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Ozempic® Side Effects: How Long Do They Last?

Written on January 24, 2024 by Dr. Diana Rangaves. 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® is an FDA-approved medication to lower blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes mellitus in adults in conjunction with diet and exercise. Furthermore, the drug is approved to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and known heart disease.[1]

After taking your first dose of Ozempic®, you may experience some common side effects, which usually disappear after some time, ranging from a few days to a few weeks. These side effects arise as your body adapts to the medication. However, if the side effects persist for longer than expected, it is advisable to seek medical help from your healthcare provider.

However, like other medications, taking Ozempic® can lead to possible side effects that could cause serious health issues. Therefore, it is important for people using this drug to consult their healthcare providers to understand these side effects and ways to manage them.

What Is Ozempic®?

Ozempic®, also known as semaglutide, belongs to a class of medications that are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. This drug mimics the GLP-1 hormone normally released in the gastrointestinal tract in response to eating.[1]

One primary role of GLP-1 is to stimulate insulin secretion, which helps reduce sugar levels in the body. Moreover, a higher GLP-1 will influence the brain to reduce appetite and signal a feeling of fullness.[1]

The medication is usually administered once weekly and on the same day each week, but it can be at any time of the day, with or without food. However, do not hesitate to consult your primary healthcare provider if you have any questions regarding the medication.

One precautionary measure is that if you miss your dose, administer Ozempic® as soon as possible, within 5 days after the missed dose.

FDA-approved uses of Ozempic® (on-label):

  • Used on top of diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus
  • Reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and known cardiovascular disease

Non–FDA-approved uses of Ozempic® (off-label):

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Ozempic® Side Effects

Just like other medications, Ozempic® may cause side effects. Some of these side effects are usually mild and disappear within a few days or weeks. But in some rare cases, the side effects may fail to be noticed and worsen over time, hence becoming life-threatening.[3]

These side effects primarily occur as a result of the drug’s alteration of the normal body process. When you take Ozempic® medication, the drug might slow down the gut, making food stay longer in the stomach, leading to extra pressure inside the abdomen. This can trigger unpleasant side effects like vomiting and nausea.[4]

If the side effects of Ozempic® worsen over time, reach out to your healthcare provider for medical assistance.

Common side effects:

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

Severe side effects:

  • Rash, itching, swelling of the eyes
  • Fainting or dizziness
  • Decreased urination or swelling of the legs
  • Vision changes
  • Light-headedness, sweating, confusion
  • Pain in upper stomach

How Long Do Ozempic® Side Effects Last?

How long the side effects of Ozempic® last depends on several factors, such as your genetic nature, your overall health, pre-existing medical conditions, and the specific symptoms you are experiencing.

Common Ozempic® side effects are usually evident within the first few days after the initial dosage and go away with time, some days or a few weeks, as your body adjusts to the medication.

In rare cases, Ozempic® can cause some side effects that may not go away. But these side effects can be managed. They include:

Before starting your Ozempic® treatment, talk with your healthcare provider about the potential side effects of the drug and how long they may last.

What Influences the Duration of Side Effects From Ozempic®?

Generally, Ozempic® side effects occur as a result of its reaction with the body and wear off in a few days or weeks from the initial dosage. However, the duration of side effects can be influenced by several factors, such as:

  • Interaction with other medications: Combining Ozempic® with other medications can worsen the side effects. That is why it is always important to consult your healthcare provider before starting your medication
  • Pre-existing health conditions: Before starting your medication, talk with your healthcare provider about existing health conditions. This is important to reduce adverse reactions resulting from the medication. This will also help your healthcare provider with safe ways to take your medication
  • Individual variations: People react differently to medications based on many factors. Your genetic composition, overall health, and lifestyle can influence how long the side effects of Ozempic® will persist
  • Dosage frequency: There is a required dosage of Ozempic® you should take based on your healthcare provider's guidance. However, if the current dosage isn’t providing an improvement, your healthcare provider can recommend an increase in dosage to optimize effectiveness, which may influence the intensity and duration of the side effects

What To Do in Case of an Overdose

You are more likely to overdose from Ozempic® if you take the drug without following your healthcare provider's guidelines. In case of an overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. You can also call 911 emergency services if you or your loved one has collapsed, had a seizure, or have trouble breathing.

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  1. FDA. Medications containing semaglutide marketed for type 2 diabetes or weight loss. Last reviewed January 10, 2024. Accessed January 18, 2024.
  2. Han SH, Safeek R, Ockerman K, et al. Public interest in the off-label use of glucagon-like peptide 1 agonists (Ozempic) for cosmetic weight loss: a Google trends analysis. Aesthet Surg J. 2023;44(1):60-67. doi:10.1093/asj/sjad211
  3. Mayo Clinic. Semaglutide (subcutaneous route) side effects. Last updated December 1, 2023. Accessed January 19, 2024.
  4. Jensterle M, Ferjan S, Ležaič L, et al. Semaglutide delays 4-hour gastric emptying in women with polycystic ovary syndrome and obesity. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2023;25(4):975-984. doi:10.1111/dom.14944

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