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3rd pt of our extensive review of Ozempic examines potential side effects

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Ozempic®: Potential Side effects

Part 3


Ozempic®, or semaglutide, is a medication commonly used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and can also help with weight loss. While it is generally well-tolerated and effective in managing blood sugar levels and weight control, like any medication, it can have side effects.


Common side effects of Ozempic® includes gastrointestinal symptoms. nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, and constipation are among the reported issues. These side effects often occur early in the treatment and may diminish over time as the body adjusts. Starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it can sometimes help minimise gastrointestinal discomfort.


Hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar, is a potential concern, especially when Ozempic® is used in combination with other anti-diabetic medications that also lower blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include shakiness, sweating, confusion, and dizziness. Individuals on Ozempic should be educated on recognising and managing hypoglycaemia, including having a plan for the administration of glucose or other sources of rapidly absorbed carbohydrates.


Injection site reactions are common with Ozempic® since it is administered via subcutaneous injection. Redness, swelling, or itching at the injection site are typical, and proper injection technique, as well as rotating injection sites, can help minimize these reactions.


Weight loss is a potential side effect of Ozempic®. While this can be beneficial for individuals with type 2 diabetes who are overweight, unintended, and excessive weight loss should be monitored, and adjustments to the treatment plan may be necessary.


There have been rare reports of pancreatitis associated with GLP-1 receptor agonists, the class of drugs to which Ozempic® belongs. Pancreatitis is a serious condition characterised by severe abdominal pain and requires immediate medical attention. Individuals with a history of pancreatitis or those at an increased risk should not be prescribed Ozempic®.


Concerns have been raised about the potential for thyroid C-cell tumours, including medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC), in rodent studies with GLP-1 receptor agonists. However, the relevance of these findings to humans remains unclear, and the overall risk is considered low. Regular monitoring for thyroid abnormalities is recommended, and individuals with a personal or family history of thyroid cancer should discuss this with their healthcare professional.


Allergic reactions to Ozempic® are uncommon but can occur. Signs of an allergic reaction may include rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness, or difficulty breathing. Any indication of an allergic response should be promptly reported to a healthcare professional.


In my personal experience as a pharmacist, I have encountered two patients with a history of mental health problems (e.g., bipolar) having a relapse after they started Ozempic®. While rare, this should be taken into consideration for people with a history of mental health problems who are consider Ozempic®. This list of side effects is not exhaustive, and individual experiences can vary.


Covid-19 booster and flu vaccines at Whelehans

If living with diabetes or obesity, you are more at risk of serious illness from influenza or Covid-19 and the best way to stay safe is to get vaccinated. Whelehans Pearse St offer a weekly walk in Covid-19 booster clinic. You can get your Flu vaccine and Covid Booster on the same day at Whelehans Pharmacy. Whelehans Pharmacy Clonmore offer the Flu vaccine too. You can book conveniently on the Whelehans website (€5 off flu if booked online but many groups are free of charge). Kids flu vaccines (2 to 12 years) are available too.


Next week…I discuss how to use Ozempic®.


Disclaimer: Ozempic® is only available on prescription; this article only gives general information so speak to your health provider whether it is suitable for you as it does not suit all patients 


For comprehensive and free health advice and information call in to Whelehans, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore). Email queries to Find us on Facebook

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