If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Diabetes or are just switching over from oral to injectable medication, you’re not alone in feeling some apprehension about regularly sticking needles into your own body. Learning to self-inject medicine can feel like an intimidating undertaking.
The good news is that thousands of people are learning to manage their own injections at any given moment in time, and injectable medications are designed to be easily administered with as little chance for error or discomfort as possible. In particular, Novo Nordisk’s Ozempic pens are extremely straightforward and user-friendly. They even come with the shortest and thinnest needles available—only 0.16 inches long (4 mm) and as thin as just two human hairs!
If you’ve been written a prescription for Ozempic, keep in mind that the information in this article is not meant to replace the Instructions for Use that come in the Ozempic package, nor the advice of a health care professional. Be sure to speak with a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist before injecting Ozempic for the first time and to follow up with any subsequent questions or concerns. Also, consistently refer to the product package insert for instructions and check for any updates or new information each time you open a new Ozempic pen.
The information below is meant to provide an overview of how to inject Ozempic but should always be supplementary to information from the manufacturer and advice from a trusted medical professional.
What’s the Best Injection Site for Ozempic?
The best injection sites for Ozempic are the stomach (abdomen), thigh, or upper arm. None of these sites is medically superior to the others, but you may personally prefer one over the rest. Recommended best practice is to rotate injection sites each week. If you do opt to use the same site more than once in a row, use a different part of the site to reduce irritation in the area as a whole.
Ozempic is injected subcutaneously (under the skin) and should never be injected intramuscularly or intravenously.
While it’s possible to inject Ozempic and insulin at the same site, the two medications should never be mixed and should be injected in different areas of the site. Don’t use the same needle to inject Ozempic and insulin.
How Do You Administer an Ozempic Injection?
The information below constitutes a quick guide on self-injecting Ozempic. Your primary sources of information should be your healthcare provider and the manufacturer’s instructions.
Prepare Your Hands
Before even opening your Ozempic, scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. Dry your hands thoroughly.
Prepare Your Pen
Before attaching the needle, hold your Ozempic pen up to the light to ensure the liquid inside is clear, uncloudy, and free of particles. If you have any doubts, open a new pen.
Next, attach a new needle (this must be done every single time you inject Ozempic). Remove both the inner and outer needle caps.
Prepare Your Dose
Use the dose counter dial to select the correct dose your doctor has prescribed. Do this by lining up the desired dose with the dose pointer.
If it’s your first time opening a new pen, you’ll need to hold your pen with the needle pointing up and check the Ozempic flow. Do this by dialing the dose selector to the flow check symbol, pressing and holding the dose button until it reaches 0, and making sure you can see a drop at the end of the needle. If you don’t see a drop after repeating this process 6 times, use a new pen or contact Novo Nordisk. For more information read our Ozempic dosage guide.
Inject Your Dose
Before inserting the needle, clean the injection site with alcohol and let it dry.
Angling the pen so you can see the dose counter, insert the needle into your skin and press the dose button until it reaches 0 mg.
Keeping the dose button pressed, slowly count to 6 and then gently remove the needle from your skin.
If there’s any bleeding at the injection site, gently press on it with gauze or cotton. Do not rub.
Dispose of Your Needle
Remove the needle from your Ozempic pen and dispose of it without trying to put either of the caps back on. Needles should always be disposed of in an FDA-approved sharps disposal container.
Store Your Pen
Put your Ozempic pen cap back on and store the medication away from light until your next injection. It may be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Potential Injection Site Reactions
While very rare, reactions at injection sites can occur. If you experience irritation, redness, or swelling, consult your healthcare provider for further advice.
Other Side Effects
Side effects may occur when starting Ozempic but should decrease as your body adjusts to increased dosages. Common side effects include: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain.
Discuss any concerns with your primary healthcare provider.
Though rare, serious side effects are possible with Ozempic. Major warning signs to watch for include pancreatitis, vision problems (diabetic retinopathy), reduced renal function, and severe allergic reactions such as swelling of the tongue, lips, or face, fainting, or a racing pulse. In addition, it’s advised not to use Ozempic if you or anyone in your family has ever had Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Syndrome Type 2 (MEN 2).
To sum up, learning to self-inject medication may feel daunting at first. But, with a patient-friendly product like Ozempic, the process should be quick and simple.
As always, contact your primary health provider with further questions or concerns.