There’s no doubt about it, semaglutide (Ozempic) is the blockbuster medication of the 2020s. Prescribed for both type 2 diabetes and obesity, if your doctor decides the most in-demand medicine in the world is appropriate for you then you’ll need to know how to inject it. Here’s how to make the most of your medication and use it safely…
What is Ozempic?
Ozempic is a prescription medication called semaglutide which is used to treat type 2 diabetes and obesity.1 It belongs to the drug class of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.1-6 This means that it mimics the action of the body’s own naturally occurring GLP-1 hormone that helps to regulate blood sugar levels and appetite which can lead to weight loss.4-6
How is Ozempic taken?
Ozempic is taken as a once weekly injection into the subcutaneous tissue just under the skin of the stomach, thigh, or upper arm.1-3 If you’re new to using Ozempic, your doctor, nurse practitioner, credentialled diabetes educator or pharmacist will show you how to inject Ozempic correctly. It’s important to take Ozempic on the same day each week and never to take more than prescribed.1-3
What dose of Ozempic should I take?
The pharmacist will label your medication with your according to the prescription your doctor has written. Usually, people start on 0.25mg once a week for four weeks.1 After that, they will see their doctor who may advise a dose increase to 0.5mg once a week.1 After another four weeks at that dose, your doctor will decide if your treatment is on track or whether to increase the dose to 1mg once a week.1 Always talk to your doctor before increasing your dose of Ozempic and only do so under medical supervision.1-3
Ozempic is available in two sizes of pre-filled injection pen: a 1.5 mL pen for people on a 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg weekly dose and a 3mL pen for people on a 1mL weekly dose. 1 Both pens contain the same semaglutide medication at a concentration of 1.34 mg/mL.1
How do I give myself an Ozempic injection?
To inject Ozempic, follow these steps:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water;
- Choose a clean, dry injection site on a fleshy spot on your abdomen, front of your thighs or upper arm;
- Visually inspect the pen to make sure the Ozempic liquid is clear and colourless;
- Remove the cap from the Ozempic pen and attach a new disposable needle, taking care to remove the two caps;
- Turn the dose selector so you can see the prescribed dose in the counter window and hold the pen against the area you’re injecting into;
- Press the dose button until the dose counter reaches 0;
- Slowly count to six then carefully lift the pen away from your body to remove the needle;
- Dispose of the needle safely in a sharps container, recap your Ozempic pen and store it in the fridge until next week. CMI NN
Any other tips for injecting Ozempic?
As with giving yourself any kind of subcutaneous injection, you need to rotate injection sites.2-3 If you injected into the left side of your belly last week, try the front of your right thigh this week and so on. This will help to prevent skin irritation. Always avoid injecting into areas that are bruised, red, or swollen.
It’s pretty difficult to go wrong with giving yourself a subcutaneous injection using a prefilled pen device so long as you don’t inject Ozempic into a muscle or vein or mix any other substance (including insulin) into the same injection. 2-3 And never share your Ozempic pen or needles with anyone else.2
If you have any questions or concerns about administering Ozempic, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
How do I store Ozempic?
Ozempic should be stored in the fridge between 2°C to 8°C.2 When you have it dispensed at the pharmacy they should present it in a silver fridge bag to keep it cool on the way home and remind you to put it in the fridge. Do not freeze Ozempic.2
1. Semaglutide. Australian Medicines Handbook. July, 2022. Accessed November 14, 2023. https://amhonline-amh-net-au.eu1.proxy.openathens.net/chapters/endocrine-drugs/drugs-diabetes/glucagon-like-peptide-1-analogues/semaglutide#semaglutide-dosage
2. Ozempic Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) summary. Accessed November 13, 2023. https://www.ebs.tga.gov.au/ebs/picmi/picmirepository.nsf/pdf?OpenAgent&id=CP-2020-CMI-01750-1&d=20231114172310101
3. Novo Nordisk. Ozempic. [nd]. Accessed November 13, 2023. https://www.ozempic.com
4. Suran M. As Ozempic’s popularity soars, here’s what to know about semaglutide and weight loss. JAMA. 2023;329(19):1627–1629. Accessed November 13, 2023. doi:10.1001/jama.2023.2438
5. Jeong D, Priefer R. Anti-obesity weight loss medications: Short-term and long-term use.
Life Sciences. 2022:306. Accessed November 13, 2023. doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2022.120825.
6. Phillips A, Clements J. Clinical review of subcutaneous semaglutide for obesity. J Clin Pharm Ther.2022;47;2:184–93. Accessed November 13, 2023. doi:10.1111/jcpt.13574