The prescription drug Ozempic (semaglutide) has rapidly risen in popularity over the past few years, with many celebrities and social media influencers publicly shedding pounds with its help.

It would be fair to say that Ozempic has gone viral.

As a matter of fact, demand for the drug became so great in 2022 that it caused a worldwide shortage of Ozempic (and other injectable semaglutide medications), which is only now beginning to resolve.

While Wegovy, a drug almost identical to Ozempic except for its higher dosage, has been approved by the food and drug administration (FDA) for chronic weight loss management in people who are obese or overweight with at least one weight-related medical condition, Ozempic is technically only approved as a treatment for adults with Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease. But that hasn’t stopped people around the globe from procuring off-label Ozempic prescriptions to aid with weight loss.

We hear a lot about the weight loss benefits of injectable semaglutide drugs, but the truth is that—like any prescription drugs—they’re powerful medications intended for the treatment of specific conditions. Not everyone is a good candidate for Ozempic injections, and there are many possible side effects and risks associated with the drug.

One of the lesser discussed side effects that can occur while taking Ozempic is known as ‘Ozempic Face’. While not dangerous or medically significant, this side effect can be unsightly and distressing for people who experience it.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at ‘Ozempic Face’ as well as provide an overview of Ozempic itself. If you’re considering taking Ozempic or currently have a prescription for it and are concerned about ‘Ozempic Face’, recommends speaking directly with your doctor. None of the information in this post constitutes medical advice and is only intended for educational purposes.


Ozempic is a prescription Type 2 Diabetes medication that is sometimes also prescribed off-label for weight loss purposes. The term ‘Ozempic Face’ has been coined to describe a side effect of the drug experienced by some patients after rapid weight loss. It refers to a gaunt or wrinkled facial appearance and can be treated with cosmetic injections or plastic surgery. Some patients have also had success with other, less invasive approaches.

What Is Ozempic?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is an injectable, name-brand, prescription medication that is classed as a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. It’s manufactured by Novo Nordisk and is FDA-approved to treat Type 2 Diabetes while also reducing the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.

Ozempic comes in single-patient-use pens and is self-injected once weekly under the skin of the thigh, upper arm, or abdomen. It must be refrigerated before being opened and comes in the following doses: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.

Patients typically take Ozempic for a month at its lowest dose before gradually increasing to the next dose for a month. A doctor will monitor the patient’s response to the drug and determine when the optimal therapeutic maintenance dosage has been reached. Because Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition, Ozempic is a drug that most people expect to take for the long term (possibly for the rest of their lives).

What Is Ozempic Used For?

Ozempic is used for the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes and related cardiovascular disease. It mimics an incretin hormone produced in the human gut in response to food and thereby stimulates the pancreatic release of insulin, inhibits the production of glucose in the liver, and ultimately lowers and regulates blood sugar levels.

In addition, Ozempic slows down gastric emptying and the digestive process as a whole. It decreases appetite, increases feelings of satiety (fullness), and curbs cravings. Not surprisingly, it’s often associated with substantial weight loss in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

Wegovy (semaglutide in a 2.4 mg dosage) is indicated for weight loss in obese patients and those who are medically overweight with at least one weight-related condition (such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease). While Ozempic is not indicated for weight loss, it’s still sometimes prescribed off-label for that purpose.

What ‘Ozempic Face’ Is & Why It Happens

Ozempic Face‘ (Not to be confused with “Ozempic Body“) refers to a gaunt, wrinkled, saggy, or hollow facial appearance that can occur in some patients taking Ozempic or Wegovy. It’s attributed to rapid weight loss and is similar to what many patients who lose weight post-bariatric surgery experience.

Technically, ‘Ozempic Face’ isn’t limited to the face. When people lose weight, their skin can sag and lose elasticity all over the body. But facial shrinkage is often particularly pronounced. Facial fat cushions the skin, and when it rapidly vanishes, it can leave loose skin in its wake, which can be distressing.

‘Ozempic Face’ is not a medical concern and doesn’t need to be treated for health reasons. That being said, many patients do seek cosmetic treatments for it.

Other Side Effects of Ozempic

Ozempic’s most common side effects are mild and include gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation. Injection site reactions, headaches, dizziness, and tiredness can also be associated with starting the drug but often resolve over time.

More serious side effects of Ozempic can include pancreatitis, kidney issues, gallbladder issues, vision problems, critically low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), and severe allergic reactions.

Ozempic is associated with an increased risk of thyroid cancer and shouldn’t be taken by patients with a personal or family history of thyroid tumors or cancer. It should also not be taken by anyone pregnant or breastfeeding.

See also: Foods to avoid while on Ozempic

Treating ‘Ozempic Face’

Many patients who experience ‘Ozempic Face’ choose to discontinue the use of the drug (or reduce its dosage). Because weight gain usually recurs upon stopping the drug, fat usually returns quite quickly and fills out the face once again.

Patients who choose to continue taking Ozempic have a few options for addressing sagging facial skin. In some cases, staying better hydrated and increasing protein in the diet can be beneficial. Supplements that include collagen can also help, as can healthy lifestyle changes, such as increased exercise.

Ultimately, though, patients who are really bothered by the so-called ‘Ozempic Face’ usually have one of two options—using dermatological fillers or getting a facelift. Both of these options involve substantial costs but can restore facial volume in the long term while allowing Ozempic treatment to continue supporting weight management.


To conclude, Ozempic is a prescription Type 2 Diabetes medication with the active ingredient semaglutide. Because it reduces appetite and slows down digestion, it’s associated with substantial weight loss in many patients and is sometimes even prescribed off-label for this purpose.

One of the side effects associated with Ozempic has been coined ‘Ozempic Face’. It refers to the saggy, wrinkly, or hollow facial appearance that can occur as a result of rapid weight loss and the disappearance of facial fat. ‘Ozempic Face’ isn’t dangerous and doesn’t need to be treated from a medical perspective, but many patients find it distressing. It can be cosmetically treated with facial fillers or a facelift procedure. Lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, and staying hydrated can also help.

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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.