7 Ozempic Side Effects You Should Know About, According To A Doctor

The side effects of Ozempic draw almost as much attention as the drug itself (you may have heard of the “face of Ozempic.”) For people with type 2 diabetes, Ozempic (which lists the semaglutide as the main active ingredient) is an injectable medication that helps manage blood sugar. The drug, which is part of a class of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) drugs, may reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack or death in adults with type 2 diabetes, as well as heart and vascular diseases.

Some patients taking the drug experience side effects while taking the drug. One of the most common side effects of Ozempic is weight loss, although it is not intended for weight loss, according to its manufacturer, Novo Nordisk. The side effects of Ozempic can make it difficult for patients to follow their treatment regimen. “About 20% of my patients will stop using it because they have trouble tolerating Ozempic due to these side effects,” says Florence Committee, MDfounder of the Committee Center for Precision Medicine & Health.

But, for the remaining 80% of Dr. Comite’s patients, the drug’s side effects are much milder. Ahead, find everything you need to know about Ozempic side effects.

Common Ozempic Side Effects

“The most common side effects of Ozempic come from slowing of peristalsis (the rippling of the gastrointestinal waves pushing the contents through the gut),” says Dr. Comite.

She says common side effects of Ozempic include:

  • Gastrointestinal disorders (stomach ache)
  • Nausea
  • Reflux
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • stomach pain

“These symptoms will initially show up in most people and then go away. However, symptoms can persist in a significant number of individuals,” she says, even right after taking the first dose. “Others will see a slight increase with any dose increase, which should subside after taking the drug for two to three weeks.”

Dr. Comite says another side effect of Ozempic is loss of muscle mass, which could have negative health consequences. “Several factors contribute to sarcopenia (shrinkage of muscle), including weight loss, inadequate dietary protein, lack of desire to eat, minimal or no resistance exercise, or less than optimal hormones, especially testosterone,” she says. “Muscle is the fountain of youth because it’s vital for your metabolic health, strength, and prevents aging disorders, such as (type 2 diabetes), heart disease, stroke, osteopenia, memory and cognitive decline with age.” She says that when taking Ozempic, patients lose fat and muscle unless they take steps to preserve muscle mass by weight training, eating enough protein, and making sure they produce enough testosterone. “Sufficient testosterone, an essential hormone that begins to decline 1-3% in your 30s, is essential for muscle,” she says.

Another side effect that has received a lot of attention lately is “Ozempic face”, a sagging skin that occurs due to weight loss affecting the face. This is not specific to Ozempic, due to any weight loss that will impact facial skin.

Uncommon Ozempic Side Effects

While typical side effects are rather mild, Novo Nordisk lists a number of side effects of Ozempic, including possible thyroid tumors, thyroid cancer, and vision changes.

Dr. Comite also notes: “Less common side effects include excess air or gas in the stomach, burping, heartburn, indigestion, rapid heartbeat, low blood sugar, lack of energy, fatigue and gallstones.”

Rare but serious side effects also include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Appendicitis
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Allergic reactions
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Angioedema

“If you experience severe or unexpected symptoms, consult the clinician who prescribed the drug for you,” says Dr. Comite.

Medicines to avoid while taking Ozempic

If in doubt, it is always best to consult your doctor. But, there are certain drugs that do not go well with Ozempic. “Medications to avoid include insulin and sulfonylureas as they can lower blood sugar levels. Explore with your practitioner if you are on these medications as they may be adjusted if Ozempic is an option for you. Careful monitoring is important,” says Dr. Comite.

Are there any foods to avoid while taking Ozempic?

In short, no. But, there are foods you can forego to avoid exacerbating the side effects of Ozempic. “No food is ‘prohibited’ per se while taking Ozempic, but there are foods to avoid, which can worsen stomach upset and make it difficult to manage (blood) sugar levels , including fried or fatty foods, sugary foods and drinks, highly processed foods, and refined carbohydrates,” says Dr. Comite. “Limiting high-sugar fruits and vegetables and reducing alcohol intake . It is best to maintain a varied diet rich in protein and unprocessed foods without added sugars. »

Can pregnant or breastfeeding women take Ozempic?

Ozempic is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as it can potentially impact fetal growth and development, says Dr. Comite. “As a general rule, we advise our patients to stop Ozempic at least two months before trying to conceive. If you have diabetes, there are alternative medications that you can safely take while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tips for Managing Ozempic Side Effects

Trying crackers or pita chips to calm your stomach is a good way to manage an upset stomach, says Dr. Comite. “Be sure to drink plenty of water, eat your meals slowly, and use over-the-counter medications like Tums or Gas-X to relieve nausea or gas. Eat small amounts of food, even when you’re not hungry. , can make a difference,” she says.

When it comes to muscle loss, Dr. Comite says it comes down to strength training and diet. “To prevent muscle loss, start each meal with lean protein, such as chicken, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, and nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, macadamia, brazilian, but not peanuts which are legumes) Protein, the essential building blocks of muscle, has a more favorable impact on your metabolism,” she says.

Emily Goldman is the editor of Prevention. She has spent the past several years editing and writing about health, wellness, beauty, food and more for Marthastewart.com and Bridalguide.com. She has loved all things health and wellness since launching her bi-weekly podcast Pancreas Pals, a series about the ups and downs of living with type 1 diabetes. When she’s not podcasting , she spends most of her time curled up with a good book or watching a period play on the BBC.

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