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Understanding Ozempic Side Effects and How to Manage Them

1 min Read

While using Ozempic for managing diabetes or weight loss offers various benefits, it’s important to be aware of potential side effects. Learn about the most common side effects of Ozempic and find out how to manage them.

Ozempic is a medication that can help manage diabetes and even promote weight loss when prescribed off-label. But like any drug, it comes with some potential side effects. If Ozempic is on your radar, it’s a good idea to consider potential side effects, identify risk factors for developing them, and learn how to handle them. You should also be aware of the rarer but more serious side effects associated with Ozempic before beginning to use it.

Equally important, we’ll explore how Noom offers supportive tools and coaching for people using Ozempic, like Noom Med and our GLP-1 Companion. Noom can help you navigate weight loss challenges, promote nutritious eating habits, and incorporate joyful movement and exercises to preserve muscle mass.

Ozempic side effects

Ozempic contains semaglutide, which acts like a hormone in your brain that controls your appetite. This action helps manage blood sugar levels and aids in weight loss. However, Ozempic can also cause side effects that can make you feel unwell or make it harder to go about your daily life. 

What are the common side effects of Ozempic?

The most common side effects of Ozempic include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, and constipation. Lots of people also complain of fatigue. These side effects often decrease over time as your body adjusts to the medication.

What percentage of people experience these common side effects?

Clinical trials have shown that up to 20% of people feel nauseous, 9% experience vomiting, and 8% have diarrhea. However, your prescribed dose and how your body responds to Ozempic are important factors in what you’ll experience. 

What are the more serious potential side effects of Ozempic?

Like most medications, Ozempic can come with some uncommon but serious side effects. These include inflammation of the pancreas, kidney problems, gallbladder issues, and even an increased risk of thyroid cancer. If you have concerns about anything you’re experiencing while on Ozempic or any medication, discuss it with your doctor. If you already have certain conditions Ozempic might not be the right medication for you. 

How long do Ozempic side effects typically last?

For many users, the side effects of Ozempic are temporary, particularly the gastrointestinal symptoms. These issues usually occur in the first few weeks and subside as your body becomes accustomed to the medication. Chronic or persistent side effects should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Should I stop taking Ozempic if I experience side effects?

It is important to consult your healthcare provider before discontinuing Ozempic. Many side effects can be managed, and stopping the medication suddenly can affect your blood sugar levels. Your doctor can provide advice on managing side effects effectively and may adjust your dose if necessary.

How can Noom help me navigate potential side effects?

If you qualify, Noom Med can coordinate Ozempic access and will pair you with a clinician who will create a plan after evaluating your health, goals, and any potential risks. In addition, the Noom Med care team will be there to help you navigate any side effects. If you get your medication elsewhere, you can enhance your Noom experience with the GLP-1 Companion. This option includes tips for using Ozempic and includes guides for dealing with common issues and side effects.

Risk factors for experiencing Ozempic side effects

Not everyone experiences the same side effects from Ozempic in the same way. Your prescribed dose, overall health history, age, and lifestyle are all factors that can play a role in the likelihood of developing them and their severity. Let’s take a look at some key risk factors.

Are there any risk factors that can increase the likelihood of experiencing side effects?

Absolutely. Advanced age, pre-existing medical conditions (like kidney or liver disease), and the use of certain other medications can all increase your risk of experiencing side effects from Ozempic. It’s important to give your doctor the full picture of your health history.

Who should be especially aware of Ozempic’s severe side effects?

Ozempic may not be a good option for those with a history of pancreatitis, kidney disease, or thyroid cancer. Have a thorough conversation with a doctor about your health history before beginning Ozempic.

Are there any long-term side effects associated with Ozempic?

Long-term studies are still in the process of testing the prolonged use of Ozempic, but it’s generally been well-tolerated in clinical trials. As with any medication, monitoring by a healthcare provider is essential for catching any potential issues.

Other concerning Ozempic side effects

With all the buzz surrounding Ozempic, it’s no surprise that all sorts of side effects have been detailed on social media and in the news. Here are the current facts on some of the side effects that people report experiencing.

What is “Ozempic face”?

“Ozempic face” is a term used to describe the facial changes some people experience while taking Ozempic. People have mentioned hollowed-out cheeks, thinning skin with potentially more wrinkles, and a more gaunt appearance. These issues are thought to be related to the weight loss caused by the medication. Loss of facial fat and dehydration are possible reasons for these facial changes. But don’t worry, you can avoid developing “Ozempic Face” by losing weight gradually, upping your protein intake, and taking good care of your skin.   

Is Ozempic use associated with suicidal thoughts?

Thankfully, a recent study suggests that suicidal thoughts are not associated with the use of Ozempic. To give some background, in 2023, the European Medicines Agency was concerned that Ozempic and other semaglutide medications could cause thoughts of self-harm. In January 2024, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that semaglutide was actually associated with a lower risk of suicidal thoughts compared to other obesity and diabetes medications. However, you should talk to your doctor about any concerning symptoms you experience. 

