If you’ve recently been prescribed Ozempic, the popular Type 2 Diabetes drug also known for its weight loss potential, you may have a lot of questions about how to take it properly and what to expect in the first weeks and months. In this post, we’ll provide an overview of Ozempic, some important considerations to bear in mind when you start taking it, and information about the best time of day to inject it.
Bisonpharmacy.com provides accurate, well-researched information, but the information on this site does not constitute or replace medical advice. For specific questions about taking Ozempic, speak directly with your doctor or healthcare provider.
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a Type 2 Diabetes drug that lowers blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of major cardiovascular events, and is associated with weight loss (it’s sometimes prescribed off-label for this purpose). While it’s important to inject the drug once weekly on the same day, the time of day it’s injected is not medically significant. That being said, many patients find that they prefer injecting Ozempic at certain times of day for a wide variety of different reasons.
What Is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a name-brand prescription drug manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It’s FDA-approved for lowering and regulating blood sugar levels in adults with Type 2 Diabetes; it’s also approved for lowering the risk of major cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks and strokes) in adults with Type 2 Diabetes and diagnosed cardiovascular disease.
Although weight loss is often a side effect of Ozempic in adults with Type 2 Diabetes, the drug is not approved for weight loss. That being said, Ozempic has gained popularity as a weight loss drug over the past few years, and some healthcare professionals do prescribe it off-label for this purpose. In addition, Wegovy (Ozempic’s sister drug) has been approved for weight loss in obese and overweight populations, including teens over the age of 12. Wegovy is essentially identical to Ozempic, except that it’s administered at a higher dosage (2.4 mg).
Ozempic’s active ingredient, semaglutide, is known as a GLP-1 receptor agonist. GLP-1 receptor agonists mimic a hormone produced in the human gut in response to the presence of food. This hormone, known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), increases insulin secretion in the pancreas and inhibits glucose production in the liver—thus lowering blood sugar levels. Semaglutide, which has a much longer half-life than the natural hormone, binds to GLP-1 receptors in the body and effectively elicits the same results, but over an extended period of time. Ozempic also decreases appetite and slows down gastric emptying (the rate at which food exits the stomach) and the digestive process as a whole.
Ozempic is a once-weekly injectable medication that comes in pre-filled, single-patient-use pens. It’s administered via subcutaneous injection into the thigh, abdomen, or upper arm on the same regularly scheduled day each week. Ozempic must be refrigerated until opened and should always be stored out of the reach of children. Ozempic pens must be disposed of properly in a sharps disposal container.
What Doses Are Available for Ozempic?
Ozempic comes in multi-dose pens, each of which is meant to last at least one month (containing at least four doses). It’s available in four different dosages as follows:
- Red-label pen: 0.25 mg (starting dose) or 0.5 mg (maintenance dose)
- Blue-label pen: 1 mg (maintenance dose)
- Yellow-label pen: 2 mg (maintenance dose)
All patients start Ozempic at a 0.25 mg starting dose for four weeks before increasing to the 0.5 mg dose. After four weeks at the 0.5 mg dose, a doctor will evaluate whether or not further dose increases are warranted. If so, dose increases will take place every four weeks under medical supervision up to the maximum dose of 2 mg per week.
Slowly increasing the dosage of Ozempic allows the body time to adjust to the new medication and can reduce unpleasant side effects.
What Is the Best Time of Day To Take Ozempic?
Medically speaking, it doesn’t really matter what time of day you take Ozempic. Ozempic should be injected once per week on the same day of the week, but Novo Nordisk clearly states that the drug can be taken “at any time of day, with or without meals.”
That being said, you may find that a specific time of day is best for you personally. Even though you can technically take Ozempic at any time of day, most patients find that creating a consistent routine is helpful.
Schedule your Ozempic injection to suit your timetable and rhythms. Make sure it’s at a time when you’re home, alert, comfortable, and don’t have any conflicting commitments. Writing injections on your calendar is a good idea, as is programming an ongoing reminder into your smartphone.
As your body adjusts to Ozempic, you may find that it’s easiest for you to inject with or without food or at a specific time of day. You can always modify your injection schedule accordingly.
You can generally change the day of the week you inject Ozempic as long as you leave at least two days between shots. But it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor before making any such change to your medication routine.
