Does Ozempic need to be refrigerated?

Ozempic, a brand-name diabetes medication, requires refrigeration before the first use. It should be stored between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). The storage conditions are crucial for maintaining the effectiveness of the medication. In this article, we will explore the storage guidelines for Ozempic and provide essential information to ensure proper handling of the medication.

Understanding Ozempic

Ozempic is a non-insulin injectable medication manufactured by Novo Nordisk. It is prescribed to improve blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. This once-weekly subcutaneous injection, available in a prefilled pen, offers a convenient option for managing diabetes.

The active ingredient in Ozempic is semaglutide, which belongs to the glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist class of medications. GLP-1 is a hormone released by the gut in response to food. It helps regulate glucose metabolism by stimulating insulin release from the pancreas and slowing gastric emptying.

Proper Storage of Ozempic

To maintain the potency of Ozempic, it is essential to adhere to the following storage guidelines:

Before First Use

  • Store Ozempic in the refrigerator (between 36°F to 46°F or 2°C to 8°C) until the first use.

After First Use

  • After the initial use, Ozempic can be stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature (between 59°F to 86°F or 15°C to 30°C) for up to 56 days.

It’s important to note that Ozempic is sensitive to extreme temperatures. Exposure to temperatures higher than 86°F (30°C) can render the medication ineffective and unsafe for use. If you reside in a hot climate, it is advisable to always store Ozempic in the refrigerator and utilize a medical-grade container when transporting the medication.

When not in use, be sure to keep the pen cap on, and ensure that the Ozempic solution remains clear and colorless.

Ozempic and Freezing

It is crucial to avoid freezing Ozempic or placing the pens directly next to the cooling element in the refrigerator. If frozen, the solution may break down, losing its effectiveness. Even if thawed, frozen Ozempic should be discarded, and a new pen should be obtained.

Shelf Life of Ozempic

The shelf life of Ozempic is 24 months. After this period, it should be disposed of in accordance with local regulations. It is recommended to consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider regarding the proper disposal method for Ozempic.

The pen used for administering Ozempic should be discarded after 56 days, regardless of whether it was stored in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Unused Ozempic pens can be used until the expiration date if stored correctly in the refrigerator.

Disposing of the Ozempic Pen and Needle

After each use, it is important to dispose of the Ozempic pen and needle properly. Immediately place them in an FDA-cleared sharps disposal container. Avoid disposing of the pen and needle in household trash.

If an FDA-cleared container is not available, use a heavy-duty plastic container that can be securely closed, preventing sharps from coming out. The container should be puncture-resistant and properly labeled to indicate hazardous materials. When the container is nearly full, follow the disposal guidelines in your community.

Side Effects and Precautions

Like any medication, Ozempic may cause side effects. Common ones include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Rare but serious side effects may include low blood glucose, changes in vision, pancreatitis, kidney problems, serious allergic reactions, and gallbladder problems. Consult your doctor about the potential side effects before starting Ozempic.

It is important to inform your physician about any existing medical conditions, such as kidney problems, gallbladder problems, pancreatitis, liver problems, a history of alcoholism, low blood sugar, or any other medical conditions. Ozempic should not be used by individuals with an allergy to semaglutide or any of the ingredients in the medication. It is also contraindicated for those with a history of medullary thyroid cancer or Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.

How Ozempic Works

Ozempic works by mimicking the effects of GLP-1. Administered as a weekly subcutaneous injection, it helps regulate glucose metabolism by stimulating insulin release and slowing gastric emptying. It should be noted that Ozempic is not intended for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

If you are taking other medications or supplements, it is important to inform your doctor. Some medications may interact with Ozempic, affecting its effectiveness.

Recommended Doses and Missed Dose Instructions

Ozempic is available in 0.5 mg or 1 mg doses. The recommended starting dose is typically 0.5 mg once weekly. If adequate blood sugar control is not achieved, the dose may be increased to 1 mg once weekly. In some cases, a higher dose of 2 mg may be required.

If you miss a dose of Ozempic, inject it as soon as you remember. However, if it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Avoid injecting a double dose to compensate for the missed one.

Using the Ozempic Pen

To properly use the Ozempic pen, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the pen from the refrigerator and allow it to reach room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Check the label to ensure it contains Ozempic.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Remove the pen cap by twisting it counterclockwise and pulling it straight off, ensuring not to discard it.
  4. Inspect the pen and verify that the solution is clear and colorless. If the solution is cloudy or contains particles, do not use the pen. Attach a new needle and check the dose flow.
  5. Select an injection site on your thigh, upper arm, or abdomen, and pinch a fold of skin.
  6. Insert the needle into the skin fold at a 45-degree angle.
  7. Push the plunger down until it stops. Avoid injecting if you notice blood in the needle or on the transparent window.
  8. Keep the needle in the skin for at least 6 seconds to ensure complete medication delivery.
  9. Withdraw the needle and release the skin fold.
  10. Securely screw the pen cap back on in a clockwise direction.
  11. Dispose of the used Ozempic pen in a sharps container.


Proper storage and handling of Ozempic are essential for maintaining its potency and effectiveness. Adhering to the storage guidelines, such as refrigeration and avoiding extreme temperatures, ensures the medication remains safe to use. Furthermore, appropriate disposal of the pen and needle after each use is crucial for safety and environmental reasons. Consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and guidance regarding the use of Ozempic.

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