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How to manage the most common Ozempic side effects

Minimise the impact of side effects while taking Ozempic.

Common Ozempic Side Effects: What to Expect and How to Manage Them | Juniper

All medications can cause side effects but these vary in degrees of severity from person to person. While side effects might be unavoidable, there are ways to manage these when using prescription medications.

Something you may experience while using Ozempic is side effects — in fact, these are generally to be expected when you first start using this medication.

But, with this in mind, you may be wondering what is considered normal and not-so-normal when it comes to this, so we've created a handy guide for you on all things side effects so you can learn how to avoid, or at least, minimise the impact of these.

What is Ozempic?

Ozempic is a prescription medication containing the active ingredient semaglutide, which is licensed for the treatment of diabetes in the UK as it helps regulate blood sugar levels [1]. This medication comes in the form of a pre-filled injection pen and is administered once a week for blood sugar control.

What are the chances of Ozempic side effects?

As with most medications, Ozempic can cause some side effects or an allergic reaction. The good news is that these are generally mild and temporary as your body adjusts to the treatment, and are only expected in 1 in 10 (or 10%) of Ozempic patients.

As with any medicine, it’s very important to talk to your prescriber about potential Ozempic side effects before you start taking the medication. And, be sure to ask for advice from your prescriber or trusted healthcare professional if a side effect is bothering you or doesn't go away after some time.


It's important to consult a medical professional before deciding on whether Ozempic is right for you.

It's important you tell your healthcare provider or prescriber about the other medications you use before you start a course of prescription drugs so that they can understand the drug interactions, drug information and your dose or medication schedule in the context of your medical history and overall health.

Common side effects of using Ozempic

Like all medications, Ozempic may cause side effects in some people. These side effects are generally mild, temporary, and can be managed or minimised. But, if you have ongoing side effects, speak with your prescriber to see how you can address them.

It's important to note that some side effects of Ozempic can be serious — while these are uncommon, they are still a risk.

In very rare cases, should your side effects be acute, or if you have symptoms of a severe allergic reaction — such as swelling of your face, lips or throat, problems breathing, trouble swallowing or a rapid heartbeat, we recommend seeking immediate emergency medical help through your GP or nearest A&E service.

Changes to your sense of taste

Ozempic can affect the sense of taste in some people and there are clinical studies currently looking into why can happen [2]. But, in general, only a small proportion of people report that some foods taste slightly differently when they're taking the medication.

How to manage it

We don’t know exactly how or why Ozempic has this rare side effect for some and currently, this isn't much to be done about this. Anecdotally, patients using Ozempic have noted that trying unusual or novel foods may help improve one's taste perception.

Diarrhoea, acid reflux and heartburn

Some Ozempic side effects relate to your stomach and digestive system. These side effects are usually very mild and go away as you go through your treatment and your body adapts to the medication.

How to manage it

Try eating smaller, bland meals and staying hydrated during this time to give your digestive system time to get used to the medication.

Burping and gas or flatulence

Burping, gas and flatulence are usually caused by small amounts of air that builds up in your digestive system. This air build-up is a totally normal part of how your body digests food.

Our bodies release the air through passing gas or burping. As Ozempic slows the rate at which your stomach digests food, it may cause a small amount of additional gas build-up.

How to manage it

Usually, these symptoms are extremely mild and go away as your body gets used to the drug. If they persist, or if you simply want to avoid them, your prescriber can suggest over-the-counter medicines, like anti-flatulants and antacids, to address these symptoms.


Nausea was the most common side effect of Ozempic noted in clinical studies [3]. This is often described as an unsettled feeling in your stomach — or an upset stomach where you feel like you may need to vomit, but it may not always lead to vomiting.

You might feel unwell for a short period at the beginning of the treatment but, for the vast majority of people, this feeling tends to go away within the first few days or weeks as your body quickly adjusts to the medication.

While severe nausea is rare, we recommend reaching out to your prescriber or healthcare professional if you're experiencing it.

