Ozempic, known by its generic name as semaglutide, is a medication primarily prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes. It’s essential for patients and healthcare professionals to understand its side effects, contraindications, and warnings to ensure safe and effective use. This article provides a detailed overview of these aspects.
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is an injectable prescription medicine that, when used with diet and exercise, helps improve blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. It belongs to a class of drugs known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.
Side Effects of Ozempic
Common Side Effects
- Nausea: This is the most frequently reported side effect. It’s usually mild and tends to decrease over time.
- Vomiting: Some patients might experience vomiting, especially when starting the medication.
- Constipation: Some people may experience difficulty passing stools or a decrease in stool frequency. This is mainly due to decreased food intake.
- Decreased appetite: Some people might notice a reduced desire to eat.
- Diarrhoea: It can occur in some individuals but usually resolves on its own.
- Abdominal pain: A few patients might feel pain or discomfort in the stomach area.
- Indigestion: Some people may experience an upset stomach or indigestion.
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: These can include stomach discomfort, bloating, and gas.
Less Common Side Effects
- Fatigue: Feeling unusually tired or weak.
- Dizziness: A sensation of spinning or light-headedness.
- Increased heart rate: Some patients might experience a faster heartbeat.
- Kidney problems: Rarely, Ozempic can affect kidney function due to decreased fluid intake.
Serious Side Effects
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas, which can be severe and require hospitalisation. This is rare but serious complication.
- Hypoglycaemia: Low blood sugar levels, especially when used with other diabetes medications.
Contraindications and Warnings
- Allergic reactions: Patients with a known allergy to semaglutide or any of its ingredients should avoid using Ozempic.
- Diabetic ketoacidosis: Ozempic is not recommended for treating this condition.
- Type 1 diabetes: This medication is not approved for use in individuals with type 1 diabetes.
- Thyroid tumours: In animal studies, medicines like Ozempic have been linked to thyroid tumours. It’s unclear if this risk applies to humans.
- Pancreatitis: Patients should be monitored for signs of pancreatitis and discontinue Ozempic if it’s suspected.
- Kidney problems: Regular monitoring of kidney function is recommended, especially in patients with a history of kidney disease.
- Hypoglycaemia risk: When used with other diabetes medications, the risk of low blood sugar increases.
How to Use Ozempic Safely
- Follow the prescribed dose: Always use the medication as your healthcare professional directs.
- Monitor blood sugar levels: Regularly check your blood sugar levels to ensure they remain within the target range.
- Report any side effects: If you experience any side effects, especially severe ones, contact your doctor immediately.
- Store correctly: Keep Ozempic in its original container, away from direct sunlight and heat.
Ozempic is a valuable medication for managing type 2 diabetes. Patients can make informed decisions about their treatment by understanding its side effects, contraindications, and warnings. Always consult a healthcare professional before making any changes to your medication regimen.