All You Need to Know About Ozempic

All You Need to Know About Ozempic

New ways to manage diabetes and improve blood sugar levels have been developed with the emergence of modern lifestyles and diets. Among those is a drug called Ozempic, which passed clinical trials and received FDA approval in 2017.

To find out whether Ozempic might be right for you, keep reading below.

Ozempic Frequently Asked Questions

Ozempic is the known brand of the generic drug Semaglutide, a subcutaneous injection commonly used to manage type 2 diabetes. It is a human glucagon-like peptide-1 that speeds up sugar metabolism by boosting insulin secretion.

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic works with the body’s natural ability to lower blood sugar levels and hemoglobin A1C results, a test that detects a prediabetes and type 2 diabetes state.

Simply put, it works by releasing its insulin while also stimulating the release of your body’s insulin. It kicks in when your blood sugar is low so that your body can slow down stomach digestion—this, in turn, reduces the amount of sugar released from your liver.

How Do You Take Ozempic?

The typical Ozempic dosage is once a week, with or without food. Patients will use their pen to inject the medicine into their abdomen, upper arm, or thigh. Consult your healthcare provider if you’re taking it for the first time.

The typical starting dose is 0.25 mg once a week for the first 4 weeks and is then increased to 0.5-1 mg in your fifth week. Discuss your dosing schedule with your doctor. It would be best to set a specific day for your medication each week so you don’t miss taking it.

If you miss a dose, take the missed dose as soon as possible within 5 days. If more than 5 days have passed, forget about the missed dose and take the next dose on schedule.

How Do You Store an Ozempic Pen?

A new, unopened Ozempic pen must be stored in the refrigerator between 36-46°F or 2-8°C and should not be frozen. Opened and used pens, on the other hand, must be kept at 59-86ºF or 15-30ºC room temperature or in the refrigerator with the same temperature for the unused ones.

To be on the safe side, always label or mark the one you are currently using so that you don’t end up having multiple opened pens.

When kept at the desired storage temperature and sealed with its cap, a used Ozempic pen can last for up to 56 days. Unopened ones last until the expiration date if kept in the fridge.

Ozempic, just like insulin, is sensitive to heat and light and as such must be kept away from such elements.

What Are the Contraindications?

Ozempic is used to improve blood glucose levels and has been proven to be effective in managing type 2 diabetes, but it comes with treatment limitations, risks, and indications for drug interactions. It should not be taken by people with:

  • A health or family history of thyroid tumors
  • MTC or medullary thyroid carcinoma
  • MEN or multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome
  • History of diabetic retinopathy
  • A plan to become pregnant or breastfeed or who are already pregnant or breastfeeding

What Are the Side Effects?

Ozempic is a prescription drug that comes with common side effects. Seek immediate help from your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Frequent hypoglycemia
  • Severe pain in the stomach area (pancreatitis)
  • Changes in vision
  • Excessive thirst (dehydration)
  • Frequent urination (which can also signal a kidney problem)
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis

How Does Ozempic Affect Weight and Cardiovascular Health?

The positive effects on major cardiovascular events had been presented in a PIONEER 6 clinical trial. It was concluded to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or death in adults with type 2 diabetes.

What’s more, Ozempic helps decrease appetite by slowing down digestion. As a result, some people with diabetes use it to lose weight. However, Ozempic is not FDA-approved for such use and can only be prescribed as an off-label drug for weight loss.

At the end of the day, it is best to talk to your doctor first before using it for weight loss to consider dosage adjustments and possible risks.

How Much Does It Cost?

The average cost of Ozempic in the United States is $856 per 2mg/1.5mL vial. But this may vary based on the state, insurance plan coverage, demand, stock availability, and special discount entitlement.

Is Ozempic Covered by Insurance?

Some private and government health insurance policies cover the patient expense of Ozempic prescriptions. Medicare is one, and the other is Novo Nordisk A/S.

  • 85% of Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage policies cover Ozempic. The typical Co-pay range is $25 to $933. Check your specific coverage with the institution.
  • Novo Nordisk A/S offers eligible commercially insured patients with coverage for Ozempic of up to $25 savings for a 28-day fill or $150 per month. They also have a 3-month assistance program with a maximum discount of $450.

Are There Patient Assistance Programs for Ozempic?

Ozempic patient assistance programs are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. They offer the medication discounted or for free to underinsured, uninsured, and low-income residents who meet specific eligibility requirements. Here are some of them:

Novo Nordisk Patient Support Program

The Novo Nordisk Patient program caters to uninsured US residents diagnosed with diabetes and those living below the 400% federal poverty line. It also offers Medicare Co-pay assistance for the Ozempic Pen Pack.

NovoCare Patient Support Program

One must be a US resident and have a diabetes diagnosis to be eligible for the NovoCare patient assistance program for Ozempic injection and Co-pay assistance. The hotline for diabetes is 844-Novo4Me (844-668-6463).

Use Ozempic to Manage Diabetes

Taking insulin and other type 2 diabetes drugs requires more than just complying with the intake schedule and dosage. Proper diet and exercise—plus adhering to a healthy, no-vice lifestyle—are crucial in managing blood sugar levels.

Still, it’s important to ensure that you never run out of stock. For a convenient shopping experience and to make sure you always have a supply of Ozempic, buy your medications from PharmaServe.

Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS is a practicing clinical pharmacist that works in primary care. He supports other members of the healthcare team including physicians, mid-level providers, nurses, and other clinical staff. He also likes to use his drug knowledge to inform his patients and the public about the benefits and risks they can expect from their medications. His clinical specialties include: anticoagulation, diabetes management, and psychiatric care.

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