Ozempic is an injectable subcutaneous medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes once a week. Those with diabetes and heart disease can also use it to lower blood sugar levels and their chance of suffering a significant cardiovascular event, such as a stroke, heart attack, or death. 

It may occasionally be prescribed for weight loss off-label, which means that the FDA hasn't approved it for this usage, even if there is data to support it.

Ozempic is part of a class of medications known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, which work by promoting insulin release, inhibiting pancreatic release of glucagon, lowering blood glucose, and delaying the emptying of the stomach. 

The medication is susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures of heat and cold. It needs to be stored under strict conditions. This leads us to the question: Does Ozempic need to be refrigerated?

Ozempic comes as a pre-filled pen containing a liquid medication formulation. Before opening, it should be refrigerated at a temperature between 36°F to 46°F (2°C to 8°C). 

During use, Ozempic pens can be stored for up to 56 days (8 weeks) either at room temperature (not above 86°F or 30˚C) or in a refrigerator (not below 36°F or 2˚C), away from the cooling element. 

Most importantly, Ozempic must not be frozen or exposed to heat or direct sunlight.

You must follow the storage instructions provided by the manufacturer to ensure the medication's effectiveness and safety. 

If you have any doubts about storing Ozempic pens or any other medication, it is always best to consult with your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

What is an Ozempic Pen?

An Ozempic pen is a medical device used to administer the Ozempic (semaglutide) medication to treat type 2 diabetes

The pen is a pre-filled, disposable injection device that contains a liquid formulation of Ozempic. It is designed to make it easier for patients to self-administer the medication.

The Ozempic pen comes pre-packaged with disposable needles and is available in three dosage strengths: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg. The pen is available in a package that includes multiple Ozempic pens, each containing several doses of medication.

To use the Ozempic pen, the patient typically:

  • screws a new needle onto the pen
  • dials the appropriate dose
  • inserts the needle into the skin
  • pushes a button to deliver the medication

Depending on the strength, each pen can deliver a dose of 0.25  mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg. 

Dispose of the needle after each administration. Cap the Ozempic pen for protection until its next use. Dispose of the Ozempic pen once all doses are used or after 56 days (whichever comes first).  

How Long Can You Leave Ozempic Unrefrigerated?

For eight weeks while in use, you can store your Ozempic pen at room temperature (no higher than 86°F or 30 °C) or in a refrigerator (not below 36°F or 8 °C), away from the cooling element. 

The medication included in Ozempic should not be frozen, heated, or exposed to sunlight. Exposure to conditions outside the recommended range may affect the medication's potency and safety. 

If unopened Ozempic has been left unrefrigerated (above 46°F or 8°C), it should be used within 56 days or discarded. 

To shield the medication from light, replace the pen cap after each dose of Ozempic. Ozempic should always be protected against high temperatures, even when not stored in the refrigerator. 

If Ozempic is exposed to temperatures above 86°F (30°C), its effectiveness is no longer assured. When you need to transport your medication and live somewhere that gets hot, you should consider utilizing a medical-grade cooler.

Injecting yourself with bad Ozempic might have serious repercussions. Look at the expiration date on the container to see how long your Ozempic pen is safe before opening. 

If you find yourself in pain while administering the injection, you might want to hold off until the pen has come to room temperature.

Can You Put the Ozempic Pen in the Freezer?

Ozempic must never be frozen, just like insulin. Ozempic is an aqueous solution; the active component, semaglutide, dissolves in water. 

Ozempic can freeze, much like water. The frozen medication may become damaged and stop working properly. 

Ozempic is no longer safe to use once frozen, even if it has since been thawed. Throw away the damaged pen and get a new one right away.

Unused Ozempic pens can be retained until the expiration date listed on the label as long as they are kept in the refrigerator.

How Can You Tell When Ozempic Has Gone Bad?

Like any medication, Ozempic can expire or go bad if not properly stored. Here are several warning indications that the Ozempic pen may not be suitable for use:

Discoloration

Ozempic is a clear and colorless solution. If the liquid in the Ozempic pen appears discolored or cloudy, it may be a sign that the medication has gone bad.

Clumping or particles

If you notice clumping or particles in the liquid, this may also indicate that the medication has gone bad and should not be used.

Changes in texture

If the liquid appears to have a different texture or consistency than usual, it may be a sign that it has gone wrong.

If you notice any of these signs, it is essential not to use the medication and to dispose of it properly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Ozempic make you tired?

