Ozempic is an injectable once-a-week medicine that can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar, lower their HbA1c and lose weight.
Regardless of why you’ve been prescribed Ozempic, it’s important to understand the sites on your body that are safe and effective for Ozempic injections and the correct way to prepare and give your injection.
This article explains everything you need to know about where and how to inject Ozempic.
Know your Ozempic pen, prescription and dose
Ozempic comes in a pre-filled pen (also called a ‘medicated pen’ or simply ‘pre-filled pen’).
Pens are considered easier to use than syringes and allow for simple and precise dosing of injectable drugs.
The Ozempic pen is about six inches long with a cap on one end and a small plunger button on the other end.
If you remove the pen cap and look at the front half of the pen, you will see the pen tip and the clear medication chamber behind it. Just behind this you will see a drug information label followed by a rotating dose selector which is just in front of the plunger button.
If this is the first time you look at an Ozempic pen right out of the box, it probably doesn’t have a pen needle yet.
Before administering a dose, the needle must be properly attached to the pen. According to the American Diabetes Association, most brands of pen needles will fit most brands of pen – although they vary in needle length and thickness.
Pen needles are sometimes – but not always – included with your pens, but unless your pen comes bundled with needles, you should get your pen needle prescription at the same time you get your Ozempic prescription.
If your pen comes with pen needles, it will likely be NovoFine Plus needles. These are small, narrow needles designed specifically for this brand of pens.
Looking at the Ozempic pen, you can see that the dose selector rotates to measure the dose in milligrams (mg). By turning the dose selector clockwise, increase the dose that the pen is ‘ready’ to deliver.
After turning the knob a certain number of ‘clicks’, the number of doses in mg will appear on the dose selector.
What does the dose look like?
The dose in mg prescribed by your doctor will correspond to the mg you will need to set in the pen.
All Ozempic pens are designed to contain multiple doses – meaning one pen should contain enough medicine for several weeks – usually at least one month.
Although the pens may look similar, there are three Ozempic pens with different dose sizes:
- Ozempic multi-dose pen 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg for titration, especially at the start of treatment
- Ozempic pre-filled pen for multi-dose administration of 1 mg
- Ozempic pre-filled pen for multi-dose administration of 2 mg
Both the box and the pen should be clearly labeled with the mg dosing options available on that pen.
It is important to make sure that the Ozempic pen you have and the dose prescribed by your doctor match.
Never take more Ozempic than prescribed by your doctor. Significant side effects may occur in the event of an overdose of Ozempic.
Read more: Ozempic Dosage Guide: How Much Should You Take?
Where is the best place on the body to inject Ozempic?
To make sure that Ozempic is effective, you need to know where to take it.
Ozempic is intended to be administered directly under the skin (subcutaneously) by injection. Drugs injected under the skin work best when injected into a part of the body with some fatty tissue.
Injecting into lean or predominantly muscled parts of the body is not recommended as these are usually painful, may bleed more than usual and may make the medicine less effective.
Ozempic should never be injected into a vein or artery.
According to the manufacturer of the medicine, the three best places on the body to inject Ozempic are the front of the thighs, abdomen and upper arms – especially the back of the arms.
How to inject Ozempic
Ozempic – the amount prescribed by your doctor – should be injected subcutaneously into the fatty tissue once a week, on the same day each week.
The steps to follow when injecting Ozempic are shown below.
Prepare the Ozempic pen
Get your Ozempic pen and alcohol swab ready.
Remove the cap from the Ozempic pen and attach the pen needle to the pen.
If you are using this Ozempic pen for the first time, the manufacturer recommends testing the flow in the pen.
Test the flow by turning the dose selector clockwise – usually one or two clicks are enough – until you see an image of two dots and lines which represent a needle with two drops of liquid coming out of it.
Hold the pen with the needle pointing vertically into the air and press the plunger button on the back of the pen with your thumb. This will force a small amount of liquid through the needle and set the dose selector back to 0.
If a drop or two of liquid comes out of the needle at the top, the flow test was successful. If you are unable to remove the fluid, try the test a few more times, but if the problem persists, replace the pen needle and try again.
Once the flow test is successful and a drop or two of liquid comes out of the pen, you are ready to start.
Put on the pen and take an alcohol swab to prepare your skin.
Select the correct dose of Ozempic
Turn the dose selector clockwise until you reach the correct milligram (mg) dose prescribed by your doctor.
Don’t worry if you accidentally turn the dial too many clicks, you can undo it by turning the dial counter-clockwise until the little arrow to the right of the window points to the dose you’re about to take.
Find a good spot on the body and prepare a place to shoot
Ideally, you should choose an area of your body with more body fat, such as your stomach, thighs and arms. However, you should avoid injecting Ozempic at the same site weekly to reduce scarring or other skin reactions.
Prepare the area on the skin by quickly rubbing it with a previously prepared alcohol swab.
Remove the pen cap and hold the pen so that you can see the dose selector and your thumb can easily reach the plunger button.
Push the needle into the skin in the selected place as indicated by the doctor.
The pen should be perpendicular to the body at an angle of about 90 degrees. The needle should be completely under the skin and the flat plastic base of the pen needle will be pressed gently against the skin.
Press the plunger button on the back of the pen and watch the dose counter drop back to zero as you inject Ozempic under the skin.
Leave the needle injected for about six seconds to make sure you get the full dose.
Remove the needle from the skin.
Remove the needle and replace the cap on the Ozempic pen
Remove the needle from the pen and safely dispose of it in a sharps container.
Now when you’re done, replace the Ozempic pen cap. The pen can now be safely put away until the same day next week when you take your prescribed dose of Ozempic again.
Seeing a little blood is normal and you can apply pressure to the area with an alcohol swab if needed.
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if I injected Ozempic correctly?
It’s always a good idea to do a flow test each time you start using a new pen to make sure the pen and pen needle are working properly.
When injecting a dose of Ozempic, watch the dose window to make sure it drops from the selected dose back to the “zero” starting point. You should also leave the injecting needle under the skin for six seconds to make sure the medicine is injected completely.
As long as you injected the medicine into the part of your body covered with fatty tissue (back of your arms, stomach, thighs) and followed the instructions for the correct administration of the medicine, you did it correctly.
If you have questions or are concerned that you may have done something wrong, be sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
What is the best time of day to inject Ozempic?
There is no clinically proven best time of day to take Ozempic. Rather, the most important thing is to pick a day of the week and consistently take it on the same day each week.
If you choose to take Ozempic on a Wednesday, you can take it any time of day – but you should plan to take your weekly dose of Ozempic every Wednesday for as long as you continue to use the medicine.
For this reason, many people choose to write down the day of the week they take their medicine on a calendar or on the box that their Ozempic pen comes in. Phone reminders are also helpful to make sure you don’t miss a dose.
What should I do if I miss a dose of Ozempic?
If you miss a dose of Ozempic, take it as soon as possible within 5 days of the missed dose.
However, if the missed dose of Ozempic should be taken 5 days or earlier, skip that dose. In this case, you will take Ozempic the next day as scheduled.
Don’t worry about missing a single dose – a single missed dose won’t significantly affect your blood sugar or insulin resistance.
What should I do if my Ozempic pen does not have a needle?
When you open a new Ozempic pen, it will not come with a needle.
Injectors of all kinds need a needle to work. Pen needles are intended for single use and then thrown away.
Pen needles usually come with an Ozempic prescription and are easily attached by twisting them clockwise at the top of the pen.
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