What Are The Side Effects Of Ozempic (Semaglutide)?

Ozempic is a newer medication used to treat type 2 diabetes that is being advertised more often. 

New medications can be exciting because they’re more effective and more convenient than older types of drugs. 

However, even newer medications come with potential side effects, both common and rare. 

You should be aware of all of the potential side effects of Ozempic if you’re considering taking it.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a brand name for the generic medication semaglutide, which the FDA approved in 2017. Ozmepic is in a class of medications called GLP-1 receptor agonists (1). 

GLP-1 receptors in your pancreas help increase insulin secretion while reducing glucagon secretion, a hormone that raises blood sugar levels. GLP-1 receptor agonists activate these receptors to help control blood sugar levels.

Ozempic is a non-insulin injectable medication for type 2 diabetes. The typical dose of Ozempic is 0.25 milligrams once weekly for four weeks, then 0.5 milligrams weekly for at least four weeks. If blood sugar targets aren’t being met with 0.5 milligrams weekly, the dose can gradually be increased to a maximum of 2 milligrams weekly.

Ozempic may promote weight loss because it helps reduce hunger and promotes fullness by slowing stomach emptying (2, 3). Delayed stomach emptying can also help promote more stable blood sugar levels.

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What is Ozempic used for?

Ozempic is FDA-approved for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Ozempic isn’t for people with type 1 diabetes, nor is it safe to use during pregnancy.

While Ozempic can cause weight loss, it isn’t approved by the FDA to be used as a weight-loss medication. However, here it is worth discussing ozempic vs wegovy. Wegovy is a different brand name for the same drug, and it was approved for weight management in 2021. Therefore, Wegovy could be an option for those without type 2 diabetes who want to lose weight.

Ozempic is typically prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes who aren’t achieving blood sugar targets. Your healthcare provider might recommend Ozempic if you’re not thriving on other diabetes medications like metformin

One of the benefits of Ozempic is that it’s a once-weekly injection, which is a major plus for those who don’t want to take daily insulin injections, who have erratic schedules or struggle with remembering to take daily medications.

Common Ozempic side effects

Like all medications, there are possible side effects from taking Ozempic. Many of the side effects are considered minor, which means that they can be uncomfortable but aren’t likely to do any damage.

Some of the most common Ozempic side effects include:

  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like upset stomach (nausea and vomiting), stomach pain, loss of appetite, heartburn, burping, gas, and bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation 
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Injection site pain
  • Low blood sugar (especially if you’re taking another diabetes medication like insulin or sulfonylureas)

You likely don’t need medical attention for minor side effects. When in doubt, contact your healthcare provider’s office if you’re experiencing unpleasant side effects and see how they advise you.

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Severe side effects/complications

While it’s rare, there are possible serious side effects from taking Ozempic. These rare side effects can be life-threatening, so you should seek medical attention right away for any of them.

Thyroid cancer

Ozempic has caused thyroid cancer in rodents. There is a chance that Ozempic may cause thyroid cancer, but it isn’t clear if taking Ozempic increases your thyroid cancer risk (4).

You shouldn’t take Ozempic if you have a history of thyroid cancer or a thyroid tumor. Additionally, you should also avoid taking Ozempic if anyone in your family has a history of medullary thyroid carcinoma, a type of thyroid cancer.

You should avoid taking Ozempic if you have Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN2). MEN2 is a rare disorder that causes tumors to form on glands that make hormones, such as the thyroid.

If you experience any of these symptoms while taking Ozempic, you should alert your healthcare provider immediately:

  • A lump in the neck, sometimes growing quickly
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Pain in the front of the neck, sometimes going up to the ears
  • Hoarseness or other voice changes that do not go away
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Trouble breathing
  • A constant cough that is not due to a cold

Pancreatitis

According to clinical trials, Ozempic may cause pancreatitis, which is a painful inflammation of your pancreas (5). You shouldn’t take Ozempic if you have a history of pancreatitis, which can damage your pancreas if you keep getting pancreatitis.

If you experience any of these symptoms of pancreatitis while taking Ozempic, you should let your healthcare provider know right away:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that radiates to your back
  • Tenderness when touching your abdomen
  • Fever
  • Rapid pulse
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Chronic (long-term) pancreatitis signs and symptoms include:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Abdominal pain that feels worse after eating
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Oily, smelly stools (steatorrhea) due to a lack of pancreatic enzymes that help break down fats

Allergic reaction

You might be allergic to Ozempic and not know it before you start taking it. If you experience symptoms of an allergic reaction when taking Ozempic, stop taking it and notify your healthcare provider immediately, and seek medical attention right away.

