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How to Relieve Nausea While Taking Ozempic

Published on
Updated on
How to Relieve Nausea While Taking Ozempic

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Ozempic is a GLP-1 agonist medication used for treating high blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It may also result in weight loss. 
  • Many people experience nausea while on Ozempic, especially when first starting the medication or increasing the dose. 
  • You can find Ozempic nausea relief by eating small, frequent meals and choosing bland, soft, low-fiber foods.

Updated by: Julia Zakrzewski, RD

Ozempic is a medication used for treating type 2 diabetes and is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss.

It works by helping your body make more insulin and slowing the rate of digestion.

While this can result in improved blood sugar levels and weight loss, it can also cause gastrointestinal (GI) side effects, such as nausea.  

Nausea is the most common side effect of Ozempic.

Though it often lessens with time, it can be challenging to eat nutritious foods when you're feeling sick, and feeling nauseous may start impacting your quality of life. 

Continue reading to learn more about Ozempic side effects and how to get Ozempic nausea relief. 

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How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic, also known as semaglutide, is a once-weekly injectable medication approved for treating elevated blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes.

It helps lower the risk of heart attack and stroke in people with type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The medication is also prescribed off-label for weight loss in individuals without diabetes. 

It’s a GLP-1 receptor agonist medication. This means it activates the GLP-1 receptor in the body, which causes more insulin and less glucagon to be released. These are two hormones involved in blood sugar management.

The result of these changes is improved blood sugar levels and often weight loss. 

Another way Ozempic works is by delaying gastric emptying or slowing down the rate your stomach contents move into your intestines.

This causes slower digestion of the carbohydrates you eat, helping to minimize blood sugar spikes.

It also helps you feel full for longer after eating, which can support weight loss efforts. 

Though Ozempic is not currently FDA-approved for treating people with obesity or elevated weight, studies suggest it may help with weight loss.

Another type of semaglutide medication called Wegovy is approved for weight loss.

Wegovy has a similar mechanism of action to Ozempic, and also commonly causes other GI side effects.

Side Effects of Ozempic

Many people experience side effects of Ozempic, especially when initiating treatment or increasing the dose.

Most of the common side effects are gastrointestinal (GI) related as a result of slower stomach emptying on the medication.

In clinical trials, three to four percent of people stopped Ozempic treatment because of these side effects. 

Below is a list of the most common side effects of Ozempic, meaning they occur in at least five percent of people taking the medication. 

  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Constipation.
  • Low blood sugar (typically in patients also taking insulin).

Many people also report a lower appetite and early satiety (getting full before finishing a meal), one reason Ozempic is sometimes prescribed off-label for weight loss.

However, in some cases, these effects, combined with GI symptoms, may make it challenging for people to eat enough to meet their nutritional needs while on medication.

Less common side effects and complications occurring in less than five percent of people taking Ozempic include: 

  • Indigestion. 
  • Belching and gassiness. 
  • Acid reflux.
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining).
  • Fatigue. 
  • Altered sense of taste. 
  • Dizziness.
  • Gallstones.
  • Pancreatitis

If you experience any concerning side effects after starting Ozempic, talk to your doctor for further assessment and treatment. 

Do Ozempic Side Effects Go Away?

Mild side effects are expected to resolve after a few days. If they persist or if they worsen, you should stop taking the medication and speak with your doctor.

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Nausea and Ozempic

Nausea occurs as a result of the delayed gastric emptying caused by Ozempic.

Food sitting in the stomach longer before digesting can contribute to many of the digestive side effects listed above. 

With Ozempic, nausea does not always lead to vomiting.

Less than 10% of people experienced vomiting during clinical trials.

However, chronic nausea can be very disruptive to your quality of life and ability to eat normally. 

When starting Ozempic, the doctors usually recommend slowly increasing the dose over a few weeks.

This helps your body get used to the medication and reduces the severity of gastrointestinal side effects. 

Most people find that the longer they are on Ozempic, nausea becomes less noticeable.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend increasing your Ozempic dose to help maximize its effects.

You'll likely experience a resurgence of nausea and other side effects when your dose goes up. 

Why Do Weight Loss Medications Cause Nausea?

A key mechanism of Ozempic is to delay gastric motility, or how quickly food moves through your digestive system. 

