How to Relieve Ozempic Nausea

Weight loss drugs like Ozempic can have unwanted side effects like nausea and vomiting. Learn more about why this happens and how to alleviate it.

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by
Rebecca Washuta
— Signos
MS, CNS, LDN
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Reviewed by

Rebecca Washuta
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
June 12, 2024
January 17, 2024
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Ozempic (also known as semaglutide) is one of the most popular prescription drugs on the market today, and for good reason - it significantly lowers blood sugar and A1C, and also supports weight loss. In fact, semaglutide has been shown to reduce body weight in people with type 2 diabetes on average by 15%.1, 2 

Despite these positive outcomes, Ozempic is also associated with a host of negative side effects, including diarrhea, constipation, and nausea. Nausea is one of the most common side effects, and when it’s severe, it can cause patients to skip doses or discontinue the medication altogether. The good news is there are a number of things you can do to reduce or better manage ozempic-induced nausea.

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Why Does Ozempic Cause Nausea?

Ozempic (also known as semaglutide) is in a class of FDA-approved drugs called GLP-1 receptor agonists, along with other common brand name drugs like Trulicity, Mounjaro, Saxenda, and Wegovy. 

These drugs bind to and activate the GLP-1 receptor cells that are located in your pancreas and work to lower blood glucose in the following ways:2

  • Trigger your pancreas to release more insulin when your blood sugar is high
  • Slow down digestion in the stomach (also called delayed gastric emptying)
  • Prevent your liver from producing and secreting glucose into the bloodstream

Most glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) prescription medications like Ozempic are intended for use in people living with type 2 diabetes, but given their powerful weight loss effects, they are also prescribed for people who are overweight or obese.

While the exact reason why Ozempic causes nausea is still unknown, one theory is that it’s a result of the slowed digestion in your stomach. When food stays in your stomach longer than normal, it can cause feelings of fullness and queasiness. One study found that approximately 44% of patients taking Ozempic experienced nausea.3 

How Long Does Nausea From Ozempic Last?

Many patients find that feelings of nausea are mild to moderate and diminish the longer they are on the drug. Although this side effect is usually temporary, it can still be very unpleasant and may be the reason people stop taking the drug. One study found that 7% of subjects discontinued treatment with Ozempic due to side effects like nausea.3

Higher doses have been associated with more severe nausea and other gastrointestinal side effects, so it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor to determine the right dose for you.4

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Also Read: </strong><a href="ozempic-foods-to-avoid">7 Foods to Avoid to Manage Ozempic Side Effects</a>.</p>

How to Combat Nausea From Ozempic

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If you are taking Ozempic and are experiencing nausea, here are some things to try to help reduce this unwanted side effect.

Change the Dose

Studies suggest that Ozempic-related nausea is dose-dependent, meaning that lower doses tend to cause less nausea, and higher doses increase the risk of nausea.4 Talk to your healthcare provider about the right starting dose of Ozempic and dose escalation plan to prevent or best manage nausea. 

Watch What You’re Eating

Diet plays a huge role in everyone’s health, but this is even more true in patients with type 2 diabetes. Ozempic is intended to be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise in order to most effectively manage blood sugar, so it’s not a free pass to eat whatever you want. Processed foods that are high in fat (fried foods, chips, ice cream, etc.) may not only keep your blood sugar high but may also increase the risk of nausea.

If you experience nausea, it’s best to avoid anything spicy and incorporate more simple bland foods into your diet. Focus on balanced meals and snacks that have vegetables, fruit, whole grain carbohydrates, and healthy sources of protein.

Small Frequent Meals

Although your appetite may be decreased when taking Ozempic, it’s important to make sure you’re still getting the necessary nutrients. If you’re experiencing nausea, eating smaller meals more often (as opposed to larger meals) can help. Remember to also drink plenty of water, as dehydration can result in dizziness and nausea.

Ginger

Along with its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can also have anti-nausea effects. Ginger contains phytonutrients called gingerols and shogaols that reduce nausea and vomiting by binding to 5-HT3 receptors in the body. Both fresh ginger and ginger supplements can be effective.5

Aromatherapy

Essential oils like peppermint have been shown to significantly relieve symptoms of nausea when inhaled. Peppermint oil can be combined with anti-nausea medication or used alone.6 

Other Ozempic-Related Side Effects

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In addition to nausea, below are some other possible side effects of Ozempic. Talk to your healthcare provider about the potential risks before starting semaglutide.

Most Common Side Effects of Ozempic

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Low blood sugar

Serious Side Effects of Ozempic

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Pancreatitis
  • Kidney failure
  • Allergic reactions

Learn More About How To Improve Blood Sugar Levels With Signos

Signos incorporates cutting-edge research and the proven power of continuous glucose monitoring to help you lose weight and improve your health. Not sure if Signos is right for you? Take this quiz to find out! Interested in learning more about nutrition and healthy eating habits? Check out more articles on our blog.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn More: </strong><a href="ozempic">Ozempic, Wegovy, and Mounjaro: What You Need To Know</a>.</p>

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References

About the author

Rebecca Washuta is a licensed dietitian with degrees in neuroscience and nutrition and helped individuals develop long-term health habits and achieve various wellness goals.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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