Some symptoms of an Ozempic drug allergy include:

  • Skin rash
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Fever
  • Swelling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy, watery eyes

Gallbladder problems

Some people taking Ozempic have reported gallbladder problems. Symptoms of gallbladder issues include:

  • Pain in your upper stomach (abdomen)
  • Fever
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Clay-colored stools

Kidney problems

According to Ozempic’s website:

“In people who have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting may cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which may cause kidney problems to get worse. It is important for you to drink fluids to help reduce your chance of dehydration.”

Diabetic retinopathy

Ozempic is associated with a higher prevalence of diabetic retinopathy than other GLP-1 receptor agonists. If you experience a change in your vision while taking Ozempic, let your healthcare provider know right away.

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How long do Ozempic side effects tend to last?

Minor Ozempic side effects will likely last a few weeks as your body gets used to the new medication. Once you’ve been taking Ozempic for a while, you’re less likely to experience those minor side effects.

More serious side effects can last longer, such as pancreatitis and thyroid cancer. These side effects can last from weeks to months or years, depending on how quickly they’re diagnosed and treated.

How to reduce the side effects of Ozempic

The best ways to reduce the side effects from taking Ozempic are taking it as prescribed, increasing the dose only as recommended by your healthcare provider, and immediately notifying your healthcare provider if you think you’re experiencing rare side effects.

Injection site pain

One of the more common side effects of injectable medications is injection site pain. To help reduce injection site pain and redness, practice proper injection techniques such as:

  • Cleaning the injection site with soap and water or alcohol
  • Rotating the injection site weekly
  • Make sure the medication is at room temperature
  • Insert the needle quickly while injecting and at a straight angle
  • Only inject Ozempic into the subcutaneous tissue, never into a muscle

Pancreatitis

Reduce your risk of pancreatitis by:

  • Avoiding alcohol abuse
  • Not smoking

Conclusion

Ozempic can cause minor side effects, which most commonly include gastrointestinal upset and injection site pain. More rarely, Ozempic might cause thyroid cancer, pancreatitis, and an allergic reaction.

If you think you’re experiencing a serious side effect from taking Ozempic, you should seek emergency medical attention.

As with any medication, you should weigh the potential pros and cons with a trusted healthcare provider to determine if it’s right for you. You could also consider some natural ozempic alternatives that typically have fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals.

Explore More

ozempic foods to avoid

What Foods To Eat & Avoid When Taking Ozempic (Semaglutide).

Sources

  1. Shaefer CF Jr, Kushner P, Aguilar R. User’s guide to mechanism of action and clinical use of GLP-1 receptor agonists. Postgrad Med. 2015. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26371721/ 
  2. Shah M, Vella A. Effects of GLP-1 on appetite and weight. Rev Endocr Metab Disord. 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4119845/ 
  3. Marathe CS, Rayner CK, Jones KL, Horowitz M. Relationships between gastric emptying, postprandial glycemia, and incretin hormones. Diabetes Care. 2013. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3631884/ 
  4. Ozempic. Important safety information. https://www.ozempic.com/important-safety-information.html 
  5. Ozempic (semaglutide) injection, for subcutaneous use. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/209637lbl.pdf 

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14 Comments

  1. Paula Adams

    I have been on Ozempic for 2 weeks now and the fatigue is severe. I have fatigue on a normal basis. Please advise

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Paula,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry to hear you’ve been dealing with severe fatigue since being on Ozempic. Fatigue is a common side effect of this drug. In order to eliminate the fatigue you’d need to gradually wean yourself off of the drug whilst maintaining a strict diet as recommended in our book How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes and monitoring your blood sugar levels.

      We recommend combining the diet with the supplement Glyco Optimizer which assists in balancing blood sugar levels, normalizing insulin sensitivity and reduces symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes including fatigue.

      Please get in touch with our expert support team for further advice on naturally reversing Type 2 Diabetes with diet, supplements and lifestyle.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  2. Julia D

    I started this a week ago. I have not had a BM In Two days. I’ve tried a couple of things but no go. Any suggestions?