Can Ozempic cause hair loss? 

So far, there is no evidence that hair loss is a direct side effect of Ozempic. The hair loss reported by a small number of people on Ozempic is likely caused by rapid weight loss. Still, it’s something to keep in mind before beginning the medication, especially if you’re already prone to thinning hair.

Can Ozempic lead to muscle loss?

Ozempic can result in muscle loss because it reduces appetite, which can lead to decreased calorie intake. If you don’t consume enough calories, your body may break down muscle tissue for energy. You can take steps to reduce muscle loss, including increasing protein intake, prioritizing weight training, and following Noom’s recommendations for adequate sleep. Yes, 7-8 hours of quality sleep can help you recover, repair, and build muscle. That’s what we call a win, win, win. 

Is it true that Ozempic can impact fertility?

This is a good question to discuss with your doctor. Anecdotally it appears that Ozempic may have some effect, but there are no conclusive studies on Ozempic and fertility yet. Some speculate that Ozempic helps rebalance reproductive hormones, which can influence fertility, especially in people with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), but that is only a theory. It’s best to get personalized advice based on your health situation.

Is Ozempic safe to take if I’m planning to become pregnant?

Right now, Ozempic isn’t recommended for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive. It’s important to talk to your doctor about alternative options for managing your blood sugar or losing weight while you’re trying to get pregnant.

Tips for dealing with Ozempic side effects

When taking medications like Ozempic, knowing how to recognize and respond to side effects is important. Here are practical tips for navigating side effects. Be sure to discuss anything concerning with your doctor. 

When should I consult a doctor about side effects?

Consult your healthcare provider about any side effects that concern you, especially if they:

  • Disrupt your daily routine
  • Don’t go away after a few days
  • Get worse over time

A professional can help you determine if a side effect is something to worry about or give advice on managing it.

What are signs that I might be experiencing a serious side effect from Ozempic?

Ozempic usually comes with some stomach issues, but there are red flags that something could be seriously wrong, such as:

  • Intense nausea or vomiting that doesn’t stop
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Yellowing of your skin or eyes
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, such as swelling, hives, or trouble breathing
  • Blurred vision

If you experience any of these, call your doctor right away.

What dietary changes can I make to minimize Ozempic’s digestive side effects?

Ozempic can be tough on your digestion. Here are some eating tips that might help:

  • Eat smaller meals more often.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (water is best!).
  • Avoid fatty or greasy foods.
  • Go easy on spicy foods and alcohol.

Are there any over-the-counter medications that can help manage Ozempic side effects?
It’s best to talk to your doctor before taking any over-the-counter meds while on Ozempic. Some medications can interact with it. They might recommend something for occasional heartburn or constipation, but it’s best to get the okay first.

How often should I consult my doctor about side effects while taking Ozempic?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. It depends on how you’re feeling and how well-managed your condition is. Generally, you’ll see your doctor regularly while on Ozempic, and you can discuss any side effects you’re experiencing at those appointments. But don’t hesitate to reach out sooner if something new pops up or a condition worsens.

Here are some more tips for managing an upset stomach due to Ozempic.

How can Noom help manage Ozempic side effects?

Whether you take Ozempic to manage diabetes or for weight loss, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all guide. That’s why Noom offers personalized plans that guide you through the process and help you manage side effects via Noom Med or the GLP-1 Companion.

Individualized medical plans

If you get your Ozempic through Noom Med, you will be paired with a qualified clinician. They will review your personal goals and current health needs to create a plan that is right for you. The care team will also assist you with insurance and medication fulfillment. See if you qualify for Noom Med.

Access to a supportive care team

The Noom Med care team will help you navigate any side effects and offer emotional support and encouragement. Additionally, Noom Med includes features specifically designed to track symptoms and eating habits, making it easier for you to identify what improves or worsens your symptoms. 

Recipes and tracking tools to help plan meals that combat nausea

One of the cornerstones of Noom is its holistic approach to health. In addition to clinical services, Noom provides recipes and meal-tracking tools that empower you to craft meal plans that are gentle on the stomach and aimed at reducing incidences of nausea. 

Minimizing muscle loss

Noom’s tools make it easy to track your protein intake with tools and recipes, ensuring you reach your goals to preserve muscle. Additionally, Noom includes plans that incorporate strength training options for all levels that are both fun and effective for building and maintaining strength.

Behavioral support to foster habits reducing side effects

Behavior modification is another pillar of the Noom approach. The platform incorporates behavioral science to help you adopt habits that can minimize the side effects of Ozempic. For instance, the timing of meals and the inclusion of small, frequent meals rather than large ones can significantly manage nausea spells. Noom health coaches support you in implementing these habits consistently, aiming for long-term lifestyle changes beyond the duration of Ozempic use.

Combining Ozempic with Noom’s holistic approach can help you manage the side effects of Ozempic and succeed in your long-term weight loss journey.