How to Relieve Nausea While Taking Ozempic

How to Relieve Nausea While Taking Ozempic

How to Relieve Nausea While Taking Ozempic

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Key Takeaways

  • Ozempic is a GLP-1 agonist medication 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 get Ozempic nausea relief by eating small, frequent meals and choosing bland, soft, low-fiber foods. 

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. 

How Does Ozempic Work?

Ozempic, or 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. 

Ozempic is 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 nausea among 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 the 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. 

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 the course of 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. 

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 Frequently

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, crunchy carbohydrates, like crackers and toast, can be better tolerated. You may prefer bland foods with minimal seasonings and aromas. 

Since Ozempic causes delayed gastric emptying, high-fiber or high-fat foods may exacerbate your symptoms because these foods can also slow digestion. 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 do 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. 

It can be helpful to work with a registered dietitian for meal and snack recommendations while on Ozempic. Consider booking a virtual appointment with a dietitian through Nourish for an individualized plan. 

Other Strategies

Another thing you can try for Ozempic nausea relief is limiting fluid intake during meals. This can help minimize early satiety from filling up on liquids during your meal. Try to sip on fluids throughout the day between meals. Ginger tea may be helpful for nausea. 

It’s also 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 on a daily basis, 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. 

Nourish offers appointments with registered dietitians specializing in online weight management. Visits are conducted virtually and are covered by most insurance plans, making it simple to access care.

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