Ozempic (semaglutide) is a glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. It is available in two strengths: 0.5 mg and 1 mg. Ozempic comes in a pre-filled, multi-dose pen that delivers doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg or 1 mg. So while the 1 mg Ozempic pen contains 1 mg of semaglutide, it can deliver doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg or 1 mg. Here is a closer look at how the Ozempic pen works and what doses it can deliver:
The Ozempic pen
The Ozempic pen contains 3 mL of Ozempic solution. Each 1 mg pen delivers doses of:
- 0.25 mg in 0.19 mL
- 0.5 mg in 0.37 mL
- 1 mg in 0.74 mL
The dose window on the pen shows the amount in mg for each dose. The pen is dialed to deliver the prescribed dose. So if a prescription is written for 0.5 mg weekly, the pen would be dialed to the 0.5 mg dose and 0.37 mL would be injected.
Delivering a 0.5 mg dose from a 1 mg pen
To summarize, while the 1 mg Ozempic pen contains 1 mg/mL solution of semaglutide, it can be dialed to deliver lower 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg doses. So yes, a 0.5 mg dose can be delivered from a 1 mg pen by turning the dose selector to 0.5 mg. This will deliver 0.37 mL containing 0.5 mg of semaglutide.
Starting with 0.25 mg dose
It is recommended to start at 0.25 mg once weekly for 4 weeks when initiating Ozempic. This allows the body to adjust to the effects of the medication. After 4 weeks at 0.25 mg, the dose can be increased to 0.5 mg if needed for glycemic control. The 1 mg pen allows for this starter 0.25 mg dose and titration up to the 0.5 mg and eventual 1 mg maintenance dose. Using the 1 mg pen from the start can allow patients to stay on the same pen as they titrate and increase their dose.
Benefits of the 1 mg pen
The key benefits of the 1 mg Ozempic pen include:
- Allows for delivery of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg or 1 mg doses
- Avoids having to switch between two pens when increasing dose
- Contains 3 mL of solution, allowing for up to 4 weeks of 1 mg doses
- Dial-a-dose design makes it easy to set the prescribed dose
- No mixing or reconstitution required
Proper storage and use
To ensure proper use of the Ozempic pen:
- Store unused pens in the refrigerator at 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). Do not freeze.
- After first use, store at room temperature no higher than 86°F (30°C) for up to 56 days.
- Inject Ozempic once weekly, on the same day each week, at any time of the day.
- Rotate injection sites each week between thighs, arms and abdomen.
- Use the pen needle provided with Ozempic. Needle is for one-time use only.
- Discard pen after 56 days, even if some medication remains.
In summary, the 1 mg Ozempic pen can deliver doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1 mg. So it allows flexibility in dosing Ozempic from initiation up to the maintenance dose based on patient needs. By using the 1 mg pen from the start, patients can potentially stay on the same device as their dose increases. Always follow prescriber instructions and the Ozempic medication guide for proper use of the pen and injecting doses.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the maximum dose of Ozempic?
The maximum recommended dose of Ozempic is 1 mg injected subcutaneously once weekly. The dose can be increased up to 1 mg if additional glycemic control is needed after at least 4 weeks on the 0.5 mg dose.
Can Ozempic be used with insulin?
Yes, Ozempic can be used together with insulin if needed. When used with insulin, the dose of insulin may need to be reduced to avoid hypoglycemia.
How long does it take for Ozempic to work?
Ozempic starts working shortly after the first dose, but the full effects on blood glucose levels may take up to 5 weeks to see. A1C reduction may continue over the first 3-6 months.
What if I miss a dose of Ozempic?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember within 5 days of when you were supposed to take it. If more than 5 days, skip the missed dose and take your next scheduled dose. Do not take two doses to make up for a missed dose.
Can I drink alcohol while taking Ozempic?
Alcohol does not directly interact with Ozempic, but it can affect blood glucose levels. It is best to drink alcohol in moderation, no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
Side Effects of Ozempic
The most common side effects of Ozempic include:
- Stomach pain
- Decreased appetite
These side effects are often mild and tend to decrease over time. Taking Ozempic with food or at a different time of day may help reduce gastrointestinal side effects.
More serious side effects may include:
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) – when used with insulin or sulfonylurea
- Kidney problems
- Severe allergic reactions
- Gallbladder problems
Contact your doctor right away if you experience severe side effects including persistent vomiting, abdominal pain, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, throat, tongue or lips.