Food slowly moving through your digestive tract can make you feel nauseous because it feels like constant pressure on your stomach. 

Eventually, your body will adapt to this change and symptoms should resolve

Why Do I Feel Sick on Ozempic?

It’s hard to feel well while you’re experiencing bouts of nausea and low appetite.

Many people don’t eat enough calories when they’re feeling sick, and not having enough energy can make it harder to feel better. 

The best thing you can do is monitor your symptoms and make small changes to increase your quality of life. 

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How to Relieve Nausea with Ozempic

Ozempic can cause appetite suppression, taste changes, and reduced food cravings, which, combined with nausea and other common GI side effects, can make eating challenging.

It can also make it difficult to complete your daily activities.

You can follow a few simple strategies to get Ozempic nausea relief. 

Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

For many people, the natural reaction when experiencing nausea is to avoid or delay eating until the nausea resolves.

However, with Ozempic, you may experience frequent nausea that doesn't go away.

This makes it important to do your best to continue eating normally throughout the day and learn to manage the nausea. 

Nausea can worsen on an empty stomach, meaning the longer you wait to eat, the more severe your symptoms will become.

If your appetite is suppressed on Ozempic, you may not experience early signs of hunger, like stomach grumbling, making it easy to forget to eat.

If you have type 2 diabetes, going long periods without eating can increase your risk of experiencing low blood sugar, which is already increased while on Ozempic. 

Try eating something shortly after waking in the morning, then aim to eat every three to four hours throughout the day. This will typically look like five to six small meals per day.

If your appetite is suppressed, you may need to set alarms or reminders to eat.

Though this may feel challenging, the more regularly you eat, the sooner you will get Ozempic nausea relief. 

Modify Your Food Choices

You may need to choose different foods than you might normally eat in order to manage your nausea.

Dry carbohydrates, like crackers and toast, can be better tolerated.

You may prefer bland foods with minimal seasonings and aromas. 

Try including soft, low-fiber foods on days your nausea is strong, like potatoes, fish, ground meat, tofu, or yogurt. 

If your usual foods aren't sounding good anymore due to appetite or taste changes, brainstorm a list of meal and snack ideas that sound appetizing.

Try to include options that are new and exciting.

Then you can cycle through the list to help you stay interested in food and prevent boredom. 

Reduce your intake of foods that worsen Ozempic side effects 

Since Ozempic causes delayed gastric emptying, high-fiber or high-fat foods may exacerbate your symptoms because these foods take longer to digest. However, many of these foods are nutritious and can be a part of a healthy diet. Consider talking with your registered dietitian to learn how to incorporate some of these foods in your diet while preventing side effects.

Here are a few examples of foods you may want to reduce or intake of:  

  • Avocado. 
  • Heavy creams and full-fat dairy.
  • Nuts and nut butter. 
  • Large portions of raw fruits and vegetables. 
  • Whole grains. 
  • Beans and legumes. 

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Try home remedies for nausea

Ginger root has long been used to naturally treat nausea.

You can make your own ginger tea at home by pouring boiling water over a slice of fresh ginger. Some people also add peppermint which can be soothing and delicious.  

If you can’t tolerate hot beverages, you may want to try sipping on ice-cold water.

Some people may find this easier to drink while feeling nauseous.

Try to limit your fluid intake during meals. This can help minimize early satiety from filling up on liquids during your meal.

Talk to your healthcare provider about your dosage

Your healthcare provider can suggest a new dose if your symptoms don’t improve.

They may suggest a temporary reduction to help you feel better. 

In the future, you may need to follow a slower titration schedule to help manage your symptoms. 

Other Strategies

It's best to avoid lying down flat after eating.

Staying upright or sitting at an incline can make food digest easier and may help minimize acid reflux

If nausea is so severe that you are struggling to function or eat enough daily, talk to your doctor about your options.

You may be able to take an anti-nausea medication or change the way you take Ozempic (i.e. dosage, timing, etc.). 

If your nausea is accompanied by other symptoms, like severe abdominal pain, it may indicate a more serious side effect of Ozempic, such as pancreatitis.

Seek medical attention immediately if you experience this symptom. 

Manage Weight with a Dietitian

If you've been prescribed Ozempic for weight loss, working with a registered dietitian can help you manage side effects like nausea while maximizing your results on the medication.

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