How to manage it

Some simple lifestyle changes should help to ease your nausea. We recommend you:

  • Get plenty of fresh air
  • Take regular sips of a cold drink
  • Drink ginger or peppermint tea
  • Eat foods containing ginger — such as ginger biscuits
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals
  • Avoid drinking fruit juice as the high acidity can aggravate your stomach

If your nausea becomes too inconvenient, your prescriber might recommend over-the-counter medicines — there are a number of different medications available at pharmacies that can help alleviate these symptoms.


Vomiting can be another side effect of Ozempic as your body adjusts to the medication but the symptoms usually go away on their own.

If you're experiencing severe symptoms such as vomiting and/or stomach pain, please seek medical assistance through your usual healthcare provider as soon as possible.

How to manage it

It's important to stay hydrated if you're suffering from vomiting, so keep drinking frequent sips of water throughout the day. It often helps to eat bland, low-fat foods — like toast or rice — as well as foods with high water content, such as soups. Avoiding greasy meals and sugary foods will also help.

Speak with your prescriber if the symptoms are bothering you, or if you just want to minimise their impact. Over-the-counter medications are also available at most pharmacies.

Dizziness or lightheadedness

Whilst rarely reported in clinical studies, Ozempic can cause dizziness or lightheadedness and you may experience this at the beginning of starting your medication [3]. The good news is that it's rarely a major issue and usually only a short-term symptom — you should feel fine again once your body gets used to the medication.

Often, this is a secondary symptom caused by dehydration or low blood sugar. If you're experiencing severe dizziness, however, please seek medical help as soon as possible.

How to manage it

  • Lie down until the dizziness passes, then get up slowly
  • Move slowly and carefully
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
  • Try eating a biscuit or dry snack containing sugar
  • Avoid coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and drugs


Fatigue can have different impacts — from causing you to feel tired or experience sore muscles to dizziness and headaches. Usually, fatigue is not a side effect itself but a secondary symptom.

For example, if you're vomiting or eating too low a calorie diet, your body may not be getting the level of energy it needs, making you feel tired.

How to manage it

Eating healthily and fuelling your body, ensuring you have adequate rest and that you are sleeping well, and physical exercise can combat sore muscles along with relaxation techniques — and remember to stay hydrated.


Headaches can be a common side effect of Ozempic. These usually pass very early after taking the first few doses and are often caused by dehydration. Should you continue to experience headaches, contact your prescriber for assistance.

How to manage it

  • Stay hydrated by increasing your water intake — you should aim for at least 2L of fluid daily
  • Relax and take needed rest
  • Take pain relief, as needed

Abdominal pain or constipation

Stomach pain can be caused by a few different reasons including cramping, constipation, bloating or even diarrhoea. Like with many Ozempic side effects, these may resolve by themselves after a short time.

If you're experiencing severe stomach pain, call your doctor or seek immediate medical assistance from your nearest emergency healthcare provider.

How to manage it

Abdominal pain can be unsettling, but there is a lot you can do to help! Start by eating smaller meals to help curb any painful bloating feeling. Adding foods high in fibre such as apples, beans or dried fruits will help to relieve any constipation. Be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.

If this is still not helping, speak to your prescriber who can recommend over-the-counter medication from your local pharmacy to help relieve the symptoms of abdominal pain.

Minimising side effects of Ozempic

To reassure you, these side effects are only expected in 10% of patients. And, your prescriber will try to minimise your side effects by building you up to the full therapeutic dosage of Ozempic over a number of weeks.

By starting on a low dose of 0.25mg, your body has the chance to get used to the drug before the next dose is increased to 0.5 mg.

Please note that you should never take more than one dose at a time and as with all prescription drugs, always follow the dosing instructions given by your prescriber.

Serious side effects of Ozempic

These uncommon side effects can affect a small group of patients — usually fewer than 1 in 100. If these do occur please seek medical assistance as soon as possible.


Acute pancreatitis is a condition where the pancreas becomes inflamed (swollen) over a short period of time. The pancreas is a small organ, located behind the stomach, that helps with digestion.

Most people with acute pancreatitis start to feel better within about a week and have no further problems. Just watch out for pain in the centre of your stomach, as well as vomiting and fever.

In trials, it has been shown that only 0.3% of participants developed pancreatitis while taking Ozempic. If these symptoms occur, please seek medical attention immediately.


