Ozempic Side Effects and How to Manage Them

common side effects of ozempic

Ozempic, a medication primarily used to treat type 2 diabetes, has gained plenty of attention for its effectiveness in promoting weight loss. While this medication can be a game-changer for those struggling with obesity, it’s important to understand that, like all medications, it comes with potential side effects.

Common Side Effects of Ozempic

When starting a new medication, it’s crucial to be aware of potential side effects, even if they are typically mild and temporary. Ozmpic is no exception. Most of the common side effects of Ozempic are on the mild side and will typically fade as your body adjusts to the medication. 

There are some that are potentially more serious. Be sure to keep an eye on how your body is reacting to the medication. 

Gastrointestinal Ozempic Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects are gastrointestinal, meaning they impact the stomach and intestines. These side effects occur in ≥5% of patients and are generally mild, most often appearing during the initial dose and dosage escalation phases. Thankfully, they’re also temporary for many individuals and will fade as the body adjusts to the medication. 

  • Ozempic nausea and vomiting. Many users experience nausea, especially when they first begin taking Ozempic or increase their dose. This can usually be managed by eating smaller, more frequent meals and avoiding high-fat foods. While less common, some individuals might also experience vomiting. 
  • Ozempic diarrhea and constipation. These are complete opposites, but many individuals deal with one or the other, and sometimes both. Staying hydrated and incorporating fiber-rich foods into your diet can help mitigate these effects.
  • Ozempic stomach pain. Mild to moderate stomach pain is another common complaint. Over-the-counter antacids and maintaining a consistent eating schedule may provide relief.

Ozempic Headache

Headaches are another side effect that some patients may experience. These tend to be mild to moderate and can usually be managed with standard over-the-counter pain relievers. 

This is not a direct side effect of Ozempic, but rather a symptom of other potential side effects. Headaches can be a symptom of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dehydration. 

Staying hydrated and ensuring you get enough rest can also help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches. 

Ozempic Fatigue

Fatigue is reported in less than 5% of Ozempic users but is more common at higher doses, such as those used in the weight loss medication Wegovy, where it is reported in 11% of users.

It is not clear why users experience fatigue, but it may be due to the reduced caloric intake. You can combat Ozempic fatigue by:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Getting enough sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Taking B12 supplements

Ozempic Pancreatitis

A more serious but less common side effect is acute pancreatitis. This side effect is associated with all GLP-1 receptor agonist medications. While not common, this is a serious side effect. 

Symptoms include persistent severe abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, with or without vomiting. If you experience these symptoms while taking Ozempic, seek medical attention immediately.

Ozempic Kidney Injury

There have been reports of both acute kidney injury and worsening chronic renal failure in patients taking GLP-1 receptor agonists like Ozempic. The gastrointestinal Ozempic side effects can contribute to dehydration, which increases the risk of kidney injury. 

Staying well-hydrated is essential to prevent dehydration and protect your kidneys.

Ozempic Hair Loss

While semaglutide itself does not cause hair loss, rapid weight loss can trigger a condition known as Telogen effluvium (TE), which results in non-scarring hair loss. The hair loss typically occurs a few months after the initial “trauma” and may take time to reverse. 

Biotin treatments, collagen, and other hair growth and hair care products may help to speed up the reversal. 

Worried about Ozempic face and Ozempic butt?

As Ozempic users begin to drop weight, they may start noticing changes in their physical appearance that aren’t as ideal, specifically in their face and buttocks. Not-so-lovingly referred to as “Ozempic face” and “Ozempic butt,” these aren’t necessarily Ozempic side effects, but side effects of rapid and extreme weight loss. 

The term “Ozempic face” was coined by Dr. Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic and celebrity dermatologist, to describe the changes in facial fat distribution that can occur with rapid weight loss. 

As you shed pounds, the fat that normally provides volume and support to your face diminishes causing the saggy appearance. This can also happen in the curvier areas of the body, like the butt, giving them a looser, deflated appearance. 

Remember, these physical changes are a natural part of significant weight loss, and there are steps you can take to address them effectively.

Tips to Manage Ozempic Side Effects

Managing the side effects of Ozempic effectively can help you maintain your comfort and well-being while achieving your health goals. While most of the symptoms are mild, they can still impact your daily life. 

 Here are some practical tips to make side effects less expressive and improve your overall experience with the medication:

  • Maintain Proper Dosage. You need to follow the prescribed dosage instructions for Ozempic. Starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it as directed by your healthcare provider can help minimize gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
    It’s important not to adjust your dosage without consulting your doctor, as improper dosing can exacerbate side effects or reduce the medication’s effectiveness.
  • Regular Consultations with Doctors. Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider are an important part of your Ozempic weight loss plan. These consultations allow your doctor to monitor your progress, assess any adverse reactions, and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.  Open communication about any side effects is crucial. Consider keeping a journal to track your symptoms and progress. 
  • Lead a Healthier Life. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can help mitigate side effects and enhance your overall health. Remember, you’ll need to make lifestyle changes in order to see long-term results on Ozempic.
  • Exercise: Regular physical activity helps improve digestion, boost energy levels, and maintain muscle tone, which can counteract the fatigue and muscle loss associated with rapid weight loss.
  • Diet: Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals supports digestive health and skin elasticity. Smaller, more frequent meals can help manage nausea and prevent overeating.
  • Hydration: Drinking plenty of water is essential, especially if you experience gastrointestinal side effects. Staying hydrated can prevent dehydration and protect your kidneys.Consider Ozempic Alternatives. If side effects persist or worsen despite your best efforts, discussing alternative medications with your healthcare provider may be the next step. There are other weight loss and diabetes management drugs available that might suit you better. 

Addressing Ozempic Mental Side Effects and Cancer Risks

There are some more serious Ozempic side effects you should be aware of. Understanding these risks can help you monitor your health more closely and seek timely medical advice if needed.

Ozempic Mental Side Effects

Some users of semaglutide, the active ingredient in Ozempic, may experience mental side effects such as depression. This isn’t uncommon with GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs).

Symptoms of depression have been reported to occur about one month after beginning semaglutide injections. 

While Ozempic’s label does not specifically list anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects, the label for Wegovy, another semaglutide-based medication, does. This may be due to the higher dosage. 

If you or someone you know starts experiencing these symptoms after beginning Ozempic, it is crucial to seek medical help immediately. Regular mental health check-ins with your healthcare provider can help identify and manage these symptoms early on.

Ozempic Cancer Risks 

One of the more serious potential risks associated with Ozempic is the development of thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma. Studies are still being conducted, however, a recent study suggests that Ozempic does not significantly increase the risk of thyroid cancer. 

Is Ozempic Safe?

Yes. When used as prescribed, Ozempic poses minimal risk for users. By understanding the common side effects—ranging from mild gastrointestinal issues to more serious concerns like mental health impacts and cancer risks—you can take proactive steps and minimize their impact.

Make sure you’re following the prescribed dosage, staying in contact with your healthcare provider, and working towards a healthier lifestyle. These can all help you have more effective and safe weight loss experience. 

If side effects persist or become severe, contact your healthcare provider right away. 

Ready to get started with Ozempic? Schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider through Heally today. 



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