in order to gain a better understanding of what that really means, let’s take a closer look at how alcohol impacts blood sugar levels.
Alcohol and Blood Sugar Levels
The main purpose of Ozempic is to lower and regulate blood sugar levels. Alcohol also impacts blood sugar levels. Immediately, you can see that there’s the potential for issues.
When you consume alcohol, you’ll experience an initial spike in blood sugar while your body processes the calories in the alcohol you’ve consumed, but soon after that, the alcohol will begin to change your pancreas’s ability to function, leading to an increase in insulin production. This, in turn, will inhibit your liver’s normal ability to release sugar.
In other words: Alcohol consumption leads to low blood sugar levels in the short term (especially in patients with Diabetes). Ozempic also lowers blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can be dangerous or even life-threatening and is one of the main risks of Type 2 Diabetes.
Over the long term, chronic alcohol consumption can actually lead to high blood sugar levels, which can also negatively impact your health and the efficacy of Ozempic in your body.
Things To Consider Before Mixing Alcohol and Ozempic
Now that you understand a little more about the impacts of alcohol on blood sugar levels, here are some other considerations to keep in mind before mixing Ozempic and alcohol:
- Many Type 2 Diabetes patients take insulin alongside Ozempic. If you take insulin, alcohol consumption can quickly lead to dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia). Always consider all the medications you’re on and the conditions they’re treating when making decisions about consuming alcohol.
- The symptoms of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and intoxication from alcohol (being drunk) can both involve shakiness, slurred speech, confusion, and more. When consuming alcohol while on Ozempic, it’s important to monitor your blood sugar levels carefully so that you, and those around you, can respond appropriately to any symptoms you may exhibit.
- Alcohol consumption is associated with high blood pressure, liver problems, and many other serious conditions that people with Type 2 Diabetes may already be at increased risk for. If you suffer from Type 2 Diabetes, never drink alcohol on an empty stomach and carefully moderate your alcohol intake.
- Many of Ozempic’s side effects can be exacerbated by alcohol consumption. For instance, gastrointestinal issues, liver issues, hypoglycemia, and more.
How Much Alcohol Can You Consume While Taking Ozempic?
There is no defined amount of alcohol that’s safe to consume while taking Ozempic. That being said, it’s always important to consult with your doctor and follow their recommendations.
In general, excessive alcohol consumption is never healthy, and when you have a Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis, you have to be even more careful. If you do choose to consume alcohol while taking Ozempic, bear in mind that Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults limit their alcohol intake to 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less per day for women. One drink is defined as 12 oz of regular beer, 8-9 oz of malt liquor, 5 oz of table wine, or a 1.5 oz shot of distilled spirits.
If you believe that drinking alcohol may cause you to forget to take medication, including Ozempic, be sure to set a reminder for yourself so as not to put your health in jeopardy.
Can Alcohol Cause Diabetes?
No, alcohol doesn’t directly cause Diabetes, but it can be a factor in the development of Type 2 Diabetes. Alcohol can reduce insulin sensitivity and increase the risk of severe hypoglycemia for Diabetics. Diabetes can also be a side effect of chronic pancreatitis, which can be caused by excessive alcohol use.
Ozempic, Weight Loss, and Alcohol Consumption
Although Ozempic is not FDA-approved for weight loss, it’s often prescribed off-label for this purpose. (Wegovy, which contains semaglutide, the same active ingredient as Ozempic but at a higher dosage, was FDA-approved as a weight loss drug in 2021.) If your doctor has prescribed you Ozempic for weight loss, you’ll have to carefully weigh the benefits and risks of consuming alcohol while on it. Here are some relevant considerations to keep in mind:
- Alcohol is associated with impulsive behavior and increased appetite. If you’re trying to lose weight, this could be a deadly combination that leads to making poor diet choices and overeating.
- If you choose to drink alcohol while taking Ozempic for weight loss, try to reduce your caloric intake by avoiding sweet drinks or mixers such as juices or sodas.
- Remember that alcohol increases the likelihood of health risks that are also increased by being overweight. These include liver disease, heart disease, strokes, cancer, and more.
- Heavy drinking is associated with obesity. While the occasional drink is not usually a problem, you definitely don’t want to overdo it.
Possible Risks of Mixing Ozempic and Alcohol
Below, let’s take a closer look at some of the possible risks associated with mixing Ozempic and alcohol. While it’s unlikely that you’ll experience all of these conditions (and may experience none of them), it’s important to understand what they entail.
As we’ve already seen, excessive alcohol intake in combination with Ozempic can increase the risk of severe hypoglycemia. Watch for symptoms such as shakiness, dizziness, confusion, weakness, and nausea.
Pancreatitis can be a rare but serious side effect of Ozempic and is also exacerbated by alcohol consumption. Stay aware of any abdominal pain and consult your doctor if necessary.
The liver is responsible for metabolizing carbohydrates and producing glucose in the body. For this reason, it’s one of the key organs in blood sugar regulation. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage the liver and lead to dysregulated blood sugar levels, among other serious outcomes.
Both Ozempic and alcohol use can cause gastrointestinal problems. If you’re experiencing nausea, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation, or abdominal pain, consider holding off on drinking alcohol—at least until your body regulates.
Because alcohol is a diuretic, it can lead to dehydration. While taking Ozempic, be extra careful to drink enough water if you choose to consume alcohol. Two non-alcoholic drinks for every alcoholic drink is a good rule of thumb.
As mentioned earlier, alcohol consumption comes with an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, liver disease, and many other conditions. Moderation is key, especially when you have Type 2 Diabetes and/or are taking Ozempic for other reasons.
To conclude, while there are no direct contraindications to consuming alcohol while taking Ozempic, there are many reasons to exercise caution. If you do choose to consume alcohol while on Ozempic, drink in moderation and keep in mind your medical history, other medications, and your body’s overall ability to tolerate alcohol. Before consuming alcohol while taking Ozempic, it’s always best to consult with your doctor for personalized medical advice.
If you’ve been prescribed Ozempic and are looking to source it at a more affordable price, Bisonpharmacy.com can help. As a reputable Canadian prescription referral service, we ship high-quality Ozempic to Americans throughout the U.S. Visit our website or contact us directly for more information!
About the Author
Ida Edlweiss Gumpal is a licensed Pharmacist and medical writer. She took her internships at Mercury Drug Corporation, Inc., a Hospital internship at De Vera Medical Center, Inc., and a Manufacturing internship at Philmed Laboratories, Inc. She has plans on attending medical school with the goal of specializing in Neurosurgery or Cardiothoracic surgery.