Fatigue is a potential side effect of Ozempic (semaglutide), although it may not affect everyone who takes the medication.
Some people may experience fatigue or weakness during the first few weeks of treatment as their body adjusts to the medication, or they may lose weight. This side effect may disappear as the body adapts to the drug.

It is unclear why the medicine affects body weight in particular people in this way. It might result from Ozempic's ability to reduce appetite, which causes users to eat less and obtain less energy from food.

Other common side effects of Ozempic include nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and stomach pain.

In rare cases, Ozempic may cause more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions or pancreatitis. Following up regularly with your pharmacist or healthcare provider is important to ensure that the Ozempic is working well for you.

How can I travel with medicine that needs to be refrigerated? 

To travel with medication that needs refrigeration, you should plan and ensure you have enough medication to last your trip.

Keep the medication cold by using a small cooler bag with ice packs or a medication cooler and placing it in its original packaging in a sealed plastic bag. Avoid freezing the medication and declare it to the TSA. if traveling by air.

Store it properly upon arrival by putting it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you are staying in a hotel, you can request a mini-fridge or ask the hotel staff to store it in their refrigerator.

Following these steps ensures that your Ozempic remains at the proper temperature and is effective during travel.

How do I get the best results with Ozempic?

To get the best results with Ozempic, it is essential to follow the instructions provided by your healthcare provider. This typically involves injecting it once a week on the same day and time.

The FDA originally approved Ozempic for treating diabetes in 2017. In 2021, the FDA approved Wegovy, a drug with a greater dose of the main ingredient in Ozempic, called semaglutide, to treat obesity.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by following a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity can also enhance the medication's effects.

Monitoring your blood glucose regularly and attending regular check-ups with your healthcare provider can help track your progress and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan.

It may take several weeks to see the full effects of Ozempic, so patience is essential. By following these guidelines, you can improve your overall health and ensure that you get the best results from Ozempic.

There are some potential drug interactions with Ozempic. You should ensure your doctor knows all your medications, including prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal and dietary supplements.

If you've forgotten to take an Ozempic injection, administer it as soon as you remember, within five days of the missed dose. If more than five days have passed, skip the dose you missed and administer the subsequent dose at the scheduled time. In either situation, you can proceed with your normal weekly scheduled dose afterward.

Do not administer a dose that is twice as much of the medication to make up for a missed dose of Ozempic.

Conclusion

Unopened Ozempic is a medication that needs to be refrigerated to maintain its effectiveness. Brand-new product should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature between 36°F and 46°F (2°C - 8°C) and should not be frozen.

Once opened, Ozempic can be stored for up to 56 days (8 weeks) either at room temperature between 59ºF to 86ºF (15ºC to 30ºC)  or in a refrigerator. 

If you need to travel with Ozempic, use a small cooler bag with ice packs to keep it cold, declare it to the TSA if traveling by air, and store it properly upon arrival at your destination. 

By following these guidelines, you can help ensure that your Ozempic remains at the proper temperature and maintains its effectiveness. 

Always consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns or questions about adequately storing and using your Ozempic medication.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. National Library of Medicine Subcutaneous (SQ) Injections
  2. National Library of Medicine Implications of Ozempic and Other Semaglutide Medications for Facial Plastic Surgeons
  3. National Library of Medicine Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonists
  4. Ozempic How to Use the Ozepmic Pen
  5. Ozempic Prescribing Information
  6. Transportation Security Administration Disabilities and Medical Conditions
  7. Springer Link Subcutaneous Injection of Drugs: Literature Review of Factors Influencing Pain Sensation at the Injection Site
  8. American Diabetes Association Safe Storage of Insulin
  9. Chemistry LibreTexts Unique Features of Aqueous Solutions
  10. NBC News What It’s Like to Take the Blockbuster Drugs Ozempic and Wegovy, From Severe Side Effects to Losing 50 Pounds
  11. National Library of Medicine Effects of Once‐Weekly Semaglutide on Appetite, Energy Intake, Control of Eating, Food Preference and Body Weight in Subjects With Obesity
  12. Transportation Security Administration What Can I Bring?
  13. American Diabetes Association What Can I Bring With Me on the Plane
  14. Food and Drug Administration FDA Approves New Drug Treatment for Chronic Weight Management, First Since 2014
  15. National Library of Medicine Weight Loss Outcomes Associated With Semaglutide Treatment for Patients With Overweight or Obesity

About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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