Woman standing on bathroom scale after learning how long Ozempic stays in your system

How Long Does Ozempic® Stay in Your System?

Written on January 24, 2024 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. 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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Ozempic®, or semaglutide, is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonist drug that affects insulin and, as a result, blood sugar levels. So, how long does Ozempic® stay in your system? Read this article for everything you need to know.

What Is Ozempic®?

Ozempic® has been used for the management of type II diabetes since 2017.[1] Ozempic® is a drug that has also been used “off-label” to help people manage their weight if they are overweight and/or obese. Ozempic® works by mimicking the hormone in the body known as GLP-1.

GLP-1 works in the lower gastrointestinal tract of the body. It affects glucose metabolism by stimulating insulin secretion after you eat carbohydrates.[2] It does this by stimulating insulin secretion as a response to carbohydrate intake to help bring blood sugar levels back down within a normal range. In addition, GLP-1 plays a role in decreasing gastric emptying, lowering appetite, and decreasing overall inflammation in the body.

Ozempic® works by making the body increase its production of the GLP-1 hormone. As mentioned, it is a GLP-1 agonist, meaning it works synergistically with the GLP-1 hormone to increase its levels. As such, people tend to lose their appetite and, as a result, they may lose weight. Ozempic® is typically administered once a week and is injected into the thigh, stomach, or upper arm.[1]

Half-Life of Ozempic®

The half-life refers to the length of time a drug takes to decrease to half of its starting dose in the body.[3] Different drugs have different half-lives, and the half-life plays a role in determining when the body will excrete a drug. After one half-life has passed, half of the initial drug amount is removed from the body.[3]

Research indicates that the half-life of Ozempic® is about one week.[4] This means that after about a week, half of the initial drug is typically removed from your body. Because of this, it will take about five weeks for Ozempic® to exit your system completely.

Side Effects of Ozempic®

As with any medication, there are side effects that have been reported that you may experience on Ozempic®. Some of these side effects include[5]:

  • Digestive changes like burping, bloating, heartburn, and general discomfort
  • Fever
  • Changes in mood like increased anxiety, sadness, and/or irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes to the skin like redness, puffiness, rashes, yellowing, or hives

As with any new medication, it is very important to be monitored by a healthcare provider while taking the medication. Similarly, if you are considering beginning a new medication, it is also recommended that you consult a healthcare provider to ensure this is a good option for you. If you want to stop using a medication like Ozempic®, it is important to consult your provider, as GLP-1 medications affect blood sugar levels. As such, beginning, adjusting, and/or stopping these medications must be appropriately managed to avoid dangerous changes to blood sugar levels.

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Is Ozempic® Right for You?

If you are wondering if Ozempic® is right for you, consult a healthcare provider. Many people wonder if Ozempic® is right for them if they are trying to lose weight. While weight loss is a common side effect of taking Ozempic®, it is likely more helpful and advantageous to engage in diet and lifestyle changes first to try to lose weight before beginning medication.

Some experts feel as though Ozempic® is appropriate for individuals looking to lose weight who are at risk of more serious health complications.[6] For example, in individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater and with other health-related comorbidities, a provider may recommend Ozempic®. Notably, BMI may not accurately indicate overall health status, as it does not distinguish between body tissue such as fat and muscle mass. As such, overall body composition (ie, fat mass relative to overall tissue) may be a better indicator of health status and if Ozempic® may be an appropriate option.

Suppose high levels of adiposity are accompanied by other health conditions that put an individual at risk, such as sleep apnea, high blood pressure, or coronary artery disease. In that case, a healthcare provider may be more likely to push for an individual to begin Ozempic®. As always, it is advised that you work with a qualified, dynamic team of providers to try to make sustainable dietary and lifestyle changes and consider medication usage, if needed and/or appropriate.

Support Your Weight Management Via Everlywell

At Everlywell, we combine the best in modernized, rigorous lab testing with easy-to-access, at-home medicine. We provide a range of blood tests and services, including our weight management program, that you can engage in from the comfort of your home. Take control of your physiological health today with Everlywell.

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  1. Clinic C. Is Ozempic the answer for your weight loss? Cleveland Clinic. Published November 27, 2023. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/Ozempic-for-weight-loss
  2. Müller T, Finan B, Bloom SR, et al. Glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Molecular Metabolism. 2019;30:72-130. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2019.09.010
  3. Hallare J. Half life. StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf. Published June 20, 2023. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554498/
  4. Ai S, Xie P, Nielsen LL, Skjøth TV, He X, Haugaard SP. Pharmacokinetics, safety and tolerability of once-weekly subcutaneous semaglutide in healthy Chinese subjects: a double-blind, phase 1, randomized controlled trial. Advances in Therapy. 2020;38(1):550-561. doi:10.1007/s12325-020-01548-y
  5. Semaglutide (Subcutaneous route) side effects - Mayo Clinic. Last reviewed December 1, 2023. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/semaglutide-subcutaneous-route/side-effects/drg-20406730?p=1
  6. Barnes M. What doctors think about prescribing Ozempic for weight loss. Keck Medicine of USC. Published June 29, 2023. Accessed January 17, 2024. https://www.keckmedicine.org/blog/Ozempic-for-weight-loss-los-angeles/

Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT is most fulfilled when guiding others towards making stepwise, sustainable changes that add up to big results over time. Jordan works with a wide variety of individuals, ranging in age from children to the elderly, with an assortment of concerns and clinical conditions, and has written for publications such as Innerbody. She helps individuals optimize overall health and/or manage disease states using personalized medical nutrition therapy techniques.

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