Patients with type 2 diabetes have the option of choosing one of various medications that have different mechanisms of action. Certain medications are known to be more effective, due to the manner in which the drugs work. Subsections offer an in-depth look at one of the popular medications prescribed for diabetics, Ozempic. Information is intended to help patients and caregivers be fully aware of the strengths, dosage, side effects, and drug interactions. Additionally, the information also offers a look at the mechanism of action, answering a common question – what is Ozempic used for and how does it work?

Overview of Ozempic

The branded name for semaglutide, Ozempic is a prescription medication and belongs to the category of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists. Medications of this category are known to work by mimicking the effects of the hormone GLP-1 in the body. The drug is typically used in conjunction with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. It is typically prescribed for patients who have been unable to control blood sugar levels with other medications.  Ozempic stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas, lowering blood sugar levels and also slowing down the absorption of glucose from the digestive tract. Additionally, the medication reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver, contributing to better blood sugar control.

Apart from lowering blood sugar levels, Ozempic is known to promote weight loss, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, and improve overall quality of life. The medication is not suitable for treating type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis. It is also not recommended for patients with a history of pancreatitis or thyroid cancer, and individuals with certain allergies.

Different forms of the GLP-1 receptor agonist

The drug is available as a solution for subcutaneous injection, in prefilled pens of various strengths. The different forms and strengths include:

Apart from the above formulations, Ozempic is also available in combination with other diabetes medications, including metformin.

Dosage of Ozempic

The actual dosage and frequency of the medication for type-2 diabetes varies and depends on different individual factors such as age, weight, kidney function, and existing medical conditions. The dosage is determined by healthcare providers and should be followed as prescribed.

The typical dosage of Ozempic starts at 0.25 mg once weekly for the first month, increases to 0.5 mg once weekly for maintenance. The medication is administered subcutaneously, injected just beneath the skin through a prefilled pen device. The drug can be taken either with or without food, and best practices in administering injections include rotation of the injection site every week to reduce the possibility of skin irritation.

In the event of missed doses, patients can take it immediately, subject to the condition that there is a gap of two days before the next scheduled dose. If the gap is less than 2 days before the next scheduled dose, the missed dose is to be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule is to be resumed. Patients are not to take a double dose to make up for a skipped dose.

What is Ozempic used for and how does it work?

It is now time to answer the above question about the mechanism of action of Ozempic.  GLP-1 is a natural hormone that is produced by the intestines in response to food intake, and the drug, as outlined above, mimics the effects of the hormone. The medication binds to and activates GLP-1 receptors in various tissues throughout the body. As a result of this, various physiological responses are triggered helping improve blood sugar control. The actions can be classified as given below:

Commonly reported side effects

All medications come with the likelihood of undesirable outcomes and Ozempic is no exception. Commonly reported outcomes that are mild in nature include the following:

In addition to the above, there is also the possibility of adverse effects, including:

Possible drug interactions

In addition to undesirable outcomes, the drug may also interact with other medications, supplements, and foods, with an impact on effectiveness and may also increase the risk of side effects. Possible drug interactions of Ozempic include the following:

Ozempic may affect the immune system, and intake with medications that also affect the immune system may increase the risk of infections or other immunity related issues.++++

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