Ozempic Dose Escalation
Ozempic (semaglutide) is a prescription drug for once-weekly injection for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. It has been shown to lower blood sugar and A1c levels and even lead to weight loss.
So far, so good, right?
But there’s a catch: Ozempic is also associated with several gastrointestinal side effects – nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In clinical trials, up to 15% of patients taking the full dose had to discontinue treatment due to these side effects.
This is where “dose escalation” comes into play. Dose escalation means that you start with a very low dose and increase it over time. This gives your body time to get used to the medication before you reach the full dose.
The starting dose is 0.25 mg once a week as a subcutaneous injection in the abdomen, thigh, or upper arm. The recommended dose for Ozempic is 0.5 mg once weekly and may be increased to 1 mg once weekly depending on blood sugar control and tolerability.
If you are using the medication for weight loss, your doctor may further increase the dose to 2 mg or 2.4 mg and slowly increase the weekly dose over a month.
Why does dose-escalation work?
Ozempic is a GLP-1 receptor agonist that works primarily by inhibiting gastric emptying, thus increasing the feeling of fullness after food intake and helping with weight loss. It is normal to experience side effects such as nausea, bloating, or abdominal discomfort for the first few weeks after starting Ozempic, but some of these will go away with time.
Gastrointestinal side effects are common during treatment with semaglutide. Therefore, it is recommended to start with a dosage of 0.25 mg and titrate to 0.5 and 1 mg for 4 weeks to assess efficacy and tolerability before further titrating to the maximum recommended dose of 1 mg.