Cost and Coverage of Ozempic
The retail cost of Ozempic ranges from about $850-$1200 per pen depending on the dose and pharmacy location. Fortunately, many health insurance plans cover a significant portion of the cost:
|Insurance Plan||Co-pay with Coupon|
|Medicare Part D||$10 – $47 per month|
|Most Commercial Plans||$25 – $100 per month|
Ozempic manufacturer Novo Nordisk also offers savings cards that can lower out-of-pocket costs to as little as $10 per month for eligible patients with commercial insurance. Uninsured patients may be able to obtain Ozempic at reduced costs through the Novo Nordisk patient assistance program if they meet income eligibility requirements.
Getting Started with Ozempic
Here is a step-by-step overview of getting started with Ozempic treatment:
- Get a prescription for Ozempic from your healthcare provider.
- Check your insurance coverage and out-of-pocket costs.
- Enroll in a savings card program if eligible.
- Obtain Ozempic pens and needles from a local pharmacy.
- Store pens in the refrigerator until first use.
- Follow prescriber instructions for injecting 0.25 mg starting dose.
- Increase dose to 0.5 mg and then 1 mg as prescribed.
- Inject Ozempic once weekly rotating injection sites.
- Eat healthy, exercise, and monitor blood sugar levels.
- Schedule regular follow-ups with your healthcare provider.
Ozempic can be very effective when used properly along with diet, exercise and other diabetes treatment. Working closely with your healthcare team can help ensure you get the most out of Ozempic therapy.
Lifestyle Changes to Make While Taking Ozempic
In addition to taking Ozempic as prescribed, making healthy lifestyle changes can help boost results:
- Follow a Diabetic Diet – Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
- Increase Physical Activity – Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise 5 days per week.
- Lose Excess Weight – Carrying extra pounds worsens diabetes. Aim to reach a healthy BMI.
- Reduce Stress – Find ways to manage stress each day like meditation, yoga or deep breathing.
- Take Extra Care of Feet – Check feet daily and see a podiatrist regularly to prevent complications.
- Monitor Blood Sugar – Check levels often and record to discuss with your provider.
- Keep Doctor Appointments – See your healthcare team regularly to ensure treatment stays on track.
Making Ozempic part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan offers the greatest chance of treatment success.
Ozempic Dosage Information
Here are some key facts about Ozempic dosing:
- Starting dose is 0.25 mg injected subcutaneously once weekly
- After 4 weeks, increase to 0.5 mg once weekly if needed for glycemic control
- Can further increase to 1 mg once weekly after at least 4 weeks on 0.5 mg dose
- Maximum recommended dose is 1 mg once weekly
- Take any day of the week, but on the same day each week
- Can be taken at any time of day, with or without meals
- If a dose is missed, take within 5 days. If more than 5 days, skip and take next regularly scheduled dose.
Always follow prescribed dosage instructions. Do not change your dose unless directed by your healthcare provider. Taking too much Ozempic can increase risks of side effects like nausea, vomiting and hypoglycemia.
Important Safety Information
Ozempic is not for use in patients with:
- A personal or family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2
- Severe gastrointestinal disease
- Severe kidney disease, end-stage renal disease, or are on dialysis
Ozempic may cause serious side effects including:
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Stop using Ozempic if pancreatitis occurs.
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) when used with insulin or sulfonylurea medicines. Serious side effects like seizures and loss of consciousness can happen. Test blood sugar levels as needed.
- Serious allergic reactions. Stop using Ozempic and get help right away if any symptoms of an allergic reaction occur.
- Kidney problems (kidney failure). Tell your health care provider if you have severe problems with your stomach like slowed emptying or vomiting.
- Sudden vision loss. Ozempic may cause diabetic retinopathy with vision changes. Get an eye exam if you have vision changes.
Before using Ozempic, tell your doctor about all medical conditions and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Taking Ozempic with a sulfonylurea or insulin may increase low blood sugar risk. The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and decreased appetite.
Seek emergency help for severe symptoms of allergic reaction, pancreatitis or low blood sugar. Report side effects or other issues with Ozempic to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
In summary, the 1 mg Ozempic pen contains 1 mg/mL semaglutide solution. But through its dial-a-dose design, it can deliver doses of 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg or 1 mg. So it provides dosing flexibility allowing a single pen to be used across the titration and maintenance phases of treatment. Always follow prescriber instructions on proper use, dosing, and injection technique. Combine Ozempic with a healthy lifestyle for best results. Speak to a healthcare provider about any questions or issues with taking Ozempic.