Written on October 30, 2023 by Sendra Yang, PharmD, MBA. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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Over 37 million people in the United States have diabetes. Approximately 1.4 million new diabetes cases were diagnosed in 2019. It is estimated that around one in five people with diabetes don’t know they have the condition. A prescription medication that can help treat type 2 diabetes is Ozempic®. However, can you take Ozempic® if you are pregnant? Continue reading more to find additional information on type 2 diabetes and Ozempic®.
Diabetes is a serious and costly chronic disease that impacts blood sugar levels in the body. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can cause serious health issues such as heart disease, kidney issues, and vision loss. Diabetes is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, and the disease results in expenses of around $413 billion in medical costs and lost work and wages. People with diabetes have more than two times the average medical costs of people without the disease.
Normally, the body makes a hormone known as insulin to help cells turn the sugars from the food we eat into energy or store it for later use.[1,2] When you have diabetes, your body may not make insulin (type 1 diabetes) or is not able to use insulin adequately (type 2 diabetes), leading to an increase in blood sugar levels. Of the more than 37 million Americans with diabetes, around 90% to 95% have type 2 diabetes. Most of the time, type 2 diabetes develops in people over the age of 45, but more and more younger children, teens, and adults are developing the condition.
Managing diabetes can be very challenging. However, it is possible to manage diabetes, and in most cases, people with diabetes manage their disease with the support of their healthcare providers. You may be able to manage your diabetes by making healthy eating choices, being physically active, or taking prescription medications prescribed by your healthcare provider. You will also need to check your blood sugar regularly. As part of managing your condition, it’s also essential to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels to ensure they are close to your targets. Your healthcare provider will help you manage your disease and help answer any questions you may have.
One medication that your healthcare provider can recommend to help treat type 2 diabetes is Ozempic®. It was initially approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 to improve blood sugar control in type 2 diabetic adults. The FDA also granted its use to help reduce the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (such as heart attacks) in adults with type 2 diabetes and those with established cardiovascular or heart disease.
Ozempic® is administered as a subcutaneous injection in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The starting dose for Ozempic® is 0.25 mg once weekly and can be titrated up to 2 mg once a week based on a schedule. Each dose is administered once a week at any time of the day, with or without meals. If a dose is missed, administer the dose within five days of the missed dose.
The generic of Ozempic® is semaglutide. Semaglutide is also currently FDA-approved and marketed in the United States under two brand name products, Rybelsus® and Wegovy®. Rybelsus® is an oral tablet form approved to decrease blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes in combination with diet and exercise. Wegovy® is a higher-dose injection approved for obese or overweight patients with weight-related comorbidities.
Ozempic® has a serious FDA warning, or black box warning, for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors. It is contraindicated and should be avoided in individuals with a personal or family history of medullary thyroid cancer or patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2. Ozempic® should also not be used in patients with serious hypersensitivity reactions to the drug or any of its ingredients. The most common side effects reported with Ozempic® include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and constipation.
According to the FDA-approved label for Ozempic®, there is limited data on Ozempic® use in pregnant women. Ozempic® should be used during pregnancy only if the healthcare provider determines the potential benefits justify the potential risk to the fetus. In animal studies, there may be a potential risk to the fetus from exposure to Ozempic® during pregnancy. Fetal structural abnormalities, alterations in growth, or early pregnancy loss occurred in animals exposed to the drug.
If you have questions about your type 2 diabetes or are wondering if Ozempic® is appropriate for managing your diabetes, speak with your healthcare provider. At Everlywell, you can schedule an online weight loss visit with a licensed healthcare provider. You can speak with a clinician to address your health needs with high-quality care, prescriptions, and recommendations. The clinician can also create a care plan for you that may include testing. You can also consider a hemoglobin A1c at-home lab test to help monitor your blood sugar levels and better understand your glycemic control.