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20 Possible Ozempic Side Effects

Experts reveal all of the good and not-so-good health occurrences that can pop up while taking drugs. 
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Everyone knows the number one side effect of taking Ozempic: Weight loss. In the past few years, the diabetes drug used to help people lose massive amounts of weight has created serious buzz in the diet world, with many touting it as a "miracle" drug. However, if you are thinking about getting the weekly jab, it's important to educate yourself about it, especially when it comes to potential side effects. Here are the major side effects to look out for, according to our pool of experts and some from the Ozempic maker itself.


Young woman rubs her eyes after using glasses. Eye pain or fatigue concept.

Fatigue is reported to be a common side effect of taking Ozempic, especially if your blood sugar is low as a result, explains Novo Nordisk, the brand behind the weight loss drug. "When you start taking these drugs, your body is working extra hard to burn fat, so you might feel a little fatigued at first," says Sue Decotiis, MD, a NYC-based weight-loss doctor. "I don't recommend anyone do any high-intensity workouts while on these drugs. I recommend weightlifting and low-impact cardio like walking."

Ozempic Breath

Woman sitting on her bed checking her breath in the morning. Concept of Bad Breath

You might also get bad breath, which some experts have dubbed Ozempic breath. Dentist, expert, and author Dr. Kami Hoss explains a theory surrounding the phenomenon: The drug could be contributing to gut dysbiosis — an imbalance of bacteria in the intestines that can lead to digestive problems and oral health issues like bad breath. In one study conducted by Novo Nordisk found that nearly 9% of people taking semaglutide reported belching.

"When it comes to treating Ozempic breath, it's all about the alkalinity," says Hoss, who recommends products like "SuperMouth MouthWash and MouthSpray, which boast an alkaline pH of 8.5, which is significantly higher than many over-the-counter, oral care products which tend to be acidic." It's important to note that Ozempic breath isn't a clinical diagnosis.

RELATED: 15 Things to Know Before Requesting Ozempic for Weight Loss

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Woman looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Shutterstock/Robert Przybysz

"Ozempic face" is another unofficial side effect of rapid weight loss. It has been a buzzword in the plastic surgery and aesthetic world and has even been cited in scientific studies. Fine lines and wrinkles are one of the major complaints. "Rapid weight and fat loss with Ozempic can lead to the characteristic 'Ozempic face,' where facial volume and fat are depleted, resulting in wrinkles and sagging skin," one of them notes. "We have seen a significant increase in facial aesthetics services since the advent of Ozempic or Semiglutide. And it's not slowing down anytime soon," says Dr. Neville Campbell, MD, MBA, Medical Director of R3 Stemcell & Anti-Aging.

Fiber Digestion Issues

Healthy high fibre diet food concept with legumes, fruit,

Novo notes that there are a number of common digestive side effects when taking Ozempic. Dr. Decotiis points out that Ozempic and other GLP-1 weight-loss drugs make it harder to digest high-roughage foods. "There is a lot of fiber in it, which means it takes longer for the body to digest that. All the GLP-1 drugs slow down and delay gastric emptying," she says. Foods with high roughage tend to be healthy, so they should not be completely avoided, "but I think you should eat them in small quantities," she suggests. "That's not a problem for people on these drugs because you won't have a big appetite."

RELATED: 5 Foods That Maximize Weight Loss on GLP-1 Medicines, According to Coach

Stomach Problems

Symbol of a public toilet

Michelle Routhenstein, MS RD CDCES CDN, Preventive Cardiology Dietitian at, notes that diarrhea, also officially listed as a common side effect, is a major complaint. "Among my clients using Ozempic, the most common side effects often relate to the gastrointestinal system, such as diarrhea," she says. "This makes sense since the medication's active ingredient mimics the hormone GLP-1, which influences food absorption and is recognized for its role in slowing down gastric emptying."

While the exact cause of diarrhea is still unclear, "it seems that due to the drug's mechanism of action, it can sometimes lead to osmotic diarrhea, where more water is drawn into the intestines, resulting in this side effect," she explains.

Loss of Facial Volume

Tired woman looking at her eye bags in the bathroom.

Vishal Verma, MD, founder of Revive Med Spa, adds that loss of facial volume and premature aging, AKA ozempic face, are other complaints. "This can be addressed with very effective filler. We have been excited about emerging regenerative treatments that stimulate the body to naturally produce collagen, elastin, and fat in treated areas to help correct the degradation commonly occurring with aging," he says.

