What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription medication used to control blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes (a condition in which the body does not use insulin the way it should and blood sugar levels remain high). Ozempic is usually prescribed with a diet and exercise program to control blood sugar levels in adults. Ozempic can be used alongside other diabetes medications, such as metformin, to control blood sugar. 

Like all other medications, Ozempic may cause side effects.

Keep reading this article to understand what side effects Ozempic causes and how you can manage the side effects of the drug. 

What are Ozempic’s most common side effects?

The most common side effects of Ozempic are gastrointestinal. This is because Ozempic slows the passage of food from the stomach to the intestine. Giving your body time to adjust to the medication gradually helps minimize side effects. Your doctor will help you do this by prescribing a low dose to start and slowly increasing it over several weeks. Taking doses too close together can increase medication levels in your body and cause more side effects. Be sure to stick to the same day every week for your dose. 

Inform your physician if these symptoms are severe or do not go away:

  • Burping 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea 
  • Heartburn 
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea 
  • Constipation 
  • Abdominal pain 

By itself, Ozempic doesn’t cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). But if you are also taking insulin or sulfonylurea-type diabetes medication (e.g., gliclazide), your blood sugar can drop too low. If you are taking these other medications, monitor your blood sugar regularly. If you notice any low blood sugar, work with your doctor to reduce your insulin or gliclazide dosage. 

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Some of the side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or get urgent medical attention: 

  • An allergic reaction with rash or itching 
  • Swelling of eyes, mouth, face, tongue, or throat
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing 
  • Serious swelling of legs, ankle, or feet 
  • Dizziness 
  • Clay-colored stools 
  • Fainting 
  • Vision changes 
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
    • Symptoms of pancreatitis include pain in the upper stomach, yellowing of the skin or eyes, fever, rapid heart beat, serious nausea or vomiting.
  • Thyroid tumor or thyroid cancer
    • Symptoms include a bump on your neck, voice hoarseness, or difficulty breathing

Ozempic injection may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if your symptoms are severe or persistent while using Ozempic. 

How long do Ozempic side effects last?

Usually, mild side effects of Ozempic are temporary and manageable. They disappear with the use of the drug within a couple of weeks. However, Ozempic stays in the body approximately five weeks after your last dose. So, you may experience some of the side effects during that period. 

Lastly, feel free to discuss the side effects of the drug with your healthcare professional.   

Does Ozempic cause bloating as a side effect?

Yes, Ozempic may cause bloating as a side effect. This is because Ozempic works partly by slowing the movement of food from the stomach to the intestines. This helps your body absorb the sugar in your food more slowly, allowing for better blood sugar control. Bloating and other gastrointestinal side effects can be managed by letting your body gradually adjust to the medication. Your doctor will help you do this by prescribing a low dose to start with and gradually increasing the dose.

In very rare cases, Ozempic causes pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas). It can be either short-term or long-term. If you have ever had pancreatitis, you should tell your  physician before starting the treatment. Pancreatitis may cause the following symptoms: 

  • Fever 
  • Bloating 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Abdominal pain 
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If you have any of the above symptoms, inform your doctor immediately. If the doctor confirms that you have pancreatitis, they will stop your treatment with Ozempic and manage the condition. 

Does Ozempic cause dry mouth as a side effect?

Medications similar to Ozempic have been reported to cause diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition known to cause severe dehydration. If you have dry mouth along with loose skin, extreme thirst, feeling confused, it would be a good idea to get yourself checked by a healthcare professional urgently. Diabetic ketoacidosis is more likely to happen if you reduce or stop insulin too quickly after starting Ozempic. To be on the safe side, always work with your doctor in adjusting your medications. 

Can Ozempic cause diarrhea? 

Yes, Ozempic may cause diarrhea. It is one of the most common side effects caused by the medication. 

Usually, diarrhea is mild and will subside on its own. However, if it is persistent and severe, please inform and consult your doctor as severe diarrhea may lead to dehydration and other complications, which may need monitoring. 

Can Ozempic cause fatigue?

Yes, Ozempic may cause fatigue in some individuals. In most cases, these side effects are temporary, and they disappear or can be easily managed. The exact mechanism why Ozempic causes fatigue is not known. 

However, if you feel fatigued and are bothered, you should inform your doctor or pharmacist. Do not stop taking the medication unless your doctor recommends it. 

Can Ozempic cause depression?

Depression is not reported as a known side effect caused by Ozempic. However, if you feel that Ozempic is causing depression, you should inform your physician. Please do not stop taking the medication unless your doctor recommends it.

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