Is Ozempic Safe: A 101 Guide

In the UK, 4.4 million people are living with diabetes - and around 40% of those with diabetes are dealing with poor mental health, and may be struggling to manage their diabetes. 

The good news is that there are effective medications available to help treat diabetes and get it under control. Ozempic is an effective medication used to treat type-2 diabetes, but is Ozempic safe to take? That’s what we’ll be exploring today. Read on to find out:

  • What Ozempic is 
  • Whether Ozempic is FDA, EMA and MHRA -approved
  • The potential short-term risks 
  • The potential long-term risks 
  • Whether you can overdose on Ozempic
  • The Benefits of Ozempic
  • What the science says about the safety of Ozempic

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a medication used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It contains the ingredient semaglutide, which belongs to a class of drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists. GLP-1 is a hormone that stimulates insulin release - which in turn, regulates your blood sugar levels. It can also reduce your appetite and slow down the pace at which your stomach empties. 

It can ultimately help to lower blood sugar levels and improve glycemic control. It has also been proven to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events (for example, a heart attack or stroke) in those with type-2 diabetes and heart disease. 

You take Ozempic in the form of a weekly injection - you inject it into your stomach, thigh or upper arm. Your healthcare provider will guide you through the process and instruct you on how to take it safely. Learn more about how Ozempic works here! 

Is Ozempic FDA, MHRA and EMA- approved for Weight Loss?

In short, no - Ozempic is not FDA, MHRA or EMA -approved for weight loss purposes. However, semaglutide, which is the active ingredient in Ozempic, is approved for weight loss in the form of Wegovy. Ozempic as a brand is only meant to be used for the management of Type 2 diabetes.

Another FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved weight-loss medication is Saxenda, which contains the active ingredient liraglutide. These medications can help you to lose weight by slowing stomach emptying and decreasing your appetite. 

Ozempic is, however, FDA, MHRA and EAM-approved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease. 

Short-Term Ozempic Risks

When taking Ozempic, you may notice some short-term side effects. The more common side effects of Ozempic include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain 
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhoea 

There is also a risk of having an allergic reaction. If you are having a severe allergic reaction (e.g. trouble breathing or swelling), seek medical attention immediately.

The good news is that allergic reactions are rare - fewer than 1% of people who inject Ozempic experience an injection site reaction (rash or itching). 

A study assessed 696,089 new users of GLP-1 RA medications and found that the number of allergic reactions in those taking semaglutide was just 3.6 per 10,000 years of use.

Long-Term Ozempic Risks

There is a chance that Ozempic can cause long-term complications, including disordered eating, hypoglycemia, acute kidney injury, and gastrointestinal side effects. Let’s explore this further: 

Disordered Eating

There is a risk that Ozempic and other weight loss drugs can trigger disordered eating and eating disorders. It’s important to note that although Ozempic is not prescribed in the UK for weight loss, many celebrities do in fact take the medication off-label for this purpose.

There has been a spotlight on weight loss drugs in recent times - which may be ultimately reinforcing the societal pressure of being thin. 

You should take Ozempic for health reasons. If you find yourself having uncontrollable thoughts about your weight, adopting an ‘all or nothing mindset’ around food, or constantly body checking, you should consider seeking support. 

Hypoglycemia

In some cases, Ozempic can cause hypoglycemia. This risk is increased if you take Ozempic with insulin or diabetes tablets called insulin secretagogues such as sulfonylureas (e.g. gliclazide, glipizide, glyburide).

When used alone, however, the risk of hypoglycemia when taking Ozempic is low. In clinical trials, hypoglycemia occurred in under 3.8% of patients taking Ozempic without other medication. 

However, in patients who took Ozempic with insulin, the risk increased to up to 29.8% - with severe hypoglycemia occurring in up to 10.7% of patients. 

So, the risk is low when you take Ozempic alone - but it may increase if you take the drug with diabetes medication. It may also increase if you use counterfeit Ozempic pens. 

At Dr Frank’s, our team include diabetes specialist nurses who work in NHS hospitals as well - and will safely guide you on your journey to a healthier weight and avoid these risks. 

Gastrointestinal (GI) side effects

GLP-1 medications, including Ozempic, can lead to gastrointestinal issues - some of the more common side effects include nausea and vomiting. However, in some instances, you may experience more serious issues such as intestinal blockages.

Some rare GI complications of Ozempic may include: 

  • Gastroparesis
  • Pancreatitis 
  • Gallbladder disease 
  • Intestinal blockage 

If you notice any severe GI symptoms, seek medical support.  

Thyroid Cancer

You may have heard that Ozempic can increase the risk of thyroid cancer, which was detected in animal studies. However, current research can find no link between thyroid cancer and GLP-1 medications in humans.

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Mounjaro

GIP & GLP-1 Medication

Prices start from:

£205.00

£149.00/month

£56 off when you sign-up to our newsletter
Free Shipping
Lose up to 15% in the first year
Cancel anytime
Dose escalation available
Start Assessment

Can You Overdose on Ozempic?

Yes - you can take too much Ozempic. If you do take too much of the medication, you may be at risk of low blood sugar, depending on your other medications. Severe hypoglycaemia can lead to loss of consciousness - and in rare cases, death. 

If you take a significantly higher dose than prescribed, you may also be at risk of kidney failure due to excessive vomiting and diarrhea leading to dehydration. 

Always take GLP-1 medications such as Ozempic as instructed by your doctor. If you think you may have taken too much Ozempic, seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

What Does The Evidence Say About The Safety of Ozempic?

In short, yes Ozempic is generally considered safe when you use it as prescribed. A systematic review revealed that the drug poses minimal risk for thyroid cancer, and is effective in diabetes and obesity treatment. 

Around 10% of patients experience adverse effects when taking it, which is why regular monitoring is so important. Our team of doctors and nurses at Dr Frank’s Weight Loss clinic can provide you with ongoing support after prescribing GLP-1 Medication. We can make the process as safe and effective as possible.

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Susan lost 5 Stone in just 12 months

“For the first time, losing weight has been both easy and successful in my life.”

Cadi lost 3 Stone in just 12 months

“If you're aiming to lose weight or manage polycystic ovaries, go for this program. It's undoubtedly the best decision.”

Ethan lost 5 Stone in just 5 months

“I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin. It's a newfound sense of confidence and well-being that has positively impacted every aspect of my life.”

Dimitra lost 4 Stone in just 8 months

“I cannot recommend this programme enough; it truly works! It's the sole solution that has been effective after my long struggle.”

Lauren lost 5 Stone in just 8 months

“I would advise anyone considering this programme that it's a transformative experience. It has allowed me to embrace life and fully enjoy my twenties.”

Susan lost 5 Stone in just 12 months

“For the first time, losing weight has been both easy and successful in my life.”

Cadi lost 3 Stone in just 12 months

“If you're aiming to lose weight or manage polycystic ovaries, go for this program. It's undoubtedly the best decision.”

Ethan lost 5 Stone in just 5 months

“I’ve never felt so comfortable in my own skin. It's a newfound sense of confidence and well-being that has positively impacted every aspect of my life.”

Dimitra lost 4 Stone in just 8 months

“I cannot recommend this programme enough; it truly works! It's the sole solution that has been effective after my long struggle.”

Lauren lost 5 Stone in just 8 months

“I would advise anyone considering this programme that it's a transformative experience. It has allowed me to embrace life and fully enjoy my twenties.”