- Ozempic is a name-brand prescription medication FDA-approved for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease in adults. It’s sometimes prescribed off-label for long-term weight management.
- As with any prescription medication, it’s possible to overdose on Ozempic. If you’ve injected too much Ozempic, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
- An overdose of Ozempic could result in severe hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), gastrointestinal issues, or an increased risk of thyroid tumors, pancreatitis, gallbladder problems, kidney failure, or Diabetic Retinopathy.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a name-brand drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk and approved for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in adults. In adults with Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease, it can also help reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events.
Because semaglutide has been associated with weight loss when complemented with a healthy diet and regular exercise, Ozempic is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss and long-term weight management. Wegovy, another brand name drug also produced by Novo Nordisk, has been approved as a weight loss drug. The only difference between Ozempic and Wegovy is the dosage of semaglutide contained in each medication (Ozempic’s semaglutide dosage ranges from 0.25 mg to 2 mg, while Wegovy comes in 2.4 mg doses of semaglutide).
Ozempic belongs to the class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. It imitates an incretin hormone produced in the gut, which stimulates pancreatic insulin secretion, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and slows down the digestive process as a whole. Ozempic is not the same as insulin but may be used in conjunction with insulin or other Diabetes medications.
Ozempic comes in pre-filled, single-patient-use injectable pens and is injected once weekly subcutaneously into the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. Your healthcare provider will start you at the lowest dose of Ozempic (0.25 mg) and slowly increase your dosage over a series of weeks until your blood sugar levels are effectively controlled. Ozempic is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg doses.
Common Ozempic Side Effects
The most common side effects of Ozempic are mild and often clear up spontaneously as your body adjusts to the medication. They include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and abdominal pain. Other mild side effects may include headaches, dizziness, mild low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and more.
Though rare, there are also some potentially serious side effects of Ozempic. These can include:
- Severe allergic reaction
- Vision changes
- Gallbladder, kidney, or pancreas issues
- Severe low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)—symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shaking, sweating, general weakness, sleepiness, hunger, blurred vision, confusion, and possible seizures.
See also: Foods you should eat while taking Ozempic
Can You Overdose on Ozempic?
Yes. As with any prescription drug, it’s possible to overdose on Ozempic. To avoid this scenario, it’s best to take Ozempic at the same time on the same day each week and carefully follow your doctor’s dosing instructions.
Worth noting is that making up for a missed dose of Ozempic is not considered overdosing. If you miss a dose of Ozempic, the manufacturer recommends injecting the missed dose anytime up until five days have passed. Once five days have passed, the best practice is to simply wait the extra 48 hours and then inject your next regularly scheduled dose.
Although you should not make a regular habit of missing Ozempic doses, this information demonstrates that injecting Ozempic twice in the same week (though no less than 48 hours apart) is not considered dangerous to your health on an occasional basis.
If you’ve been injecting a higher weekly dosage of Ozempic than you’ve been prescribed or have injected multiple doses of Ozempic in a week, especially closer than 48 hours apart, you should seek medical advice and monitor yourself closely for any serious reactions (see below). If you’re concerned, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
See also: Ozempic and Alcohol: Is it Safe?
Ozempic Overdose Signs & Symptoms
The most common signs and symptoms of an Ozempic overdose are generally just intensified versions of Ozempic’s mild side effects. For example, you may experience increased gastrointestinal issues, headaches, or dizziness.
As far as more serious side effects go, severe hypoglycemia is a major one to watch out for. While Ozempic is only rarely associated with hypoglycemia (and usually only in combination with other Diabetes medications), increased levels of Ozempic in your body can cause blood sugar imbalances. Check your blood sugar at regular intervals and monitor yourself closely for any concerning symptoms of low blood sugar if you have taken more Ozempic than prescribed. Seek medical attention if necessary.
You may also be at increased risk of other serious side effects when you inject more Ozempic than you’ve been prescribed. Watch closely for any allergic reactions, vision changes, or symptoms related to your pancreas, kidneys, or gallbladder.
Lastly, Ozempic does come with a boxed warning issued by the FDA. This is because it has a potentially increased risk of causing thyroid tumors or medullary thyroid carcinoma. In general, Ozempic is not prescribed for patients with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MENS 2), but even patients without a propensity to these conditions could be at risk of developing them when taking Ozempic, especially at higher-than-prescribed doses.
Contact your healthcare provider or seek emergency medical attention if you have any concerns about a possible Ozempic overdose.
Ozempic Overdose Treatments
In general, there’s no specific course of treatment for an Ozempic overdose. Mild and severe reactions alike should be treated at home or by a medical professional on the basis of the symptoms being exhibited. Every effort should be made to ensure that overdosing doesn’t occur again in the future.
Are There Long-Term Effects of Overdosing on Ozempic?
Overdosing on Ozempic in the long term is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. The more Ozempic you inject, the more you put yourself at risk of serious side effects. The most severe outcomes of taking too much Ozempic in the long term could include the development of thyroid tumors, vision issues, or other chronic and irreversible conditions like kidney disease.
To conclude, Ozempic is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease in adults. While its side effects are mostly mild and related to gastrointestinal discomfort, it’s associated with some serious side effects as well, such as pancreatitis, kidney problems, Diabetic Retinopathy, and gallbladder issues. Ozempic also comes with a boxed warning from the FDA for the potential development of thyroid tumors. It isn’t recommended for patients with a personal or family history of certain types of thyroid cancer.
Ozempic should always be taken as prescribed. In the case of a missed dose, more than one dose may be taken within one week, but not closer than 48 hours apart. This isn’t considered an overdose.
Overdosing on Ozempic may result in increased side effects (both mild and serious) and can often trigger severe hypoglycemia. Over the long term, it may result in an increased risk of serious conditions, including thyroid cancer.
It’s important to take Ozempic as prescribed by your doctor and to seek medical advice if you have accidentally taken too much. It’s never recommended to take more Ozempic than your healthcare provider has recommended.