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Julia,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m afraid we’re unable to advise on this matter and would recommend you consult with your doctor. For questions about natural methods to reverse Type 2 Diabetes, please get in touch with our support team at any time.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  3. Martha McKee

    I started Ozempic about 5 weeks ago and the first week I felt nauseous during the day. The second, third, and fourth week I woke up in the middle of the night to throw up, sometimes two nights in a row but mostly on the day after or two days after taking my shot. I just took my fifth shot yesterday and I can already tell this might be the night I throw up again. I let my doctor know and he said it is a common side effect. I see him tomorrow about new blood work. My A1C went up .2 from the last time I did blood work 3 months ago. It would be nice to know if there is something I can do to help me not throw up. It is the one thing I truly hate doing. Once my stomach contents are empty, I go back to bed but still it is a jolt to wake up and then run to the bathroom. But the good thing is it definitely helps with appetite control and weight loss. I feel fuller quicker and am not as hungry all day like I used to be and have lost about 10 pounds since I started the shots so that’s at least something. I just hate the throwing up part and the nauseous. I am not tea drinker but I may try and find some ginger tea and maybe some Dramamine, I am not sure if either of those would help.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Martha,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing so many uncomfortable side effects from Ozempic.

      Nausea is a common side effect of this drug. Whilst ginger tea may help to manage nausea and settle your stomach, in order to eliminate these side effects, you’d need to gradually wean yourself off of the drug whilst maintaining a strict diet as recommended in our book How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes and monitoring your blood sugar levels.

      We recommend combining the diet with the supplement Glyco Optimizer which assists in balancing blood sugar levels, normalizing insulin sensitivity and reducing symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes including fatigue. Please get in touch with our expert support team for further advice on naturally reversing Type 2 Diabetes with diet, supplements, and lifestyle.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  4. lisa mccleave

    I am having pain in the back of my neck i am having difficult moving it around without it being sore is this a side effect?

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry to hear you’re experiencing uncomfortable side effects from Ozempic.

      Neck pain is not a common side effect of this drug and you should tell your doctor right away about this symptom you’re having.

      If looking to substitute Ozempic, we recommend combining a ketogenic diet with the supplement Glyco Optimizer which assists in balancing blood sugar levels, normalizing insulin sensitivity, and reducing symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. Please get in touch with our expert support team for further advice on naturally reversing Type 2 Diabetes with diet, supplements and lifestyle.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  5. Andrea

    I start using ozempic
    Eight weeks ago, but I only use six weeks. I have a problem for trouble swallowing my right side thyroid get bigger

    I went to the hospital because I have a trouble swallowing. I feel like I choke. Please let me know how can I clear out in my system Ozempic

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for writing.

      Sorry to hear of the side effects you had from taking Ozempic. It can take your body roughly 5 weeks to clear Ozempic from your system.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  6. L B Anderson

    My doctor recently increased my dosage. The day after my injection I suffer from diarrhea and severe heartburn. I have been on this rx for 8 weeks (6 weeks at .25). Please advise if there is anything I can do to reduce these side effects. Thank you!

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If you’re experiencing uncomfortable side effects from taking Ozempic, then you should consult with your doctor on alternatives. Our guide ‘How To Reverse Type 2 Diabetes‘ offers advice on natural methods to balance blood sugar, reduce insulin sensitivity and lose weight with diet, supplements and lifestyle. We recommend taking our Glyco Optimizer supplement which has no side effects and can help Type 2 Diabetics manage their symptoms, blood sugar and make weight loss easier.

      Please feel free to contact one of our expert advisors for free advice on how you can reverse type 2 diabetes.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554

      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

  7. Shakera Jones

    Well my fiance has been switched to ozempic recently and he has a constant cough.He went to the hospital and they ruled out flu,COVID and rsv.They gave him a prescription for codine and some pill but it’s not working.I need to know what can we can do going forward.

    • Ben's Natural Health Team

      Hi Shakera,

      Sorry to hear your fiance is experiencing so many uncomfortable side effects from Ozempic. In order to eliminate these side effects, he’d need to gradually wean off of the drug whilst maintaining a strict diet as recommended in our book How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes, and monitoring your blood sugar levels. We recommend combining the diet with the supplement Glyco Optimizer which assists in balancing blood sugar levels, normalizing insulin sensitivity and reducing symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes. https://www.bensnaturalhealth.com/ben-s-glyco-optimizer.html

      Please get in touch with our expert support team for further advice on naturally reversing Type 2 Diabetes with diet, supplements and lifestyle.

      📧: [email protected]
      ☎️: 888 868 3554
      Wishing you good health,
      Ben’s Natural Health Team

 
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