This is defined as a disease of the retina in the eye. This can lead to blurred vision, patchy vision, eye pain or sudden vision loss.

Diabetic patients are most likely to get this due to high sugar levels which can damage the retina. Like with all the serious side effects, these are quite uncommon. However, if you do experience any of these symptoms please seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Aim to maintain steady blood sugar levels through eating a healthy, balanced diet and regular eye checks.

What should I avoid while taking Ozempic?

It probably goes without saying, but sharing the injection can spread infection or illness from one person to another.

In terms of food, you don’t need to avoid any specific types while using Ozempic. But, if you're experiencing nausea, there are some nausea-busting foods, like the BRAT diet, that you may find helpful to consume

If you drink alcohol, your prescriber can explain in detail how much may be safe for you to drink during your programme. While Ozempic isn't known to interact with alcohol, both Ozempic and alcohol can lower your blood sugar levels, so let your prescriber know if you drink alcohol regularly.

Ozempic contraindications and warnings

Ozempic can be contraindicated in certain people. These include people with hypersensitivity to the active substance or to any of the excipients, patients with type 1 diabetes and some patients with congestive heart failure.

Like with all medications, and for certain people, Ozempic should be used with caution. Those who should use Ozempic with caution include those with diabetic retinopathy, pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, kidney problems, and stomach/intestinal disorders — such as Gastroparesis and digestion problems.

Pregnancy, reproductive potential, and breastfeeding

There is very limited information on the use of Ozempic in pregnant women. Women of childbearing potential are recommended to use contraception when using Ozempic.

Ozempic shouldn't be used during pregnancy. If you are planning to conceive, or if pregnancy occurs, Ozempic should be discontinued. Ozempic should be stopped at least 2 months before a planned pregnancy.

Ozempic can be excreted in breast milk. Therefore, Ozempic shouldn't be used during breastfeeding, as there is no substantive data on safety for breastfed infants.

History of medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2 (MEN 2)

It is not known if Ozempic causes thyroid tumours or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people. Symptoms of this can be a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath.

In studies with rodents, Ozempic (and medicines that work like Ozempic) caused thyroid tumours, however, we know that rodents are more sensitive to this [5]. The relevance for humans is considered to be low, but can't be excluded entirely.

Don't use Ozempic if you, or any of your family, have ever had MTC, or if you have an endocrine system condition called Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2 (MEN 2).

Type 1 diabetes

Ozempic, along with other GLP-1 agonists, are licensed for the treatment of adults with type 2 diabetes. Although some studies have found that this drug class of medication can help people with type 1 diabetes to reduce weight and lower their insulin dose.

Proper use of the Ozempic treatment

Ozempic must be used in accordance with the dosage, usage and instructions provided to you by your prescriber. As with all prescription medicines, it can be harmful if it isn't used according to the instructions given by your prescriber or if it is taken by someone who it wasn't prescribed for.

This can lead to serious side effects and risk of harm. It's important to always follow the dosage and timetable of injections given by your prescriber and to keep the medication safely stored away.

Before taking Ozempic

Before you use Ozempic, always read the leaflet from the manufacturer that comes inside the pack before you take your first dose and be sure to discuss all of the above with your prescriber.

While Ozempic is licensed for the treatment of diabetes in the UK, you might be wondering what GLP-1 medication you can use in conjunction with lifestyle changes for weight loss, and it's a medication called Wegovy.

Wegovy, which contains the same active ingredient as Ozempic called semaglutide, is a clinically proven weight loss medication that mimics the GLP-1 hormone to help regulate blood sugar levels, increase satiety and keep you feeling fuller for longer.

This medication is suitable for adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30+, or 27+ with weight-related health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, PCOS, asthma or high cholesterol.

Juniper's Weight Reset Programme combines semaglutide medication with personalised health coaching and lifestyle changes to help you lose weight and keep it off in the long term.

While Wegovy helps target areas of the brain that control appetite, our clinical team also provides you with the tools needed to achieve a healthy and sustainable lifestyle with health coaches and pharmacists, which will help you kick your weight loss goals long after you stop taking medication.