Things To Consider When Taking Ozempic
Taking Ozempic With Food
Because Ozempic doesn’t get absorbed in the digestive system, it’s medically irrelevant whether you take it at mealtime or on an empty stomach.
That being said, Ozempic does slow down gastric emptying and the digestive process and is often associated with gastrointestinal side effects. In addition, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet while taking Ozempic and be aware of foods that may impact blood sugar levels. So, while taking Ozempic with or without food is not typically an issue, paying close attention to your diet while taking Ozempic is critical.
Novo Nordisk doesn’t stipulate any foods or beverages that must be avoided across the board with Ozempic, but it’s advisable to limit fried foods, foods with added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and high-glycemic fruits and vegetables. Alcohol intake should also be carefully controlled, according to the advice of a medical professional.
Ozempic Interactions With Other Medications
Before you begin taking Ozempic, it’s vital to tell your doctor about any other medications—including vitamins, herbs, or natural supplements—you’re currently taking. Types of drugs that may interact with Ozempic include insulin, certain types of oral Type 2 Diabetes medications (such as sulfonylureas and glinides), and oral medications in general (mainly because Ozempic is associated with slowed gastric emptying).
The list above is not exhaustive, and the potential risks of taking Ozempic with other medications or supplements should always be evaluated by a medical professional. Consult your doctor before starting any new medications or supplements.
Missing Doses of Ozempic
In the event that you miss a dose of Ozempic, you should take it as soon as you realize that there are more than two days remaining before your next scheduled dose (in other words, fewer than 5 days have passed since your missed dose).
If you miss more than one dose of Ozempic, you should consult with your doctor to determine whether or not a dose adjustment may be warranted. Ozempic should be taken as consistently as possible; if you’re frequently missing doses, it’s crucial to find ways to regulate your intake of the drug.
Storing Ozempic Properly
Before its first use, Ozempic must be refrigerated without exposure to light. After first use, Ozempic can continue to be refrigerated or may be stored at room temperature.
Ozempic must be safely discarded a maximum of 56 days after being opened, even if it hasn’t yet reached its expiry date. Ozempic must always be discarded if it has passed its expiration date—even if it hasn’t been opened.
Ozempic should never be frozen or exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C). Always inspect Ozempic before injection to ensure it’s clear and free of any sediment. Always keep Ozempic out of reach of children.
Experiencing Ozempic Side Effects
As with all prescription drugs, patients taking Ozempic may experience side effects. Many of Ozempic’s side effects are mild and may resolve over time as your body adjusts to the drug. Rarely, side effects may be serious or severe enough to warrant discontinuation of the drug.
Common mild side effects of Ozempic include:
- Gastrointestinal issues such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and constipation
- Injection site reactions
Serious side effects of Ozempic can include:
- Severe allergic reactions
- Severe hypoglycemia
- Kidney failure
- Vision changes
- Gallbladder problems
- The formation of thyroid tumors
You should consult with your doctor before taking Ozempic if you have a personal or family history of any of the following:
- Thyroid cancer (especially Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2)
- Kidney or gallbladder issues
Ozempic is not approved for use if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant. It should be used with caution in patients who have a history of alcoholism or severe hypoglycemia.
Saving Money on Your Ozempic Prescription
Ozempic is a popular prescription drug for treating Type 2 Diabetes, related cardiovascular disease, and obesity (off-label). But its price tag is high.
In the U.S., the average price of a month’s supply of Ozempic is upwards of $800—and it can be as high as $1,300 or more, depending on the circumstances.
In some cases, insurance coverage can help to make Ozempic more affordable. But if you don’t have insurance, or if your insurance plan doesn’t cover Ozempic (which is especially common if you have an off-label Ozempic prescription), the monthly cost associated with the drug can be a huge financial burden.
If you’re looking to save money on your Ozempic prescription, start by exploring your insurance coverage for the drug. After that, you can look into Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic Savings Card, seek out Ozempic coupons, and compare prices between pharmacies (which can often have a big impact). You might also consider finding out if you can qualify for a patient assistance program or speaking to your doctor about other similar medications with lower price tags.
Another viable option for obtaining Ozempic at a lower price is to order it online from Canada. Canadian Ozempic is well-regulated, high-quality, and can often be purchased for as little as one-third of the price you’d pay in the U.S.
Looking To Order Ozempic Today?
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