What is this medication?
Antidiabetic Agent, Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Receptor Agonist
OZEMPIC (Semaglutide) is officially indicated for the treatment of Diabetes mellitus type 2.
In rodents, semaglutide causes dose-dependent and treatment-duration-dependent thyroid C-cell tumors at clinically relevant exposures. It is unknown whether semaglutide causes thyroid C-cell tumors, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in humans as human relevance of semaglutide-induced rodent thyroid C-cell tumors has not been determined.
Semaglutide is contraindicated in patients with a personal or family history of MTC or in patients with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2). Counsel patients regarding the potential risk for MTC with the use of semaglutide and inform them of symptoms of thyroid tumors (eg, a mass in the neck, dysphagia, dyspnea, persistent hoarseness). Routine monitoring of serum calcitonin or using thyroid ultrasound is of uncertain value for early detection of MTC in patients treated with semaglutide.
How does this medication work?
OZEMPIC (Semaglutide) is a long-acting analog of human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) (an incretin hormone). Semaglutide works in multiple of ways to lower blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C. It stimulates the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin when blood glucose levels are high, it slows down gastric emptying, the rate at which glucose enters the blood after meals, and also helps lower hepatic glucose output by suppressing pancreatic glucagon secretion.
How should I take this medication?
SQ: Inject 0.25 mg subcutaneously once weekly for 4 weeks, then increase to 0.5 mg once weekly for 4 weeks, then increase to 1 mg once weekly if needed to reach target blood sugar. The lower initial dose of 0.25 mg weekly is intended to reduce gastric side effects but is not enough have any effect on blood sugar. If changing the day of administration is necessary, allow at least 48 hours between 2 doses.
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Before starting OZEMPIC (Semaglutide), make sure your physician is aware of any allergies, medications you currently take, if you have a history of bariatric surgery, diabetic retinopathy, gallbladder disease, kidney disease, a history of pancreatitis, are pregnant, or breastfeeding. If you suspect pancreatitis, discontinue immediately. Diabetic retinopathy has been reported and should be closely monitored in patients with a history of diabetic retinopathy. Hypoglycemia can occur when Semaglutide is combined with an insulin secretagogue or insulin. Monitor renal function in patients with renal impairment reporting severe adverse gastrointestinal reactions.
What if I miss a dose?
If a dosage is missed, then it should be administered as soon as possible if there is at least 48 hours before the next planned dosage. If there is less than 48 hours until your next dose, skip the missed dose. Continue with originally scheduled dosing schedule moving forward in either scenario.
How should I store this medication?
Keep refrigerated until the first time you use it. You should keep it in the refrigerator (between 36°F to 46°F or 2°C to 8°C) when it’s new and unused.
After you’ve used your pen for the first time, you can either store your pen for 56 days at room temperature (between 59ºF to 86ºF or 15ºC to 30ºC) or you can still keep it in the refrigerator for 56 days. Keep the pen cap on when it is not in use.
Don’t freeze the pen or use it if it has been frozen. Be sure to store it out of reach of children and pets. Throw away pen after 56 days (whether kept in the refrigerator or at room temperature), even if it still has product left in it. Write the disposal date on your calendar so you can keep track.
What are the possible side effects of using this medication?
Well tolerated, most side effects are transient and mild to moderate in nature. The most common side effects include increased levels of amylase (digests starch), gastrointestinal effects (diarrhea/gas/boating), increased serum lipase (digests fats), nausea, and abdominal pain.
Note this is not a complete list of side effects for OZEMPIC (Semaglutide), only common ones.