Changes in Taste

dissatisfied unhappy customer of the restaurant sniffs the disgusting smell of a bowl of soup with spoiled ingredients and is going to complain to the chef

More than 0.4% of people who take Ozempic report change in taste (also called dysgeusia). "It could be caused by zinc deficiency related to significantly eating less zinc-rich foods such as meat and nuts," explains Kylie Bensley, MS, RD and founder of Sulinu Nutrition. "If things taste bitter or acidic, try eating with plastic utensils."

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Taking Ozempic


Blured photo of a woman suffering from vertigo or dizziness or other health problem of brain or inner ear.

Dizziness and low blood sugar are other possible side effects, as noted by Novo. "Eating enough carbs and pairing them with proteins is important," when taking ozempic, per Bensley.


Young man having nausea at home. Feeling sick

Nausea is another very common side effect, as listed by Novo. Bensley maintains that it is "commonly related to increasing the dose too fast."


Door handle open to toilet can see toilet

Another gastrointestinal issue reported by those on ozempic is constipation, and Novo confirms it as a common side effect. "Constipation is caused by eating high-fat foods and low fiber," says Bensley. "I advise to eat at least 2 to 4 fruits with skins a day.

Stretching Skin

Close-up Of A Woman Holding Arm With Excess Fat On Grey Background

"Some people are complaining about having a saggy butt, Ozempic face, or loose skin from taking these drugs, but that doesn't have anything to do with the drug. It has more to do with fat loss," says Dr. Decotiis. "Your skin stretches when you gain weight, so when you lose a lot of weight, sometimes your skin doesn't fully go back to normal. Think of a woman who's pregnant. When she has a baby, sometimes her stomach takes time to go back to how it was before. One way to mitigate this effect is by weight training while using these drugs. Additionally, as you age, you have less elasticity in your skin, and you cannot produce as much collagen. Your skin bounces back better when you're younger."

RELATED: 15 Quick Ways to Lose Body Fat Percentage in a Week

Inflammation of Pancreas

Woman standing holding belly suffering from stomach pain.

According to Novo a serious side effect to look out for is inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis). "Stop using Ozempic® and call your health care provider right away if you have severe pain in your stomach area (abdomen) that will not go away, with or without vomiting. You may feel the pain from your abdomen to your back," they say.

Changes in Vision

Tired young man feel pain eyestrain holding glasses rubbing dry irritated eyes fatigued from computer work, stressed man suffer from headache bad vision sight problem sit at home table using laptop

Changes in vision are another potentially serious side effect, according to Novo. "Tell your health care provider if you have changes in vision during treatment with Ozempic®," they instruct. 

Kidney Problems

Young woman touching her kidney in pain.

Kidney problems, including kidney failure, could be another serious side effect that Novo warns about. "In people who have kidney problems, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting may cause a loss of fluids (dehydration), which may cause kidney problems to get worse. It is important for you to drink fluids to help reduce your chance of dehydration," they says. 


Dissatisfied woman touching face skin front bathroom mirror.

Novo also recommends looking out for a number of serious allergic reactions. "Stop using Ozempic® and get medical help right away if you have any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat," they say. 

Breathing or Swallowing Issues

Stressed woman having breath problems walking in a park.

Another potential sign of an allergic reaction, per Novo? "Problems breathing or swallowing," they warn on the website. 

Rash or Itching

Asian young woman looking face skin in the mirror have a red rash on her face from cosmetic allergy

Side effects may also include skin issues, says Novo. If you experience "severe rash or itching," it's a sign to get help as soon as possible. 

Rapid Heartbeat

Portrait Of A Young Woman Suffering From Chest Pain

You also need to look out for cardiovascular symptoms, says Novo. A "very rapid heartbeat," is a potential serious side effect, according to the website. 

Gallbladder Problems

Woman with abdominal pain in the middle above the navel. She sits on the sofa at home.

"Gallbladder problems have happened in some people who take Ozempic," says Novo. "Tell your health care provider right away if you get symptoms which may include: pain in your upper stomach (abdomen), fever, yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice), or clay-colored stools."

Possible Thyroid Tumors

Closeup of sick sad woman checking lymph nodes, caught cold, suffering from throat problems.

Possible thyroid tumors, including cancer, are one of the most serious signs to look out for, warns Novo. "Tell your health care provider if you get a lump or swelling in your neck, hoarseness, trouble swallowing, or shortness of breath. These may be symptoms of thyroid cancer," they say, citing rodent studies. "It is not known if Ozempic® will cause thyroid tumors or a type of thyroid cancer called medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) in people," they add. 

💪🔥Body Booster: If you're on weight loss drugs, prioritize weightlifting and low-impact cardio, such as walking, to maintain your fitness safely.

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more