Ozempic is a highly popular and successful medication, used globally in 75 countries, demonstrating its widespread trust and popularity among people.
In this article we cover what Ozempic is, its uses, recommended dosages, and how to administer it. Keep reading to understand the factors contributing to its worldwide recognition.
Ozempic, containing the active ingredient Semaglutide, is a prescription medication used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Although it is used for diabetes management, it has been found to cause weight loss as a side effect.
Ozempic is a medicine that helps people with type 2 diabetes. The active ingredient, Semaglutide, helps keep blood sugar levels in the right range.
Studies showed that people using this medicine often lost weight as a side effect.
A new medicine called Wegovy, also containing Semaglutide, is now available in the UK. Semaglutide, sold under the name Wegovy, is specifically licensed and used for weight loss, not diabetes.
Semaglutide is available as injections as well as tablets. Semaglutide tablets are available under the brand name Rybelsus. They work in the same way but have several advantages over injection pens:
Semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, increases the levels of a hormone called GLP-1. This hormone helps to control blood glucose levels and how much you want to eat.
It works in 3 different ways to lower your blood sugar levels:
Semaglutide is a GLP-1 analogue and belongs to the same group as Liraglutide (Saxenda). It increases GLP-1 levels. Doing so causes your stomach to empty and digest food more slowly after eating. This reduces your appetite and leaves you feeling fuller for longer.
In 2021, a study in thetested how well Semaglutide can help with obesity.
They monitored the progress of 1961 adults for 68 weeks. Half took a placebo, an inactive drug believed to be the weight-loss drug, and the other half took Semaglutide.
They found that those who took the Semaglutide had a 14.9% loss in body weight when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, compared to those who took the placebo and lost 2.4% of their body weight. This is a significant difference and success.
No. In the UK, Ozempic is only approved for treating type 2 diabetes, not weight loss.
However, as of February 2022, the(NICE) in the UK has endorsed the use of Semaglutide, under the brand name Wegovy, for obesity treatment. This recommendation means Wegovy is now officially licensed for weight loss, and other Semaglutide medicines should no longer be prescribed off-label for weight loss.
This is why Ozempic is used for type 2 diabetes management.
Ozempic is available in 3 dosages: 0.25, 0.5 and 1mg. The doses can be differentiated based on the colour label of the pen.
The starting dose of Ozempic is 0.25mg. Once stable on that dose for 4 weeks, it can be increased to 0.5mg.
You can then be prescribed the 1mg dose after 4 weeks of being stable on the 0.5mg dose. Some people need the 1mg dose, whereas others may only require a 0.5mg maintenance dose.
If transitioning from Ozempic to Wegovy, you must know what dose to take.
Up until 1mg, the doses are identical. This means you can easily transition from Ozempic to Wegovy during this time.
For instance, if you are taking or have recently taken the 0.25mg Ozempic pen, you can switch to the 0.25mg Wegovy pen or up to the 0.5mg if you have finished the 4-week course.
Semaglutide should be administered once weekly, preferably on the same day and time each week. However, if you have to change the day you take it, you can as long as your last dose was at least 2 days prior.
You can inject it at any time of day, regardless of meals.
When using Semaglutide, inject it into your thighs, lower belly, or upper arm. Make sure to change where you inject each time so your skin does not get irritated.
A short guide on how to inject it is as follows:
Prepare the pen and needle
Place the new needle
Check the flow
Select the dose
Inject the dose
The patient information leaflet provides a thorough guide with instructions and diagrams. A physical copy is supplied with your medication, or you can download it on the left of this page.
If you have missed 2 or more consecutive doses (at least 14 days), you can resume the dosing schedule or lower the dose if needed.
Do not take a double dose of Semaglutide. Too much Semaglutide can cause dangerously low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia).
An unopened Ozempic pen must be kept in the refrigerator between 2°C - 8°C. Your pen will be delivered in insulated packaging to ensure it stays cold.
Once opened, you can keep the pen in the refrigerator or at temperatures below 30°C.
Keep your pens away from a direct heat or light source, and keep the lid on the pen.
Storing your pen correctly will prevent the solution inside from becoming cloudy or discoloured. Regularly check that the liquid is clear and colourless. If it is cloudy or discoloured, discard the pen.
You must throw away needles into the sharps bin that your prescriber has provided. Once it is full, you can contact your local council, and they will collect it.
The pen can be given to your local pharmacy, which will have dedicated clinical waste disposal facilities.
Do not throw any needles or medication with your household waste.
As with most prescription medications, Ozempic can cause some side effects. However, the most common side effects are mild and temporary.
Common side effects include:
Because it affects blood sugar levels, it can cause hypoglycaemia, which is when your blood sugar levels drop too low. It is more likely to occur if you take Ozempic together with other medications for diabetes.
You may have hypo If you experience any of the following symptoms:
Please consult the patient information leaflet for a comprehensive list of side effects.
Ozempic is prescribed along with diet and exercise to improve blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is also used to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events such as heart attack, stroke, or death in those with both type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
This medication is not suitable for:
Other groups of people can take Semaglutide but may require additional monitoring from their doctor while using it, including those who:
If you need clarification on whether you fall under these categories or have other medical conditions, consult your GP or healthcare provider before taking Semaglutide.
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